Neil Patel

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BJ Johnson went from academia to launching a clean energy startup that has already raised $50M for its mission. The venture, ClearFlame Engine Technologies, has acquired funding from top-tier investors like Mercuria, Rio Tinto, WIND Ventures, and John Deere.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • What technical founders and engineers need to understand when pitching investors
  • How ClearFlame is tackling climate change
  • BJ Johnson’s top advice when starting a business
  • His take on whether we can solve the climate problem in time


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For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash. 

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The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks

Moreover, I also provided a commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400 million (see it here).

Remember to unlock for free the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.

About BJ Johnson:

Dr. BJ Johnson is CEO and co-founder of ClearFlame Engine Technologies, a growing startup dedicated to developing clean engine technology for heavy-duty trucks, off-highway, and industrial applications.

Together with co-founder Dr. Julie Blumreiter, BJ founded ClearFlame to develop solutions that increase the performance of and reduce emissions from internal combustion engines using decarbonized fuel, such as ethanol.

BJ was the lead inventor on a patent filed by Stanford University for this work, which now forms the center of ClearFlame’s intellectual property.

BJ’s passion and leadership for this work have helped him to secure investors and strategic partners, including the support of multiple industry manufacturers, agencies like the Department of Energy, the Department of Agriculture, the National Science Foundation, and world-class accelerators like StartX, I-Corps, Ameren Accelerator, and WERCBench Labs.

In 2021, BJ was named one of the Grist 50 — an annual list of emerging leaders from across the US working on fresh, real-world solutions to our world’s biggest challenges — and competed in TechCrunch Startup Battlefield and SXSW Pitch. BJ earned his BS, MS, and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University.

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Connect with BJ Johnson:

Read the Full Transcription of the Interview:

Alejandro Cremades: All righty hello everyone and welcome to the dealmakerr show. So today. We have a really amazing founder. You know a founder that you know he’s going to be telling us about his journey with this rocket ship that he’s riding and building scaling financing all of that good stuff. You know, raisingcing money. You know on tough times like covid and you know payouts ah how they’ve been adjusting to whatever the market was telling them and and so forth so without further ado. Let’s welcome Mark Guest today B j johnson welcome to the show so you grew up in Seattle.

BJ Johnson: Um, thank you Alljandra Great to be here.

Alejandro Cremades: So give us a walk through memory lane. How was life growing up there.

BJ Johnson: It was. It was a very different place to grow up than it is now this was obviously before Amazon um, but it was ah it was a great place. My parents moved there in the 80 s when it was sort of that that place to start a family grew up in the pacific northwest and was very lucky to have um. Really? Ah, a diverse ecosystem access to outdoor activities rainy rainy winters but beautiful summers that I got to enjoy there. Um, and that really did kind of form some of the initial passion that I had for the environment and protecting it um, growing up in a place that was very privileged to have a very beautiful environment for sure.

Alejandro Cremades: So how do you get into problem solving and more specifically like math engineering stuff like that.

BJ Johnson: Yeah I was always very fascinated by I think physics in particular the fact that you could describe what would happen you know, even basic stuff. You throw a ball you know where it’s going to land based on things like numbers and equations and the way that Calculus and physics is all tied together based on the work that you know. Newton did back in the day. So I think I was I was very fascinated I think by just the the analytical nature of problem solving that we could do this with these numbers on a page that we had learned to manipulate from when we were young, um and and that was sort of in college evolved from being. Ah, passion for physics generally sort of understanding how the world works into moving more like engineering imply applying physics excuse me to solve very critical problems.

Alejandro Cremades: So then let’s talk about the packing the backs and and going to Stanford why why? why? Stanford out of all you know, universities and I mean it sounds like you’ve been getting every single degree. You know that exists you know out of Stanford so it’s a.

BJ Johnson: Yeah.

Alejandro Cremades: The undergrad the grad you know the ph d I mean everything that you could extract from Stanford I mean tell us you know what? what’s going on with Stanford.

BJ Johnson: Ah, so it was I was a competitive summer for a very long time. Um in high school through college and actually after so when I was looking at ah schools that had both strong engineering and science programs but also strong athletic department strong swimming programs. Um, as you might imagine. That’s ah, a pretty short list most schools tend to either be very academically focused or they have a very strong athletic department. Not both Stanford did have both so that was sort of an easy choice for me. Um, and it was. And I think kind of talking about the origin story and that and that sort of fascination with with numbers in engineering it was really in grad school. So after my bachelor’s when I was starting the masters that I met the professor Chris Edwards who eventually became the thesis advisor for both myself and my co-founder Julie. Um, and that’s where that kind of focus on um, you know, broadly engineering to narrowing on the climate problem really started to come to fruition and and really show that I made the right choice in terms of why I went to Stanford finding a connection like that to start a company like klareflame.

Alejandro Cremades: Well obviously you know they’re in Stanford 2 It’s a the land of innovation. That’s where everything gets incubated. So so what’s about Stanford you know that it’s just like such a drive towards entrepreneurship and and and why so many companies come out of Stanford.

BJ Johnson: Um, would not have happened without Stanford.

BJ Johnson: Yeah I mean I think um, it’s it’s a bit circular at times you know the fact that silicon valley put its roots down there. Um, you know Hewlett Packard and there were people at Stanford that went way back before Silicon Valley being a thing. Um, but you know the fact that silicon valley did grow there. Um, created ah an ecosystem around software around silicon around everything that it takes to create the or have created the computer age. Um, so I think that was sort of how it came to fruition I think why it’s perpetuated. Um, yeah, the bay area is one of the the few places I’ve lived in my life where. Entrepreneurship I think is is not scary. Um, it’s something that I experience a lot as you move away from the West Coast you know if I go work for a startup. The startup might fail which I think if you if you grew up in the Silicon Valley ecosystem that’s almost like ah ah a badge of honor like you know I have failed and I learned from it. And I think that sort of mentality if you don’t need to be afraid of failure that there’s nothing bad about you know, being at a company that might not succeed that makes it easier to to leap without looking or without looking as much as you should which things the nature of any startup but all that said you know I think um while Stanford was great for sort of instilling that entrepreneurial spirit. Um, you know Silicon Valley does focus largely on software on you know, electronics and the type of company that clearfla was is you know an industrial commercial vehicle. You know Heavyduty Engine company

BJ Johnson: Actually wasn’t really the the bread and butter of of Silicon Valley that’s one of the reasons I think why we’re in Chicago today is to better align with that that ecosystem that supports us but the training that you got from the valley in terms of how you think about creating and growing a company and and. Just the lessons of fundraising and all those things that translate from business to business. Um, yeah, there’s no other place in the world like like that location for for teaching you about all of those tactics and values.

Alejandro Cremades: So then tell us about how they clear flame. You know how does it come to life you know, give us a walk through that a process and journey from incubation all the way to finally you know make it happen. Okay.

BJ Johnson: Yeah, yeah, I think the origin of it actually comes before incubation. So the the technology that became clearflaam had originally been my graduate work. So I guess sort of starting there. Why was my graduate work. The graduate work that that goes back to Professor Edwards and and one of the things he taught about energy. Is that there’s actually two sides of the energy problem. There’s the need to achieve sustainability. You know humans are driving climate change period and if we don’t actually get to net carbon neutrality that trend is not going to stop and I think that’s one that I think everyone in the world is aware of today. There’s this other side of the energy problem that I think is very easy to ignore in the United States and frankly it’s particularly easy to ignore in California and Silicon Valley which is that energy is actually critical for for quality of life. There are a few things that actually improve human outcomes few things that are more correlated with. Increasing g gdp increasing quality of life than increasing access to energy and at the time we were were starting this ah graduate work that were still close to a billion people in the world that didn’t have access to basic electricity so to circle back to clearfla and the concept. That was sort of the question is how do we actually expand energy access in a way that is affordable and is a way that in a way that is better aligned with the way people get their energy and goods today but without ah without having that increase in energy access contributing to climate change.

BJ Johnson: And that sort of became the thesis behind clearland how do you make the diesel engine without the diesel fuel so that the engine can keep filling all of its vital economic functions and I don’t just mean the freight trucks that we have here in the United States but also the power generators that many developing economies rely on to keep their lights on. Um, how do we allow it to keep filling that function without being coupled to dirty diesel fuel which is driving both climate change and and ah human health outcomes due to the the bad pollution. The sudden smog it produces.

Alejandro Cremades: So then tell us you know what was that moment where it became so clear that you are like okay, let’s go.

BJ Johnson: Um, yeah I think it was um, you know and it’s’s it’s never 1 moment right? It’s an evolution of thinking but it was around sort of later on and and finishing up the ph d this would been 2013 2014 2015 somewhere in there. Um.

BJ Johnson: The the project initially was about making engines cleaner and more efficient. Um, and not to go too far in the details. You know, basically in in doing that you want to have a higher temperature combustion system for for thermodynamic reasons for efficiency reasons. But. You know that’s about making an engine sort of a point or 2 more efficient so you can make better use of the fuel resources that we have the kind of aha moment was saying okay, if you have a higher temperature engine that engine no longer requires diesel fuel. You can run on something that is. Already read readily available in the world today like the ethanol we have in North and South America or the methanol that is um, one of the primary renewable energy carriers that we can produce today the shift from making an engine slightly more efficient to being able to use a fundamentally different fuel that can be produced in a. A cheaper and and more environmentally friendly way that was sort of that aha that’s when it went from the the 2 to 3% improvement that can be a good engineering effort and a good academic effort to you know to the 2 x to 10 x reduction emissions and costs and and a bunch of other variables that really drive a startup that drive a venture fundable. Um, technology and I think it was when we realized okay this is actually about enabling global economies to have their lifeblood move from diesel fuel to something better that was the aha that said we can make this into a growing business.

Alejandro Cremades: So then talking about now they grow in business ah clear flame you know for the people that are listening to get it. What ended up being the business model. How do you guys make money. Okay.

BJ Johnson: Yeah, so this this is actually one of the ones that we’ve had to actually pivot on on quite a bit over the years so when we started the company. Um, we thought we were going to be a technology provider to oems to to engine manufacturers you know if you build a diesel engine today you can use our technology to. Um, basically take that same production process but but be able to sell it using a a cheaper and cleaner fuel. You know what’s not to like you don’t have to change your behavior but you’re making something that is cheaper and cleaner for your customers. It’s it’s a win-win for everyone. Um, and under that model. You know that is you know us essentially developing the technology and licensing that I p so revenue through royalties back to clearflame I think the mistake we made in that thinking and there’s not anything wrong with that that model I think it’s actually our our long-term vision. But I think what we underestimated and it’s something that a lot of entrepreneurs underestimate which is the primary choice of the market is basically always going to be the main to maintain the status quo that people generally won’t shift unless something is so compelling. That they that they have to do it and that was something that you know clear flame learned in terms of trying to push on these large manufacturers to adopt. Well yeah, they could make ah they could make an engine cheaper or cleaner.

BJ Johnson: Ah, for their customers or they could just keep selling the engines they make today. There’s not a lot of incentive to shift and so what clearflaim pivoted around um because of that experience which in hindsight was obvious but at the time really wasn’t um was actually going directly to customers. So if you have trucks today. Um, or you need a truck today Clearfla can actually go to you whether you’re a large fleet or a power generator user or even a piece of construction equipment say hey we will retrofit your engine for you or get you a truck and retrofit it and sell it to you so that we are selling product straight to the end customers and. We’ve been very successful in that we have um you know 5 of the 10 biggest fleets in the country are on our fleet council There are early testers early customers early evangelists and once you start to get that market poll then you’ll be able to go back to the oems and say hey. I’m actually winning over your customers. Let’s do this together as a partner rather than having us be competing for the same customer base. So what that means is for now it is more direct sales. But I think long-term being able to get to that licensing to monetize our ip. With anyone who produces dies lynchons today not just clear flame and are remanufacturing partners. Ah, that’s that’s sort of in the growth of the business model.

Alejandro Cremades: And then what about the? um, the adjustment there to market because I know that the the model that you guys are pushing Today. You know is is not what you got started with so tell us about the market pivot and and that you know journey of listening. To towards adjusting ourselves yours ourselvesves to what really the market you know was demanding. Ultimately, so.

BJ Johnson: Yeah, you know I think it’s it was it was less a question about what the market was demanding and and more a question of what channels were open to us at at this time and I think when people. And people think about product Market fits and as it gets a little bit Oversimplified. You know is is there a customer problem and can you solve it with your technology and that defines product Market fit which which at ah at a high level is true, but that’s not all it takes to create a viable business. You know you have to have a way to get that technology. To that customer and that was I think where clearfland was sort of wrong that we knew there was a challenge with fuel costs emissions and the continued need for for diesel style engines and we knew our technology could solve those problems. But you know asking someone else to build those engines for us that that was the mistake we made and so what the market was telling us was not that we didn’t have product Market fit the market was telling us that we had chosen the wrong channel to bring that technology to market initially and that was the okay. If if the end users are screaming for it and we have the technology. Let’s find a way to get it into our hands into their hands and and that’s when we started partnering with some of these smaller more nimble players out there. The people that rebuild and remanufactre diesel engines in the aftermarke today.

BJ Johnson: Um, and also working with the suppliers people who make injectors and pistons for engines today. Let’s bring together the ecosystem frankly with without the oems to be able to provide this technology directly to the end-user and at the same time keeping the oems up to date on what we’re doing. We have very good relationships with them and as we. Build this sort of market base prove. This isn’t just about dozens or hundreds of engines but thousands and tens of thousands now those channels will open up and that’s something we’ve been hearing from the beginning if the opportunity is big enough these large companies will move and follow. But it takes them a long time to move and follow. So you have to really. The onus is on us as the startup as clear flame to show them that market opportunity so that they can invest the resources to make what is a much slower pivot and shift for them than it would be for us as the startup.

Alejandro Cremades: And then what about the financing because you know you guys have radar raised a little bit of money. How much couple have you guys raised today.

BJ Johnson: About 50000000 in total across a seed a and b.

Alejandro Cremades: So tell us what what that journey was because I know that the seat you know is a little bit rocky and racing right before the hold Cobb craziness. So.

BJ Johnson: Ah, well fortunately the seed was was not rocky because in in hindsight we just got super lucky on the timing. So we we closed that round led by clean energy ventures out of Boston back in February of twenty so you know people had heard of the word covid.

Alejandro Cremades: Yeah, yeah.

BJ Johnson: Ah, but they didn’t know what it was going to mean um in terms of what it did to everyone and everything and so we were able to kind of close that round before a lot of the franticness set into the market of everyone sort of freaking out in q 2 and q 3 of 20 so we were lucky to get in front of that. And of course you know I think that was pretty rapidly followed by one of the biggest clean tech booms. We ever had. You know the whole stack market that that happened and in 2021 which had a lot of advanced mobility companies in it. Um, you know that actually was sort of part of of Clearflam’s pivot is that the financial markets were also showing us like hey you know there is value in you know these capital intensive companies that can deliver products straight to endusers and while I’ve stayed away from making clearfla to capital intensive. You know, having us be focused on. Really being a technology provider I think that market shift was was a good thing and um, you know I think when we when we got the seed round done. We were smart enough to sort of stay efficient with our capital keep building traction keeping focused on technology development. Rather than kind of like the big marketing splashes without the substance to back it up. We stayed focused on that with the seed use that to raise an a which was led by break their energy ventures back in 2021 to move from the kind of demonstration scale to actually putting trucks on the road.

BJ Johnson: Trucks on the road was allowed us to raise the series b late 22 and early twenty three led by Mercuria the big energy commodity trader and here we are today being able to or being prepared to deploy our first kind of po generating revenue generating. Um. Customer demos and really kind of scaling the company up from there.

Alejandro Cremades: How has the company changed to us say you’re like adding all these different rounds like the corporate structure. The governance you know now with a board and you know we see the dynamics sort of different than just having like a bunch of dudes or or ladies. There are just 1 room just like pushing you know towards 1 thing and wearing all types of hats. How has how how how have things changed you know in in that regard as well.

BJ Johnson: Yeah, you know I think um, you know we we were were lucky to have ceb lead the a you know we sort of had a board in place you know was a small board but still a board in place and having to do the all the right things governance wise I’m really going all the way back to our seed round. And we’ve done very well as a company to not just be a bunch of young guys and gals. Um, but also some veterans from the sector that really know what it takes to both succeed as a company and also succeed in this space and so the things you have to do the eyes you have to dot the t’s you have to cross to be. Ah, public company someday or frankly, even a large private company someday. You know that was instilled in what clearflem had to be from the very beginning and the other um blessing in disguise a little bit hard to to say it about something like covid um, but that that did help us. There was a lot of our early growth. You know when we closed that seed round we were 5 people I think and so a lot of the growth of our company actually was happening in 2020 2021 during covid during the kind of remote work culture and so we we learned to have to work together. Um, from different locations not literally being in the same room as each other as you as you just described and so now clearfla as we’re pushing 50 people and we have people working in our development facility in the west suburbs of Chicago but also our partner facility in Southern Indiana

BJ Johnson: A business development team that’s scattered across the country doing sales doing marketing. You know we were already sort of prepared for that more. Um, decentralized structured nature because of the way that we we grew and so we were lucky to actually have that that experience is part of our growth and so while we’ve had growing pains around. Anyone’s going to have grow have chronic pains and you grow from 5 to 50 but it was it was more just about um you know, being able to get the right reporting structures in place making sure information flows correctly throughout the company which we still don’t do as well as we need to do but it was more about those types of issues than then.

BJ Johnson: How how do we even like maintain coherence and work together. We we had to practice that very well from a very early stage.

Alejandro Cremades: And what about the pushing the operation and also the culture when you have a people you know scatter all across the country and in different places I mean how how do you go? How do you go about that? yeah.

BJ Johnson: Yeah, that that has been one of the hardest things. Um, you know I think we are We are lucky to have a group of people that is very missionally aligned um in a very diverse Way. You know I think everyone at clear flame is United by the passion of. Being able to achieve cost-effective solutions to sustainability. But but some people you know that’s more about purely the sustainability angle you know I want to do something about climate change for some people. It’s more about okay people need climate conscious solutions. But. We’re selling to Single-digit Margin sectors. How do you allow people to be sustainable without having to choose between that and feed in their families. Um, we have people that um you know are veterans of the engine industry and are are excited to show how their Multi-decade Expertise and their traditional core competency is compatible with sustainable Future. We’ve been able to bring all those diverse parties together behind that kind of singular mission cost effective sustainability and that has helped a lot. Um, it still is hard though. You know we we still do virtual team building events to make sure we can get everyone in the same room and and develop that rapport. Um, you know every chance we have to kind of bring people into the office for you know all hands meetings or quarterly reviews or whatever it might be we we like to take advantage of it but that that is one of the toughest things is actually maintaining the the spri decor. Um, when you do get scattered across the country that Way. So.

BJ Johnson: Again, we’ve we’ve done okay with it Still can always see better.

Alejandro Cremades: Now Obviously Vision. You know it’s a big one and that’s something that they you know you got to get really enrolled the team you got get enrolled the investors and and yeah, ultimately ultimately is the future that you’re living into now. So keeping that in mind if you were to go to sleep tonight. And you wake up in a world where the vision of clear flame is fully realized what does that world look like.

BJ Johnson: Um I think um, 2 2 parts of the answer I think kind of the what does the world look like um that was something I was I was saying earlier that you know diesel fuel petroleum diesel fuel as the lifeblood of. Global econom is improving quality of life that that is no longer true that users in different economies in different places in the world have the ability using technologies like clearflame to choose the fuel that is most. Economically viable and environmentally friendly. Both of those things for their particular market. Um, my co-founder Julia says this better than me which is you know your your outcomes when it comes to energy access or fuel access shouldn’t be based on whether you happen to be born in a country that is on top of. Where a bunch of dead dinosaurs turned into um oil tens of millions of years ago. So I think decoupling the world from its dependence on on petroleum diesel fuel is is what that looks like I think the other part of the answer I would give is. Kind of what has clearland created how have we contributed to it. Um, because I think you know if climate change is is such a big problem if we’re going to solve it. There is no one company that that will solve it on their own anyone who tells you that is lying or naive. Um.

BJ Johnson: And so I think when it comes to clear flame. It is not just it’s not just how or that that vision of what we’re trying to create but how we’ve brought people do it to excuse me how we brought people to it how we’ve created that follower movement that we have fleets that have looked at the example of clearfla and said. Hey I either want that technology or look ol look they proved that there’s a way to make sustainability cost-effective. Maybe the clear frame solution isn’t for me but I’ll find something else that allows me to move that needle in the right direction because clearf flame has shown that it’s possible. Um and just like Tesla has created this movement around evs that. Tesla went out there and proved that customers wanted ebs and became a trillion-d dollar company and now every oem out there for gm chrysler are making eb products that were going to do the same thing in heavy duty that clearflame is going to become the tesla heavy duty which means 10 years from now 15 years from now when. When we’re no longer relyant on petroleum diesel fuel. It’s not because everyone is driving a clear flame truck produced by clear flame but that they will have you know clear flame enabled trucks produced by vol or peterilt or Kenworth. And that they will be using where it makes sense solutions like hydrogen or ev or renewable natural gas or renewable diesel and applications worth clear. Flame doesn’t make sense that everyone is moving in the right direction because of the example that we’ve created.

Alejandro Cremades: And do you think? do you think we still have a shot here at the at saving things towards climate change because there’s a lot of negative people.

BJ Johnson: You were talking to a negative person despite being an entrepreneur. No, there’s there’s absolutely still ah a shot at at saving things. Um I I think we really do need to to start being honest with ourselves about where we’re at though to be very blunt about it. So um, you know under the Paris Accords

Alejandro Cremades: Yeah.

Alejandro Cremades: New.

BJ Johnson: Um, you know there’s this target to ah, keep global warming below one point five C one point Five Centigrade from from where it is today. That’s not going to happen and that’s the equivalent of someone saying they’re 62 years old. They’ve never saved for retirement but they’re still going to retire at 65 the the math just doesn’t work. We haven’t made enough progress on reducing carbon to date now that doesn’t mean Alejandro that there’s no hope because to go back to the the individual trying trying to retire if a 60 xty sixty 2 year old tells you. re going to start saving now and retire at 65. It’s not a good thing to tell them. Yeah, that’s possible because you need to get them a more realistic understanding a more realistic plan but you shouldn’t tell them. They’re totally screwed either you meet them halfway you say okay, no let’s make a plan so that you can retire by seventy or something like that. And and the same thing is true for climate as well. We’re not going to hit 1.5 c but let’s start having a conversation about how far below 2 sea warming. We can stay acknowledge. We’re not going to hit the original goals use that to an inject the sense of realism. Into the conversation. We can’t just keep making these goals and keep failing at them. That’s not progress for anyone and let’s have a real plan to limit the damage as much damage as much as we can because it’s not too late to stop the worst parts of climate change from happening I absolutely believe that’s true. Um, and I think we will succeed in winning this fight.

BJ Johnson: But it’s going to require people to really start taking some hard looking at the progress we’re making um, an example of this would be you know clear flame our trucks cut carbon emissions in half with a fuel that already exists today and with. Ah, fuel. That’s already cheaper than diesel fuel. So it’s cutting emissions in half with something that’s already economically viable and already scaled and there are some people that like to skind of um crap on that solution because it’s not perfect today. Even though we’ve used carbon negative fuels in our engine. We know we can scale to being perfect and frankly better than perfect. We’re not entirely there today and we don’t have the luxury of letting perfectly be the enemy of good clear flame is 50% better. Not perfect, but 50% better and a world where carbon emissions from transportation are still going up and so if we want to start making progress. We got to acknowledge in order to get to net zero first step is to stop increasing. Let’s plateau let’s get part of the way there and then let’s get all the way there. And if we can’t do that incrementally if we can’t start making progress towards the goal. We will never actually achieve that climate target and that’s the realism that I think cleartime is trying to be an example of.

Alejandro Cremades: So now we’re talking here about the future and you know we’ve been talking about like what’s possible and and some situations but I want to talk about the past and I want to talk about the past with our lens of reflection I want you I want to bring you back in time I want to bring you back in time to 2016

BJ Johnson: Yeah.

Alejandro Cremades: 2016 to that moment where you were wondering what you were going to do with your life as an entrepreneur. What were you going to bring to market you know in that a campus you know at Stanford full of innovation full of classmates of yours launching their own companies. Let’s say you’re able to have a sit down. With that younger self you know, maybe in a classroom you’re able to just sit down next to that younger bj and you’re able to give that younger bj 1 piece of advice while you’re daydreaming about what you could do as an entrepreneur entrepreneur and you’re able to give that younger bj 1 piece of advice before launching a business. But will that be and why give me what you know now.

BJ Johnson: Um, yeah, it’s it’s a good question I think um, the biggest thing I would want to impress on a younger version of me. Um, and I think this is actually true for a lot of engineering entrepreneurs. You know as engineers. We are trained to be very. Tactical very blocking and tackling you know how do we solve this problem I mean I think you heard that in my previous answer about how we incrementally start tackling climate change. There’s a method to solving things with engineering with science. It’s it’s why science and engineering appeals to to people like me. I think sometimes that can be tricky for you being an entrepreneur because you always want to focus on what you need to do I need to do a b c d and e to make this company successful and that’s that’s what you’re communicating to investors when I think as engineers and as we take for granted. Communicating the size of the problem that we’re solving both in terms of the size of the problem that we have to solve but also the size of the business opportunity that comes from solving that problem and I think making sure that you know when you’re pitching people on this vision. The vision of clear flame or really any early company. Making sure you’re focused first and foremost on what this can be and then getting into the what it takes to get there. You know again I think you know I come from a culture where proving you know all the steps is actually proving. You know what? you’re doing but there’s a first step that we forget about as engineers which is.

BJ Johnson: Proving this is even worth working on in the first place and it’s pitching that bigger vision before you get into the details that’s something I would say to myself and and a lot of people starting companies especially from engineering backgrounds.

Alejandro Cremades: Love it. So bj for the people that are listening that will love to reach out and say hi. What is the best way for them to do so okay.

BJ Johnson: Yeah, see you can follow clearla on Linkedin Clearla Engine Technologies we’re also have a presence on on Twitter our website is um, the biggest barrier we face as a company is is still people knowing. We exist that this solution is possible that we can start making progress cost effectively on climate change. So I’m very grateful for their audience for listening today and and anything you can do to follow us and ampliify our mission I’d be even more grateful for.

Alejandro Cremades: Mason well hey bj thank you so much for being with a deal maker show. It has been an honor to have you with us today.

BJ Johnson: Thank you all Andra much appreciated.

* * *
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