Jacob Krogsgaard continues to lead the way in renewable energy through hydrogen. A journey that has seen him start companies, fund and scale them, and take them public. His latest startup, Everfuel, raised funding from top-tier investors like European Commission, Swedish Energy Agency, Force Technology, and Danish Energy.
In this episode, you will learn:
- The pros and cons of taking your company public
- Jacob Krogsgaard’s top advice for starting a business
- How he thinks we are doing in the battle against climate change
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.
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 Jacob Krogsgaard:
Founder of Everfuel A, Nel Hydrogen An, and Hs web development, Jacob Krogsgaard currently occupies the position of Chairman at Everfuel Retail Norway AS and Chief Executive Officer at Everfuel.
In the past, Mr. Krogsgaard held the position of Chief Executive Officer for Nel Hydrogen A. He received an undergraduate degree from the University of Aarhus.
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Read the Full Transcription of the Interview:
Alejandro Cremades: Alrighty hello everyone and welcome to the dealmaker show. So we have today an exciting founder an exciting founder that is a repeated founder. We’re gonna be learning quite a bit you know when it comes to building scaling financing exiting also doing the integration doing the vesting the vesting and resting as some of you call it. But they without a doubt we’re gonna be learning quite a bit and I’m sure that many of you are gonna be inspired so without farther. Do let’s welcome our guest today Jacob Kroxard welcome to the show.
Jacob Krogsgaard: Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.
Alejandro Cremades: So originally born ah in the northwest part of Denmark how was life growing up there.
Jacob Krogsgaard: Ah, well it was ah very exciting if you want to look at all the wind turbines that once stoleed back then in the in the 80 s and 90 s but ah, but besides that ah it’s not like ah that the place in Denmark where where so much is happening and but ah, ah, but now less and and and interesting and and comfortable. Ah, ah, period and getting inspired to what eventually have become my ah my life work.
Alejandro Cremades: So at what point do you? really? you know believe that that’s the future because this this happened really early on for you. You know at what point were you inspired enough.
Jacob Krogsgaard: Yeah, yeah, an nexttomy. Yeah did so in and so I’m working within within Hydland business and producing hiding out of renewable power. So the inspiration for ah for kind of starting up with all of this were. Back in the mid 90 s when I was still a teenager. Ah we had a fall storm in the in the northwest part of Denmark and ah the electrical grid actually collapsed and that never happens at Denmark It’s a very robust and stable electrical grid and the reason for that the grid collapsed up there. Were because there were more renewable power produced from wind turbines that the electrical grid actually consumed because no one back then actually installed a turnoff button in winterines because they only imagined that you had a electrical grid. You just push power in all of a sudden they needed to do like a manual containment. Meaning that they literally called one farmer and said today turn off your wind turbine the another farmer the next day turn off your wind turbine because the storm might be coming and that was the manual attainment today that is ah fully automated and happening all around the world with renewable power so solar and wind. Being produced in in excess of what we need and thereby you start to have the issues and the more renewables we get implemented. We get into challenges of using that harvesting it efficiently and that’s what you can do by producing hylum and store it and use that for other purposes where you cannot electrify.
Alejandro Cremades: Beautiful, Beautiful now. Obviously you know like that has been the the path that you decided to follow I mean you essentially went to high school then you went to college now in college Very interesting you studied I mean typically you would have people studying.
Jacob Krogsgaard: That was my inspiration.
Alejandro Cremades: Computer engineering or electrical engineering or mechanical engineer or whatever engineering that is in your case you studied business development engineering That’s quite unique I got to tell you I haven’t seen this often. So what were you doing really in business development engineering.
Jacob Krogsgaard: Yeah, well, it’s ah it’s the only University in the world where you can get that degree. So yes, it’s ah it’s pretty unique. Ah the the idea of this of of this degree is basically to create entrepreneurs practical managers So people that has a broad. Engineering technical competence so not just in mechanical or electronic or structural but in in all ah fields of engineering not as deep but has a basic understanding then you add some legal some design some finance.
Jacob Krogsgaard: Put that in you stir around and eventually pops out an entrepreneur that were the idea when that indication was already can be founded I was on ah the third the third year of this education. So still a very young and new education and I found that very very inspiring. Because the the founders of that of that education were still around. They were still like with ah with full energy full throttle giving so much inspiration to to this Ah this class of students and there was a limited limited offtake offtake of ah. 40 I think per year that was it.
Alejandro Cremades: Wow I mean I knew it was unique. The moment I saw that they they agree but then so your case you eventually graduated and and you got together. You know with some of your classmates and you decided it was time. To start your own thing so walk us through what happened.
Jacob Krogsgaard: Yeah, well well actually we started way before we graduated so we graduated in 2006 but we we founded H Toaptic back in 2003 so I and and 3 of my fellow students. Ah, we’re working in in in different teams making different projects in the college where eventually we started with the hydrogen project ah me and one of my other friends from way back. We grew up close together in the northward part of Denmark and he always said we got to work and hide them. We got to work and hyd them. Told too much say it’s too early. We got ah we got to see who are the other students on this Ah ah in this course before we jump into bed with some and then ah on the third year that was the time. So then we started up a project. On hydrogen and I think tore six weeks after we found that age eluctic and the the purpose with age selecttic was basically to work with Hyden trying to and develop and hardware so we started making a few cell systems for small vehicles. You couldn’t electrify them making them as replacements for for for gasoline the diesel vehicles and realizing that we needed a ways to to fuel these vehicles. So then we developed heightened stations to fuel hy them on these types of vehicles.
Jacob Krogsgaard: So here. We’re talking about forknifts and les less golf vehicles and small city cleaning vehicles. So those types of vehicles that honestly today we see them mainly being electrified. We didn’t see that back then so we did well out both the fuel so systems. To integrate in these vehicles to make them run them hy them and we develop the hiding stations to fuel it and and that that went well we were we didn’t have any money so we we needed to to to sell products and before we developed them. We were successful in getting. R and d funding from ah so the the danish energy agency the the danish counterpart of a due and and that mixed with sales of products just roughly made it work so we made a balance every year while growing the organization and developing competencies.
Alejandro Cremades: Now now now it really incredible that because you founded a company about you know in the early two thousand s or around 2003 and obviously in Denmark you know now you know parole is developing you know farther you know when it comes to the startup world a venture world a venture money.
Jacob Krogsgaard: And and.
Jacob Krogsgaard: I.
Alejandro Cremades: Accessible to all those entrepreneurs but back then you know it was probably nonexistent. So was that what’s that a really big challenge for you guys.
Jacob Krogsgaard: Ah yes I also think it was and and necessary. So I think in in in those years in in the early years of age to logictic with our ambition of growing more rapidly than we had cash to do I think I made like. Maybe 15 different investor pictures. They yeah, they all liked me. They couldn’t understand the business case. So many of those of course have afterwards approached me and said god them and why didn’t we believe in you but but nevertheless that’s a different story. So we really really made a lot of these and pictures I think conclusion were that the market was simply too early. This was prior to venture so and we were probably looking at seed and the challenge were we we didn’t want to do such a dilution to get some seed capital. So very early 2008. We also had a professional board of directors that we invited to join ah h tolock. They also got a small I think that was an extremely wise decision because when you’re an entrepreneur and you are working on the day-to-day and you’re working on. Um, tactical and then strategic in the evening you very easily get blinded and having ah having a board of directors I think we are not even 10 people when they when they joined was really really key and that was ah the former Ceo and cto of westster’s wind power like the world’s largest wind turbine manufacture.
Jacob Krogsgaard: And the former minister of indian transportation in Denmark so actually got those 3 guys to join us and I think that made made difference. Yeah.
Alejandro Cremades: My Gun So It’s like the it’s like less like the Os course of wind power I mean it’s It’s Incredible. It’s incredible. The way that you structure that now I’m sure that that opened up the. The world of opportunities for you guys when he came to accessing money when he came to accessing talent. Would you say you know that day that you were able to really benefit from their network to plug it into the execution of the business.
Jacob Krogsgaard: And yeah, but nitro not too much all of those 3 guys were of course already pretty pretty clever back then so they didn’t want to expose themselves too much. They wanted to play me and my team good. So. It was behind the scene to make sure that we made the right decisions and of course they opened the necessary doors if they could ah so I think generally they didn’t and like like all good parents. Ah you don’t you don’t tell what to do? You’re trying to guide in the right direction. And if it’s really bad. You tell you tell when to dock because something is going to happen like.
Alejandro Cremades: Understood now for you guys you know like you were pushing this for about 13 years and then in 2016 you know something changed. You know, obviously you know someone came knocking in the door. Perhaps you know it was timing. You know what? what.
Jacob Krogsgaard: Um, yeah, are.
Alejandro Cremades: What happened at that point that they meette you guys at a board level decide that it made sense to go after an acquisition.
Jacob Krogsgaard: Yeah, or actually it was in in 2015 and the story starts a little bit before them so in in 2009 ah, the global car manufacturers more or less all of them and made and an announcement in September saying that by 2015 they would have. Ah, hundred thousands of fuel cell cars on the road ah in the in the markets globally where hiding station networks were built that was our queue so we sold off anything that were related to fuel cell systems and just focused on making hyring stations. We developed a new heightden station technology.
Jacob Krogsgaard: We sold that to customers here in the nordics and nordic and the middle part of Europe and developed a new generation of home stations. Ah realized that we needed to be able to grow rapidly so we made the blueprints of a big factory. That we needed to do in order to be able to supply all of those stations that would be needed in 2015 and um and the years to come so that we prepared and we were ready and in 2015 ah, we we were acquired by no.
Jacob Krogsgaard: And they were a enowwetian electronizer manufacturer that basically were wall listed not too long before them I think half a year before them and they on the journey to develop what they call the world’s largest hiding company and they needed to. Ah, do m andmas to increase the activities of ah of not and that made sense. Bos they gave us ah a good offer we needed both a scene from a a founder and seatholer point of view that was attractive. Secondly they brought additional cash to invest in the factory that we needed. In order to continue to grow our business so that makes sense and I think we executed the the diligence and the finishive documents within six weeks
Alejandro Cremades: Wow I mean that’s pretty fast and in this case, it was about thirty million bucks so $30000000 that they ended up being the um, the transaction value of this and there was like a. Ah, structure there where you guys did you know a blend of stock and cash. So how was that blend and and how did you guys go about making sure that that was you know setting place you know correctly.
Jacob Krogsgaard: And well of course we had all the necessary ah advice and support on our side but the structure was one third in ca and 2 third and in si and no so basically that was as a c swap and I think that was a. A brilliant move both by the the board of of nell back then and by ourselves as well because that game was as ah as founders of a telelotic. Ah both a little cash to ah to make the the families back home ah less concerned. But at the same time a high level of motivation to keep going because I have actually seen a few occasions not trying to mention any specifically but where founders are bought out and then they have ah they have an earnout and that said see you on Bahamas.
Alejandro Cremades: Yeah, yeah, hey not nothing, not nothing bad with being in Bahamas but they totally I totally get what you’re saying because I mean in this case, you guys did stay for quite a bit longer than you know, typically those integrations they would be about a year or 2
Jacob Krogsgaard: And then very quickly. The organization falls about 2 So.
Jacob Krogsgaard: No.
Alejandro Cremades: And in this case, you stayed for longer, you stayed for close to 4 years now you know, go ahead.
Jacob Krogsgaard: Um, yeah, is exactly nice I stayed 4 years but both because I had 2 but thing actually equal important because I enjoyed it I yeah. I grew the the organization substantially together with ah with the management of ah of Num helping ah help help set up subsidiaries in Korea and California and by the end of that period when I exited. We had a a full autobook with more than one year of ah auto backlog and were the largest heightened station supply in the world.
Alejandro Cremades: I mean I feel that was more than okay now given that that was more than okay and now you know you your family. You know everyone was said you know how would I say this financial freedom. You know why going at it again.
Jacob Krogsgaard: Ah, think that was okay.
Jacob Krogsgaard: You know that’s ah and that’s a question I get a lot and the the people that know me would also know that ah using the parallel to bahamass again I would definitely love that for three or four weeks but that’s it. Ah. Then I wouldn’t be able to just do nothing I was not done honestly speaking I felt like I was not done proving ah that a heightened business would be successful because back then and now we were still investing meaning that we invested more that we earned.
Jacob Krogsgaard: And I fundamentally believe that we’re still in early days in hylum and ah, we’re not there where ah cash is just generated like crazy and I believe that ah and seeing that path to success actually also is an obligation to prove it. Ah, true. Prove it to myself and prove it to shareholders. But ah, we also have a climate crisis where we need solutions and showing that we can do that in Neighbourfield where we in in in nefield the company I’m Ceo of today where we are. And the own and operator of the full hyd and value chain where we’ are developing a large-scale Hyden products ah with hydroland production from renewval power hiding distribution and hiding dispensing into fuel cell vehicles and selling or shortly will be selling hiding molecules to industrial customers. So setting up setting up such a business ah requires insight and talent and I think that’s what what we brought when we founded able fuel in in 2019.
Alejandro Cremades: So you found that they were few you know, obviously in this same career path that you embarked yourself. You know when you were a kid you know pretty much you know which is something that really you really truly believed in I Guess for the people that are listening I mean you were you were touching there on the.
Jacob Krogsgaard: So.
Alejandro Cremades: On the model and and what you guys are up to but how do you guys make money. Okay.
Jacob Krogsgaard: Ah, well today we are. We’re burning more than we earn so when we are earning money we earn money by ah, producing Hyland so this is true electroisos a a machine that maybe some of you remember from the physics class. Ah, you have water like you’re drinking now or you put in electrodes and up pops hydro than an odum the hydrogen we we store that and then that hydrogen has a venue. The hydrogen can be used in industrial processes in refineries. It can be used in industrial processes to replace natural gas. So right now that’s pretty hard, especially here in here in Europe with the situation ukraine and it’s also and it’s also and ah used for few for the heavy duty and intensive vehicle by taxis and trucks. So. We are earning money by by selling those ah by selling hydgen as a few and the more we sell well the more we earn and then of course there is ah a cross point where that makes a lot of sense.
Alejandro Cremades: Now with you guys you know in this case, it was a little bit different than when you started h 2 logic your previous company because your previous company. You did it in the early 2000 with ever fuel you got going in 2019
Jacob Krogsgaard: And.
Alejandro Cremades: So I’m sure that the way that you were able to access talent the way that you were able to access capital. It had changed quite a little bit So did you see it a little bit less challenging on those two fronts.
Jacob Krogsgaard: Ah, yes, and yes, ah second time is is ah our easy is a wrong word and my fellow ever fuelers will kill me if I sell so but it’s definitely easier so we also went from from from 0 to. Where we roughly 90 employees in three and a half year ah and people employed in in 5 different countries we have um, we have people from 11 different nationalities that have joined us people from as far as away as New Zealand moved here to workforce. So our our head office. We call this the ever fuel farm. It’s ah it’s an old farm just south of ah of handing in Denmark in a beautiful, beautiful landscape scic site where we renovated in the entire place we wanted it to be and. A very cool story when when customers and guests everybody withs us and we want it to be a location where you have and you have time and you have space for creativity. Basically. For what we do here. That’s to a great extent sales and business development and and developing hide and projects we need and the best skilled people and we need a very good internet connection and then that’s it so we might as well do that at a scenic location instead instead of just doing it in a.
Jacob Krogsgaard: And a glass and concrete building somewhere downtown of big city.
Alejandro Cremades: Now for you guys. You’ve raised about a 100,000,000 a little bit over a 100000000 the company. You took the company public. So how is it um to really now I mean the experience of taking a company public and really dealing with the upswings of. Of the market because I mean in covid the company was valued at a billion now. The company is valued at the 290,000,000 or so so it just goes ups and down. So how do you ride that roller coaster.
Jacob Krogsgaard: And while you well when no when we were when we were acquired by by no, we already had the experience and our were we close to the processes of being listed so we were not ah we not unexperienced there. Um. And I actually think being ah being listed have a lot of upsides of course on downside that you need to be public. You need to tell everything you do so working in stealth mode doesn’t work and and however and creating the necessary speed momentum and also the required capital. To to execute on our ambitions. The only way to do that is by being listed and of course myself still being the majority shareholder and it’s also important that we are that we are listed in a way where it’s but’s possible for us to go and ask the yeah hold those for additional capital. When we have next and further projects that we need to invest so from from day one when we listed we basically ah put out our our business buy and that within 10 years that was now until twenty third we will wage one billion Euro in revenue and in order to get there. We need to invest one point five billion of that three hundred million Eu will come as equity and the remaining part will come as nonquity being ah public funds hopefully as many as possible and then back bank loan in order to do that. You need your projects to be bankable and that’s a complexity by its own. But.
Jacob Krogsgaard: Setting out that that ambition and that guiding star and and basically walking through the ah the slogan we have behind yesterday’s wind is today’s fuel telling that story again and again and again has really brought a lot of shareholders to join us from ah more or less all over the planet. Costly mainly focused in Northern Europe but also from ah from us.
Alejandro Cremades: And you know one thing that is very interesting too. Here is timing because with your last company you were ahead of the market. Now you’re literally at the right time in History. There sense there. There seems to be like more consciousness around climate change and and around you know, like what we could do to. To Really you know contribute and help out you know in that regard. Would you say that that has also helped you guys and and also helped you on the on that strategy of being a publicly listed company. Okay.
Jacob Krogsgaard: Um, and yeah, yes I would say I have you I have been working now 20 years within heidel I used the first eighteen years to tell about hyen and it’s the last two years that people actually started to listen.
Jacob Krogsgaard: Ah, where all of the sudden ah people it’s it’s like there. There became a movement of realization. Okay, we cannot just make the world green by solar and wind alone. We have ah the heart to abate and sectors. We have a challenge in transport. And we have a great challenge if we need electricity at the night time if the wind is not blowing which actually happens quite a lot so we need ways to balance that and producing hydroland from that surplus renewable is just and the logical on the way. Then the the people that disagree will say well, it’s not better. It’s it’s not as efficient as just taking electricity sorry electricity and into a battery but if we’re not just using the battery to to store electricity on board and a vehicle. But we want to use batteries to store electricity to balance an entire electrical grid electrical system. We are absolutely out of ah of the materials and the metals to do to make those batteries in a very short time. So there’s no way around and all of the sudden. And all no way around hydrogen and all of a sudden like two years ago and there became like and and a general and acceptance. Okay, that’s the way to go power to x the theme power to x all of the start and all of the sudden started to make sense power to whatever x the x being hide them or.
Jacob Krogsgaard: Next coming after Hydrogen being Ammonia or methanol or some other and some other fuel that you can then store and use at another point in time we don’t have your renewal.
Alejandro Cremades: Now imagine you were to go to sleep tonight Jacob and you wake up in a world where the vision of ever fuel is fully realized what does that world look like.
Jacob Krogsgaard: Oh well that’s the good thing about the visum. It’s basically impossible the vision of ever offume and is basically a and a a green planet without without any pollution and it’s a green planet running. And sustainably meaning that it’s sustainable from a renewable perspective but it’s also sustainable from an economic perspective and when you when you start to look at that on a very very remarkable and global perspective hydrogen becomes the energy vector. That you can actually use to transport ah energies and balance entities across continents that takes quite a few ah decades before we’re there and but and 20502060 ah, twenty fifty or fifty five is like the un ambition and oh my god we need to be globally called and exit to really achieve that and and we’ll work our asrself to get that. But let’s see. But anyway when when when that is completed I’m also at retirement age. So I think that is ah.
Alejandro Cremades: And obviously there’s a lot of talk now about what’s going on with the climate change and and where the world The planet is heading. Do you think we have a shot that they saving it or not.
Jacob Krogsgaard: That’s the vision.
Jacob Krogsgaard: Of course as ah and it’s my it’s my fundamental personal belief that we will not save the planet by by blocking things. We’re not saving it by. Ah. And making it illegal to use airplanes or whatever we will continue to do evolution but we will do that evolution in a sustainable way I think we will unfortunately and have further challenges with the climate changes than than what we see today and. So with my rest being a resident up here in op in Denmark where ah half of the year is pretty cold I guess it’s not that bad but on a global perspective. It’s really an issue and like and yeah, it’s it’s really It’s really an issue and it’s something and. That bothers me and actually me especially my kids my 2 daughters they make they truly. Ah, they don’t want to drive anything else, but my fuel cell car or my wife’s battery electric car.
Alejandro Cremades: Incredible now Imagine Jacob I put you into a time machine and I bring you back in time I bring you back in time you know, perhaps when you were you know, still a student of the business development engineering. You know they agree and.
Jacob Krogsgaard: Um.
Alejandro Cremades: Let’s say you had the chance of sitting your younger self down for a chat and you were able to give that younger Jacob one piece of advice before launching a business. What would that be and why given why you know now.
Jacob Krogsgaard: Um, that’s interesting and well and from ah from from two thousand three until now has definitely not just been strategy on the straight line. That has been all over the place back. Forth up down and then eventually to where we are today. So what would my advice be and stand up for what you believe in. So even if it has been and extremely. Frustrating tiresome like challenging in the early days we are a few times this close to being out of business and that also eventually gives you some gray hair and some robustness. Ah, and.
Jacob Krogsgaard: Believe enough in yourself and your ability and that the the journey you are on and it’s both the right for the planet and eventually a very good business and then not tell anything about the challenges.
Alejandro Cremades: I Love it. So.
Jacob Krogsgaard: That I will see.
Alejandro Cremades: Amazing now Jacob 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 yeah.
Jacob Krogsgaard: And while I am ah I’m on both a Twitter and I think Linkedin so that I’m I’m frequently getting a lot of ah, a lot of highs. So ah, feel free to ah to raise a hand ba I will do the best I can to ah to say hi by again.
Alejandro Cremades: Amazing! Well hey Jacob thank you so much for being on the deal maker show today. It has been an honor to have you with us.
Jacob Krogsgaard: Um, thank you so much I and.
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