Since leaving Tesla, Mateo Jaramillo has launched his own renewable energy startup, which started with a merger even before accepting their first round of funding.
On the Dealmakers Show Jaramillo shared how he spent a lot of time figuring out the things that he didn’t want to do before finding his sweet spot where energy and technology come together.
On the podcast, we talked about lessons learned from working with Elon Musk, attending both Harvard and Yale, listening to his entrepreneurial calling, fundraising and merging companies, and becoming a first-time startup founder at 40 years old.
From Working In The Lettuce Fields To Tech Entrepreneur
Mateo Jaramillo was born in the agricultural town of Salinas, California. It’s mostly known for the author John Steinbeck and lettuce farming. It’s the salad capital of America.
Early on he spent time working in the fields and gained an understanding of the country that many don’t have the chance to.
Both of his parents worked in the public sector. His father was a lawyer for farmworkers. His mother was a school teacher.
They both put a big emphasis on academics and education. Mateo says he was always ambitious. So, a great balance and obvious path were competing academically. He enjoyed it, and appreciated the friends he had around him that challenged him to excel.
When it came time for college Mateo was ready for a challenge and something new. So, he decided to head clear across the country to a completely different environment, at Harvard. It was a significant adjustment, but it proved to him that he could embrace and adapt to completely new things.
More than that, he said he found a new standard for excellence, and that “If you think you’ve reached the limit, you’re probably wrong.”
Jaramillo exited Harvard with an economics degree, right on the cusp of the 1999 tech boom. Boston was bustling with activity at this time, and he landed a product manager position at a software company right out of the gate.
Even new to the streets and still just 22, Mateo had a sense that there was some froth in the market. He saw the due diligence going on and $100M fundraises.
It didn’t take long for him to realize that he much preferred hardware instead of software.
Becoming The Ranking Theologian at Tesla
Looking for more meaning after dipping his toes into software Mateo decided to spend some time investigating his faith. So, he ended up going to Yale Divinity School.
He enjoyed digging in intellectually, academically, and spiritually. Yet, again found he didn’t have the passion and level of obsession about becoming a minister to make it his life’s work.
However, he still leveraged the vocational discernment skills he found there to dig deeper into what he really was meant to do.
This involves becoming more self-aware. Analyzing what really interests you. What has pulled you, and you’ve chosen to spend your free time on?
In fact, when prompted for his top piece of advice for other entrepreneurs, Mateo says to “be patient and invest in being an expert in the sector and at your job.” Not to listen to the doubts, and instead, trust in the hard work and time you’ve spent preparing. Even if that preparation and expertise haven’t always been developed intentionally.
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