In the first installment of our "Feature 360" column, Tom Matzzie of Ethical Electric sits down to talk shop. He answered several short questions to shed some light on his entrepreneural process and what makes Ethical Electric so special. We'll be asking CEOs of all NEWA portfolio companies similar questions in the future. Look for the column in our monthly Clean Tech Investor Insight newsletter.
1. What trends enabled Ethical Electric to pursue this opportunity?
I started Ethical Electric because as a consumer I found it too difficult to buy clean energy. A few years ago my wife and I decided that we didn't want to spend any more of our money on dirty energy. Figuring out how to do that was very hard. It struck me that there was a lot of value in making the purchase of clean energy as simple as buying a book on Amazon or downloading an app.
2. How does your value proposition differentiate your company?
We differentiate in two ways. First, unlike other alternative energy suppliers we only sell clean energy. Second, we embrace cause marketing as a means to create an online community who want both clean energy and to join a community of people like themselves who care about our future as a planet.
3. How does your company contribute to a more sustainable economy?
Our model aggregates voluntary demand for clean energy. If Ethical Electric, and company's like Ethical Electric are successful, we could build out an industry that would double renewable energy demand in the United States without any legislative or regulatory intervention.
4. If successful, where do you see your company three years from today, in terms of employees, CO2 removed, and megawatts under management?
Our primary metric of success will he happy customers. Our personnel plan will be to remain small and use the benefits of technology for scaling.
5. What is your vision for what success looks like to your company?
A million happy customers, 5,000 new wind turbines and a billion dollar valuation. Seriously, our ambition is not to be a small company.
6. What books are you reading?
"Statistical Analysis in Excel for Dummies" (not joking) and "Cape Wind: Money, Celebrity, Energy, Class, Politics and the Battle for Our Energy Future."