Ryan Morris has been on both sides of the table as an investor and an operator. His latest venture has already raised close to half a billion dollars to tackle a huge problem. The company, Turntide Technologies, has attracted funding from top-tier investors like JLL Spark, OGCI Climate Investments, FootPrint Coalition, and Keyframe Capital Partners.
In this episode, you will learn:
- What Turntide is doing for energy and the planet
- Inflection points
- Scaling teams
- Operating at different levels of scale
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 Ryan Morris:
As a founder of a bootstrapped software company prior to investing in & building larger companies, Ryan Morris has great appreciation and respect for the operational details and entrepreneurial efforts underlying the financial numbers of a business. He loves building things in areas that others do not have the pain tolerance to follow through, like industrial & hard tech.
Ryan also has a public markets investment vehicle Meson Gravity that heavily utilizes machine learning in its investment selection process, particularly for shorts/hedging to neutralize and benefit from future market volatility/declines.
Ryan and his team neutralize things they cannot control, like stock market fluctuations, allowing them to be sharply focused on things can control, like building great businesses with great people.
Ryan’s Meson Capital’s goal is to achieve the maximum possible long-term returns while minimizing the risk of permanent capital loss. They will occasionally seek to get constructively involved with public or private companies or acquire outright where they can drive value and growth.
The most predictable thing in capitalism is the exponential price-performance trends driving technology. First observed with Moore’s law in semiconductors, now this dynamic spills over into batteries, electric motors, solar panels, robotics, etc.
Ryan invests in and helps companies positioned to benefit from these unstoppable forces by harnessing input costs that will predictably decline with time. His largest investment is in Turntide Technologies (formerly Software Motor Company).
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Read the Full Transcription of the Interview:
Alejandro Cremades: All righty hello everyone and welcome to the deal maker show. So today. We have a very interesting and exciting founder. You know we’re going to be talking about being on both sides of the table whether it is on the side of investing or on the side of building scaling financing. And all the above all the good stuff that we want to hear so without further ado. Let’s welcome our guest today Ryan Morris welcome to the show. So originally born in Canada in Toronto how was life growing up, give us a little fun walk through memory lane.
Ryan Morris: Hey you there Thanks for having me.
Ryan Morris: Well cold colder than California I’ve been in the bay area for about 12 years now and I don’t know took took me a while to figure out that all the interesting stuff and good weather is here but got got good 22 freezing cold winters in Toronto and then the northeastern college before. Moving out to California and appreciating all the all the great stuff here.
Alejandro Cremades: Now typically at the age of um, you know where where I guess kids nowadays they’re either getting into video games and you know maybe playing sports you got into nuclear fusion and then also. Reading letters. You know the letters of Buffett I mean that’s pretty unique I’m sure you were the only one in your class looking into this kind of stuff. So how did you get first into nuclear fusion and then also more into the business side of things of reading Warren Buffett’s letters.
Ryan Morris: So I was definitely not ah 1 of the popular kids doing the the normal fun stuff so that that freed up a lot of time for other maybe more intellectually interesting pursuits in the long term for 111112 year old but yeah so for all the. The the nerdy nerdy kids out there. There’s there’s a pathway to doing an interesting things as an adult. But no, it’s funny it’s kind of funny store actually so there’s this documentary for those who are born in the mid 80 s so Pbs had this school documentary called the voyage of the mimi the Mimi was a ship and. 1 of the the cast. Um, the captain was ah actually a plasma physicist and they would have kind of a show and tell at the end of every episode of you know how to be resourceful in nature or something and he was a positive physicist at ah at mit and so they went and gave the main character who is this little kid who would kind of ask all these. Obnoxious questions and it turned out that little kid was ah the future Batman Ben Affleck so that was his first big acting break the voyage of the mimi so it was kind of ah there’s a funny story that ties things together for that. But um, you know fusion sounds really deceptively simple. You know the sun does it. It works. Just have a magnetic confinement bottle and contain hydrogen and boom you’ve got unlimited clean energy. So that was as an eleven year old. Ah very very exciting that hey you could use physics to kind of save the world and and solve all the energy problems.
Ryan Morris: And so I like I got deeper into I was reading. You know all these physics textbooks and stuff when I was really young and learning about it. It was all kind of exciting. You know is real science but to me as a little kid. It was sort of like sci-fi interesting as interesting as any sci-fi would have been because it was all new and then I remember distinctly having this. Ah. Lesson from my my father when I was kind of 2 years into this where he’s like look like even if you’re the best scientist in the world. You can’t just make fusion happen on your own. You have to figure out to build teams build businesses and get capital to put behind these really hard problems and that went out I was like ah okay sure so like let’s look at the forbes four hundred I think it was bill gates number 1 bill. Ah, Warren Buffett number 2 at the time with berkshire and you know so I started learning as much as I could about about business and you know how did these guys amass all this capital that you know if they could go put towards really important problems obviously bill gates and I was an investor of ours in turntide. So kind of ended up being an interesting closed loop with some. Mission alignment there. But yeah, that’s what got me into again a deceptively simple thing. Warren Buffett makes it sound like anybody can go you know invest as well as him. It’s ah sort of sounds sounds easy if it’s a little more complicated under the surface but you know he’s done an amazing job educating on the on the principles of how to think long term and.
Alejandro Cremades: So and let’s talk about rowing because rowing. Also you know has been something that has a marked you and you know training getting better getting faster I’m sure that there’s some leadership you know that you were able to get as well from from rowing. So how do you get into rowing.
Ryan Morris: And business and investing.
Ryan Morris: Yeah, it’s interesting. So I I wanted to go originally to Princeton because they had the best plasma physics lab at the time and I remember talking with a family member I grew up in Canada so like didn’t really have any family in the us or any knowledge of the Us colleges. Who are you know some of the best the best in the world and I remember distinctly. Ah an uncle of mine who did know something about that. He said you know those ivy leagues they like rowers. You know that’s sort of an ivy league thing and so I remember I I was the only person in my high school. My high school is in Toronto and ah. Toronto has a big lake Ontario so there’s a number of schools that have rowing there and I was the only person I think that went and sought out the rowing team normally the rowing team at least in Toronto because it’s freezing in the winter they look for big guys. They get cut from the football team. So I was like the only person who actually looked looked for it because I had this motivation of. Ultimately going to Princeton for fusion thing I was passionate about at the time when I was like 13 years old and um, ended up joining it I was like the weakest person on the team when I started as like a little nerdy scrany kid and by the the end of high school I was this strongest and winning national championships and the kind of leader on the team and ah. Would say there’s a lot of things you know when you read about them like reading about Buffett and reading about business that you can think or I could get into this mode of thinking you know I actually knew something and it’s very easy to read a book and you think oh I know this stuff I could write this book writing a book is a lot harder than and reading a book.
Ryan Morris: And rowing was that kind of in some ways rode awakening for me where it’s like wow you really go put yourself out there in a competitive playing field and you get to see how how difficult things are um when you when you get your your butt kicked for like the first couple of years I was doing it. Even if you you know thought you knew some even though I thought I knew something about it. Um, but then at the same time There’s also this really clear pathway to have discipline and keep chipping away and keep improving so just training you know a couple hours every day you know accumulated over 4 years of having good discipline and you know that turns into a national champion. And so there was kind of this interesting mixed lesson of you know, don’t don’t expect instant gratification. But if you stick at things for a long time you can actually you know become pretty pretty world-class at stuff so that that is pretty formative for me.
Alejandro Cremades: That’s amazing. No kidding and that and then you go to Cornell. Ah you did your masters there and then you decided to take a year off so why a year off.
Ryan Morris: So I I really like the idea of contrast. So ah, you know there’s there’s kind of if you get stuck into kind of just one field and not able to lift your head up to kind of the broader perspective or. You know the the context of where something fits in I think it’s it’s hard to come up with really interesting innovative things so you know I was doing cornell problem sets like all the other people there. It’s like it’s a great school and engineering really really rigorous ah stuff there cornell and. A couple years into that I I thought hey what if you know I’m I’m in I’m in college like I’m gonna I’m gonna finish my degree what if I just go take a year off like some people take a year off after they finish I think it’s actually better to take it in the middle because you know exactly where you’re going to be a year from now and so you can take more risk and so I I actually. Saw this discovery channel top 10 most dangerous jobs. Ah tv show like twenty years ago or something and the number one was the alaskan crab fishing and I think that turned into its whole series think number two is forestry which turns out it’s really unionized so kind of need family to break into it and then number 3 is oil and gas. So. Like okay, great like what’s the most dangerous job I could go get I’m 20 at the time so in Northern Alberta in canada they kind of have this oil industry and it’s like minus thirty in the winter and so I ended up basically finding a ah job out in the field just kind of working around rigs and surveying and kind of in the knee-deep snow.
Ryan Morris: Ah, winter and that was just a really interesting contrast to to see something again in the real world versus this kind of artificial construct of of problem sets at ah you know an engineering school. Um, so yeah I had had a had a kind of unusual ah bridge crossing there where. Definitely the the guys I guys and girls I was working with were very very different than the people that I was at Cornell was so I just thought that was an interesting thing to see kind of a wider spectrum of things in the world.
Alejandro Cremades: That’s amazing. Then you return back and once you completed your masters then you decide to start your first business. So what were you doing there with video note.
Ryan Morris: Yeah, so I I had another gap year where actually I raced a road bike so I kept kind of the athletic thing going for a while with rowing and cycling again. Just like not easy happy-go lucky sports like all very much you know put in put in the hours you know, have your body catch up. But. Was finally ready to join kind of the real real economy after figuring. Okay I’m only really young once and nobody’s going to trust a 20 year old running a business anyway. So I may as well just focus on athletics but you know once I once I graduate my master’s Ah, graduated at the perfect timing in may of 2008 as the world is imploding and all the job offers are being rescinded in the great financial crisis for all the people who recruit and especially as an immigrant I’m Canadian so at the time you know the extra hurdle for for companies to go get a work visa for somebody. Um, just made it. You know that that much more difficult so I had a lot of friends there who were really amazing but had to go back home to their own countries and and being a canadian actually it’s not even that much easier. It’s still the same visa hurdle of wherever you’re from. Um so I ended up starting a company so is one of these you know when your opportunity cost is really low. But like I had some amazing cushy job. You know that was going to be easy to get and I was like well if it’s going to be hard anyway like I may as well just do this entrepreneurial thing and I had come up a couple years before with ah a business idea and I think there was like an entrepreneurial class where we had to come up with a business plan and um.
Ryan Morris: And I had to miss class a lot because of sports. So I’d be away for like a week you know for some cycling race and it was always really hard to catch up on all the ah all the schools so it kind of I started as like my own first customer in that case and so I made this video note which was kind of like an early courseras back in 8 where you know it wasn’t it wasn’t easy to. Set up, you know, streaming video servers and like the bandwidth was a huge issue and and databases weren’t that easy to work with but i’ was a software engineer so me and a cofounder whose friend is ph d in power electronics just as it happens that was important for me later. We set up this thing and you know basically got it to work and we’re kind of our own first customers. Um, really super hard first year just like a lot of lessons again of you know going from like reading a lot of books about business to going and jumping into the the real world and having to sell things and I mean to build things so that was a really good interesting first lesson. So I guess I’ve been building companies now since you know fifteen years ago so it’s kind of jumped jumped in feet first.
Alejandro Cremades: Now with video note you know rather than going you know the hypergrowth you know, approach growing like crazy racing money I mean basically you guys you know, really got it to a cash flow positive um approach and you know that was really the way that the company run for about a decade. So so any any any thoughts on why you guys win that route versus maybe like you know, injecting a bunch of Vc money and and growing the thing like wildfire.
Ryan Morris: You know it was. It was a problem I was interested in but it wasn’t an area that I was like so passionate about that I wanted to go dedicate kind of 10 years full full time on and also my co-founder. You know when he finished his ph d he wanted to go work at another company. So I would say it. It was. It was a small company. It was enough. Um, successful enough to kind of pay my rent for the next ten years while I could go work on other things I kind of had got it to a stable place and actually interestingly there’s another company that started by another Cornellia and classmate at the same time course hero. And now I think they’re a unicorn so like he’s sort of stuck with it and has built a really great company. So but just in this in this particular case you know it was more of a project kind of in my mind than something I was super passionate about for long-term I was I was also working on on the investing and started. Mason Capital in February Two Thousand and nine which if you remember was kind of the bottom bottom tick time of the great financial crisis and so I was really passionate about investing in some you know, bigger companies and transforming turning around companies was something I was kind of more intellectually passionate about so you know I basically worked in a video no for a year and then ah.
Alejandro Cremades: Now.
Ryan Morris: Turned into kind of a passive thing. So a lot of amazing lessons. But I think it’s just really important to you know, put your put my energy into where I was really passionate about something and I would you know get you know, be able to be energized working 70 hours a week on stuff.
Alejandro Cremades: Absolutely now with my own capital I mean you, you’ve been pushing that since ever since actually you know and and and you’ve been out enough for about 14 years with this ah 75,000,000 in assets under management. And really great the experiences too where you went you invested in companies and then also you were able to participate you know as part of the operations some of those companies like inuseyste Lucas energy or surf gone now I want to ask you about listen learn. From being involved with those 3 companies. So for example with a few systems. You know where it was all about trying the turn around what did you learn about turning around a company.
Ryan Morris: Yeah, so in into system came about well so just for some background so amazing capital it started as a public markets fund and you know we’re not a typical kind of a fund it was more of like a vehicle to go build companies. So. Ah, the way actually Warren Buffett started before way before berkshire back in the 50 s and sixty s is he had a fund and he would go by controlling or influential stakes. You know, maybe ten twenty percent of a public company and then go and work to um, you know, improve the value because the management wasn’t very good in those companies. Or they’re very sleepy for example, so infuystem was a case where there’s a big bloomberg article about it in 2012 but ah, it’s very unusual. So the shareholders are extremely upset so I was affected I was an active shareholder. So kind of the I don’t know the batman of the public markets going to help the the shareholders who can’t do anything about it when they’re. Companies are sort of taken hostage by you know, ah not aligned or bad boards. You know it’s it’s kind of an edge case. Interesting edge case in capitalism but so I did that for about 7 6 7 years or so and you know I definitely was was really proud to be able to go transform a lot of companies. Um, that were otherwise on a path to destruction or decay soy system was kind of on its way to bankruptcy I was only 27 years old this was eleven years ago when I got involved and so very steep learning curve and.
Ryan Morris: You know I guess I just got to see what it was like when companies got really dysfunctional and political and ah so I sort of joke I like to start with the hardest problems and work backwards from there. So um, there’s a motorcycle racer racer Valentino Rossi is like a modo gp world champion and he has an autobiography and he says. His first turn in a new vehicle. He always spins out in the first turn so he kind of starts with like overdoing it and then working backwards so you know know what’s possible. Um, so you’re not afraid of of crashing I thought that was kind of an interesting analogy for things. But yeah, so kind of again that was. 27 like the board was all these you know fancy degree Goldman Sachs ex-people and you know they were all like oh I’ve been doing this since you were in diapers. It’s like oh you’ve been like destroying companies and bankrupting them since I was in diapers like why don’t we try something different here but just sort of having that you know, really adversarial.
Alejandro Cremades: Now.
Ryan Morris: Synch or swim having to stay calm when things were really chaotic I think that’s that’s always been a really big strength of mine. So um, it was. It was really interesting. Period. So I think that’s one of just ah, being able to sort of keep your head well things are super chaotic was was absolutely an important lesson that I got to see over and over again and how things would get political and. Um I wrote a little article on Linkedin. How I said loyalty is the seed of evil and what I would see over and over again. It was a couple things in these really dysfunctional companies. So again I’m kind of like working backwards to now what I’m doing at turntide to you know, make sure Charlie Munger has a funny expression. I was likes Warren Buffett’s partner. He says all I all I want to know in life is just tell me where I’m going to die and then I’ll just never go there so it’s like work backwards from your failure modes and then don’t do them and the outcome should turn out pretty well and so I’d see these super political dysfunctional companies where things were. You know, really based on loyalty to individuals as opposed to like a shared mission you know or shared principles that sat above everybody so it’s kind of the you know rule by law as opposed to that you have an autocratic um and countries versus rule of law that you know applies to everybody in in western democracies. Um. So that that was a really interesting thing to see and nobody ever thought that they did anything wrong. So I definitely came away from that thinking intellectual honesty and people who admit when they’re wrong and make mistakes like that’s that’s a pretty key ingredient because if you’re doing anything interesting or new or innovative. You know you’re.
Ryan Morris: You’re going to be wrong like you’re going to have to make mistakes and learn and iterate and that’s that’s really key and and nobody ever was admitting. They’re ever wrong in these situations so that was really interesting too.
Alejandro Cremades: So continuing continuing there on on lesson learn on Lucas energy as well as surfcon I think that the um obviously obviously now you’re on turntide and and we’ll talk about it in just a little bit but I find that those. 2 companies that you were involved with too I mean both of them were sold the latter serfcon for 200,000,000. So I think that at this point you also gain the exposure as well to the full cycle of a company you know going through the hoops you know, racing money. Um. And then obviously going through the acquisition and reaching the finish line. What kind of businessability did that give you into the full cycle of a business.
Ryan Morris: Ah, yeah I mean there, there’s a lot I mean turnide have been building. You know, built more or less from scratch or from like a seed of intellectual property. Those other companies you know infuse system. The stock was a dollar and I think it’s about $9 or something I haven’t been involved for quite a while. But. Yeah, we we turned it around so it was a little different in those cases because we were going from something that was already working ah in some ways and really not working in others and then transforming it but it wasn’t like started from scratch versus the software company that started from scratch and obviously investing fund which is sort of a business started from scratch. Um. So I you know I think I’ve I’ve got to see you know a lot of different lifecycle stages of a company so you know from the 0 to 1 phase and then also what it’s like kind of when you’re more mature but maybe there’s some product changes that are happening in your in your market or in the technology that’s capabilities that are happening. Um. And so I guess I’ve always been interested in. You know where is there some kind of inflection point happening both maybe at the scale of organization. So you know going into companies that had is like the founder like an infu system. We’d bought a company that it was basically the founder and 50 people. So there weren’t really any processes or systems in place to make that scalable and so seeing what it’s like when a business is like that versus one that kind of already you know really has scale and process and how you can go you know build that up. Um a lot of companies fail once they kind of or they fail.
Ryan Morris: To to grow once you get to that 50 person thing because it’s beyond what 1 individual can really sort of hold in their head and manage and so yeah, we’ve I’ve ah certainly learned a lot from that of you have to really focus on what’s the problem you’re trying to solve. As you scale the business through different stages I mean turntais now over 500 people which is which is bigger. The other public companies I was involved in were only up to about 250 and so there’s really different scaling issues that start raising their head as you you know as you get to those kind of breakpoints.
Alejandro Cremades: So And let’s talk about turnt tight. You know how did the idea you know of turn tight of doing going out it with turnt tight. You know back in 2017 come about because it was not like the traditional. You know you get an idea and then you execute it was more you know doing you know some type of ah. Transaction there you know with research project of some sort and then bringing that to Market. So What was that process like and they what ended up becoming turnt tight.
Ryan Morris: So turntide has a technology It’s a super efficient electric motor switch reluctance motor that doesn’t need wear earth magnets so I was while I was working on sevcon which did powerelectrons electric vehicle drive trains. Ah you know they’ve been doing that for for many decades. It’s a very hard problem. And knew about from my educational background and ah as you’re electrifying electro vehicles is there’s this big problem of rare earth magnets so all the best all the electro vehicle motors use rare earth magnets that are basically all from China and 2011 which was not too. Far before I first got involved in the industry in 2013 China had export restrictions and the price of those minerals went up 2000% so it was really scary supply chain stuff. It’s still a problem still big problem today. They’re very destructive to mind and process and so being able to solve. This was a really interesting idea and. And switch reactants I’d been hearing about from some you know technical people in the space ten years ago as kind of this next generation design that everybody was interested in but nobody had really solved it because it requires really advanced software control to run the motor efficiently and nobody had solved that I’m a software engineer so I’m always. My sort of general philosophy on on building things is to say you know where is there some hard technology that you have these predictable exponential price performance curves especially something you know, compute or software-driven. You know those.
Ryan Morris: Kind of Moore’s law-like curves are a very predictable way to see what technology capabilities are going to be like in the future and so we started looking around at this and I had this thesis that switch reluctance kind of should be the future ah architecture that that can get a lot of um of traction. And so I started looking around. Basically the whole world of like who’s working on this and nobody had really solved the problem like they’d made it work but not efficiently which is really critical and found this group. Ah that is kind of a science group that spun out of university in Chicago in 2007 and they were still working on it trying to get this thing to work. And so by I guess 2016 or early twenty seventeen I was in the process of exiting selling ze k to Bot Warner who was big tier one automotive company that needed to get into electrification is that was obviously where things were going tesla just released the model s and scaring the heck out of the entire auto industry and so I thought okay if we can go make this better motor. You know that’s a. You know, $200,000,000,000 market of electric motors in you know vehicles plus buildings so buildings every fan pump compressor basically everything that moves in in the world is electric motor bind it and obviously electric vehicles is a growing area as well. So we thought hey if we can go solve this motor problem get rid of the right earth that. Makes it a much more stable problem. You made the motors more efficient. That’s a huge target so we kind of created turntide by ah, effectively buying the asset that these science group had been working on and turning it ultimately into a business so there’s some technology that.
Ryan Morris: And some really interesting ip to make it very efficient and the first product that worked was in ah hvac upgrade retrofit so sort of like led lighting upgrades. But for the motors and the h-vac system for commercial buildings so that was the first product that that worked at least for a prototype in 2017 but I demonstrated that ah you know the core tech could be made basically the most efficient production motor in in the world. So that was kind of the key thing and then going and building a business on top of that over the last six years has been what I’ve been focused on so I think there was 7 employees or something that were kind of working on the core tech when i. Ah, kind of got involved to build it as a business so we we had about 100,000,000 revenue last year we we basically sell systems based around the motors and power electronics. So the hard part that we do are really we say we are software wrapped in metal. So.
Alejandro Cremades: And how do you guys make money today.
Ryan Morris: Building software-driven very efficient electric motor systems for buildings and then for electric vehicles as the other half of the company. We actually hired back a lot of the key team that was with me at at sekcon doing electric vehicle power trains after they ah they left Bork cornerner we hired them out of burg orderner.
Ryan Morris: Ah, because they wanted to be back in kind of a smaller startup kind of environment where they could move faster and yeah, so what we sell hardware is like smart devices. So it’s kind of like the you know iphone of of motor. So it’s like really intelligent software software drivenven very very efficient and yeah building. Hvac and agriculture hvac big fans moving air very efficiently and then we’re working on specialty electric vehicles. So not passenger cars. That’s a very high volume market big big players in that space. But there’s a lot of specialty kind of off-hihway for larger sizes. Like construction equipment. We have one big rail customer a attachee and then some smaller things so like kind of 2 3 wheel like in southeast asia there’s you know millions of those and you know if you’ve ever visited Southeast Asia there’s a little noisy scooters and those can’t go electric soon enough for local air quality and noise pollution. But um. Yeah, those are kind of the markets. We’re focused on right now. So we’ve in total raised about four hundred and sixty million dollars over the last six years you know my my partners at at maison my people who’ve kind of backed me overtime in previous companies were.
Alejandro Cremades: And how much capital have you guys raised too late.
Ryan Morris: You know the early early risk takers there back in 172018 um you know people now I would say are funding. Climate tech is seen as a kind of a new asset class over the last couple years but five years ago it was not really something I mean Tesla really stood alone I would say as.
Ryan Morris: As a company that was funded in that space like all the other early ones you know, really in 2008 there was kind of a clean tech. One point one point zero that didn’t really get all traction so it made it very difficult at the time so I had to really bet my whole reputation that we could go you know make this make this thing work which you know were. Clearly working on. We’ve grown grown 100000000 business now and um and really amazing investors that we’ve accumulated along the way I mean I’ve I would say been very strategic about what investors we’ve brought on but you know some some pretty big names like Bill Gatesrick for energy ventures you know Jeff Jeff bezos Amazon the climate pledge fund. The and pension board. So very very proud to be working for all the canadian grandparents work working hard for them. Ah, fifth fifth all now has been a you know, very very rapidly growing venture fund strategic venture fund in the real estate space. So they’ve been. They’ve been super helpful for us as well and jll you know big property.
Alejandro Cremades: It’s amazing.
Alejandro Cremades: And and in this case, how how did how did you go about I mean all obviously all these people you know, incredible profiles that you’re sharing here. How did you go about getting them and and making sure that they were the right investors.
Ryan Morris: Ah, so because of my background you know I’ve been an investor I kind of understand pretty well the different profiles of different different firms and it was really important for me to get. Ah, very kind of mission and values aligned investors and in particular that meant really long-term focus people I mean I I think long-term like I want to go build build things that have endur anduring value and ah and certainly anything when you’re doing hard tech like we’re doing with you know, really. Deep science involved with the technology like those things are very different than like video node or a software company where you can go have a product in you know six or twelve months that works pretty well and sort of iterated from there. You know these things take many years like it took 10 years actually from the university spinout to the first sort of working functional prototype that. Actually demonstrated the efficiency benefits. So so you need people who have staying power and patience. So I was really looking for people who are very missional aligned and the thing that gets you through those longterm is that you have a shared vision of what this looks like in the long run because you’re going to have lots of problems and bumps along the way you know doing you know, just like ah my kind of growing example, you know you got to you know. Training you kind of lose lose a lot of races before you keep getting better and better and better until you you know can really win and so you know being able to share that long-term alignment break the energy ventures for example is um, most venture capital funds have like a seven year seven to 10 year max life
Ryan Morris: Breakthrough is a twenty year life. So You know they’re they’re deliberately set up to not. You know, not come in and pressure you to kind of you know, sell way too early or you know put short-term pressure when you know you really just need long-term you just need more time for things to to play out versus I’ve had lots of friends in in the Bay area who. You know they get a certain amount of time into their company and you know they’re just getting lots of misalignment pressure from you know other other investors that might have different interests from them and and I certainly saw the misalignment of interests in my activist days with public companies where you had some people that were very very short from focused involved in the companies. And so it’s just it’s really important for me to get that long-term alignment. So from the beginning I’ve been trying to build something could really have a big impact and we we found people that are very in aligned with that.
Alejandro Cremades: So let’s talk about having a big impact imagine you were to go to sleep tonight and you wake up in a world where the vision of Turntite is fully realized what does that world look like.
Ryan Morris: Ah, that’s a really good question so ah, half of the electricity in the world goes through electric motors. It’s a bit more than that that’s growing with electric vehicles. So really anything that moves. Um, so the vision of the future is that you have all the electric motors that are moving air fluid. Vehicles materials be the most efficient possible while using the least raw materials or especially scarce raw materials like special like rare earth magnets make those things as efficient as possible and then make the systems that they’re part of. As intelligent as possible so you can have like kind of the most efficient muscles and then the the brain of the system. That’s you know, thoughtful and really ultimately serving people. So that means you know breaking down less so you don’t need to take out people’s time to maintain them and you know replacing repair equipment and then making them run. You know, really. Really efficiently for whatever their goals are so it’s really making these things efficient and intelligent. This kind of the high-leve you know, categorical picture that happens over time and you need that because the world is getting the energy world is getting much more complicated so as you have. As you have more renewables for example, so solar and wind are intermittent and so you need to have we’re we’re not focused on the generation side of the problem we’re focused on the demand side. How do you optimize how humanity uses energy and again motors are like half of the electricity plus that gets used so it’s a big big categorical problem to solve.
Ryan Morris: But need to make that more intelligent so that it can be adaptable as you’re going to have increasing complexity on the demand side as a time of day pricing. For example.
Alejandro Cremades: That’s incredible now. Then? let’s take a look at the past and doing at it with a lens of reflection imagine I was to put you into a time machine and I bring you back in time you know perhaps to that time back in 2008 where you were thinking about doing something of your own. You know a business of your own if you were to go back in time and and have the opportunity of having a chat with that younger Ryan what would that be that piece of advice that you would give to your younger self before starting a business and why given what you know now.
Ryan Morris: Ah there’s a lot of things well as fifteen years of of working on companies that’ve made ah made a lot of mistakes learned a lot of lessons and but you know you try to just get a little bit smarter every every day every year. Um I guess a couple really big ones are. You know, try and it’s funny because I did this actually really well with video note but I I sort of have a technology interest background. Let’s say um so with video note a thing that I did really well was I was my own customer. Ah, and so I would say just really really holding on to that really hard of put put myself. Into the shoes and empathize with the customer the customer problem you know as absolutely deeply as as possible like just keeping myself in that I think you know certainly with I mean for example, turntide like the the seed of it was this hey there’s this better technology better physics. You know how can we go scale that and um, you know if you can marry. That with really deep customer empathy. You can build really great stuff. But I think that’s something you know I’ve I’ve learned now but I probably veered away from a little bit back in the ah the early days while I was focusing on all the other problems that I had to solve. Um, so I would say that’s one. And then um, yeah, just ah I mean so much of it is about the people right? So you know, just again is just an area that I feel like I focused on but it’s like.
Ryan Morris: Even more focusing on making sure you have the right people values aligned and also the right skills for the phase of the business that you’re in like it’s a very different thing building a company when you got 10 people versus one that you got you know one hundred or five hundred and the kind of leaders and and individuals you need around. You know, really it really does. Ah change. So you know keep keep zooming in focusing on that I think those are things that you you can’t focus on enough.
Alejandro Cremades: I love it now for the people that are listening Ryan that would love to reach out and say hi. What is the best way for them to do so.
Ryan Morris: I’m not really big on social media and Twitter or anything but you know feel free to you know, reach out I’m just Ryan that turnide dot com um Linkedin I think is probably the most active social social media. They’ve got pretty good posts and post some articles here sometimes.
Alejandro Cremades: Amazing! Amazing! Well Ryan thank you so much for being on the deal maker show today. It has been an honor to have you with us.
Ryan Morris: Yeah, thanks so much.
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