After 12 months, 78 investor pitches, 41 different iterations of our pitch deck, and many lessons learned, Station A is very excited to announce we have closed our first round with an all-star and diverse group of investors:
- Powerhouse Ventures, an Oakland-based early-stage venture investor with an incredible line-up of LPs
- Southern Company, one of the largest energy providers in the country
- Howard Wenger, the former President of SunPower
- Ed Woiteshek, the former CEO of CarProof, sold to IHS for $650 M
- Jules Kortenhorst, the current CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute
- Frank O’Sullivan, a professor at MIT and Director of Research at the MIT Energy Initiative
- Tom Steyer and Kat Taylor, founders, climate activists, and impact investors
We ended this journey where we had hoped, but it was a bumpy road that required serious patience and perseverance. We encountered every flavor of investor and a range of reactions. One potential investor yawned to our faces mid-pitch in the middle of the product demo. On three separate occasions, an investor interrupted us to ask, “So…what do you actually do?” Many people told us spin-outs were notoriously difficult and typically fail, so come back later. And a common sentiment was that the Station A team couldn’t be a scrappy startup coming from a big corporate, since we were too used to perks like cold-pressed juice, a nice office, and free lunch.
We were also told straight up “No”. Many times. Seventy-one times to be exact.
But convinced that Station A creates real value for the industry and the world, we kept going. We acted on the feedback received. Each experience with those 78 investors (even the yawner) pushed us and made Station A stronger. We improved our pitch, getting significantly better at explaining what we do. We focused on commercial traction, achieving our first sales from marquee, industry-leading customers. We thought more strategically about our growth potential. We changed our fundraising strategy, reducing the target amount based on a better understanding of what we truly needed and pursued a note instead of a priced round.
Our efforts, adjustments, and persistence paid off. In August, we successfully spun-out of a Fortune 500 company, negotiating a win-win agreement with NRG Energy, Inc. in which they received a small equity stake in Station A and became a significant paying customer. We ditched the cold-pressed juice and free lunch and became a scrappy startup, bootstrapped on customer revenue for months (FYI - no one misses the juice). We ended up going to the market to raise $600,000, and have now raised $1,000,000 without giving up a lot of the company.
I’d like to express heartfelt appreciation for the seven investors who believe in Station A and are committed to our success.
In addition to funding, they have been generous with time and advice, both invaluable for an early-stage start-up.
And of course big kudos to my Co-Founders Jeremy, Manos, and Sam for executing, responding to constructive criticism, and riding out the highs and lows of fundraising over the last year. We’re lucky to have a team of diverse backgrounds and strengths, and I think that will continue to serve us well as we move forward.
Lastly, thank you to my incredible wife Maggie for her patience and perseverance through this process, especially while having a baby at the same time. Station A and John A, both born in 2018!
Now, the hard work of building a business continues as we work to transition the world to 100% clean energy, and we look forward to doing that with you alongside us.
Kevin, Jeremy, Manos, and Sam
Interested in joining us? Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org