Neil Patel

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Nick Boyle has created one of the biggest solar energy companies in the world. Helping us make the shift from old sources of energy to more sustainable ones. 

On the Dealmakers Show Boyle talked about investing in renewable energy, picking who you partner with, growing your business internationally, and more.

Listen to the full podcast episode and review the transcript here.

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    Nick Boyle was born in Northern Ireland. Growing up during The Troubles, Nick was surrounded by a lot of security measures — a scary and intense environment but it was all he knew. 

    One thing he says he especially appreciates about his country is the strong education system. After university he went to work in financial services with his father. Initially he just wanted a way to fund his travels around the world. Though he ended up really taking to the work, and continues to do a lot of travel. Which has recently included Nepal, Australia, Singapore, and Sao Paulo. 

    He loves experiencing new cultures, and seeing how different places are able to turn their challenges into advantages. Today, his company employs people from 53 different nationalities. 

    He moved away from working with his father to a new fast-growing company. He was a part of a team of 14 on a Friday. Then next Monday he was managing that team. Through six more promotions over the next six years he ended up managing around 1,200 people, out of 5,000 in the company. 

    He says he did that not by trying to just move up the ladder, but instead, by focusing on being the best in every role he was given.

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    Understanding The Entrepreneurship Game

    In fact, one of Nick’s top pieces of advice for those considering starting their own businesses, and becoming founding CEOs today is to take the time to be prepared. Not to be intoxicated with the idea of being a CEO and over confident. He says he personally waited until he was 42 years old, until he had not necessarily worked every single role himself, but understood how all of the jobs fit together in a business. 

    Of course, how much your background, experience, and track record are valued can vary depending on what you are leaping into. There are certainly new categories and markets being created. 

    As a CEO he says it is also really just your job to choreograph a team of people who are smarter and better than you. Do not be afraid to hire the best people you can find. It’s a competition out there, and the company with the best team will win. 

    His next adventure was taking three people with him and starting another small company in the financial services space. Then rapidly grew that to a team of 900 before it was acquired by a large French insurance company. 

    He says that there are always challenges in growing your business to the next level. As well as managing large teams. He says that once you hit that 800 to 1,200 employee mark, it can make a lot of sense to roll that into the framework of a larger and more mature organization. One that has all the support and systems in place. As well as distribution. 

    Predictable Versus High-Profit Potential Investments

    After the exit from his former company Nick says that he had a little extra money, and became very interested in the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. 

    Driving through Italy in a little Fiat 500 on his way to see a wind farm, they passed a solar park. The seller of the wind park tried to turn him off by telling him that while more predictable, solar provided a lower return.

    After 20 years of experience in the financial services space he says that a ‘definite’ 5% return has a whole lot more demand from investors than a ‘maybe’ 10% return. 

    On returning home, he spent time in his office fine tuning this new idea. That was opening up investing in renewables to small retail investors, with the ability to provide a solid return. One which was often backed by the government in some way, or had tax advantages. 

    His company has gone on to raise a large amount of funding in both equity and credit facilities. They have close to 1,1000 employees, across 19 countries. 

    Storytelling is everything which is something that Nick Boyle was able to master. Being able to capture the essence of what you are doing in 15 to 20 slides is the key. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here), where the most critical slides are highlighted.

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

    Picking Your Partners & Investors

    Nick says that they set out to prove this had the potential to be a big company, by first tackling what they saw as the key markets of the UK, India, and USA. 

    Projects of this size certainly require a lot of capital, and relationships with partner companies. He says that they ended up having 14 bidding on participating with them. They chose oil and gas giant, bp. 

    A move that has certainly rocketed their business, which is now known as Lightsource bp. 

    It’s a position that is no doubt essential to big oil companies like bp, which have been providing energy for decades, and need to remain ahead in innovation as we shift away from fossil fuels. Adding bp to their name, also gave Lightsource a huge boost in credibility. Paving the way to make many more sizable deals. 

    Listen in to the full podcast episode to find out more, including:

    • The shift to more sustainable energy
    • The predictability of solar power
    • What’s needed to enable a world that can rely on more renewables

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    Neil Patel

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