Thomas Puskas is now on his third startup. A clean energy company that is using tokenization to ensure we have plenty of fresh air to breathe. His venture, Ecowatt Energy, has acquired funding from the top-tier investor, The Global Emerging Markets Group.
In this episode, you will learn:
- Thomas Puskas top piece of advice for launching a business
- How to get in touch with Ecowatt Energy
- How tokenization and using ICOs to fund your business works
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The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks
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Remember to unlock for free the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
About Thomas Puskas:
Thomas Puskas is a serial entrepreneur with 25 years of experience delivering infrastructure projects valued at 1.2B. He uses this experience to manage the business administration of Ecowatt and oversee asset procurement and development.
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Connect with Thomas Puskas:
Read the Full Transcription of the Interview:
Alejandro Cremades: All righty so hello everyone and welcome to the dealmakerr show. So today we have a serial founder. You know we’re going to be talking a lot about building scaling financing I mean in this case, you know a very interesting initial coin offering tool that he did so.
Thomas Puskas: Are.
Thomas Puskas: Or it will.
Alejandro Cremades: I think without farther ado let’s welcome our guests today Thomas Pushka welcome to the show. So originally you were born in the aus ausrian you know hungryary you know type of environment so give us how a little of I walk through memory lane. How is life growing up.
Thomas Puskas: Yeah, highlights happening come.
Thomas Puskas: Yeah, so I was born in Vienna but because my parents are Hungarian I grew up actually partially North Korea partially in Hungary but went to school and to university in in Vienna. But after university I went back to to to Hungary beginning late 80 s beginning 90 s it was just the time when all the big changes started so I got very soon involved in and the first provatizations was working with the hungarian. Privatization agency and 1 of the first real estate privattiizations and venilator the privattisization of the hungarian agriculture and food sector. What.
Alejandro Cremades: And what was what why were these privatizations happening I mean what was what was moving that just so that the listeners are able to really you know, get what was going on.
Thomas Puskas: Yeah, so until the end of the 80 s beginning 90 s in eastern europe everything was state owned and with the so-called perstoric urban beginning 90 s when all the eastern european countries started to. To to sell state owned companies state owned. Everything was basically everything was actually owned by the state. So we just started to step by step to to sell everything to foreign investors.
Alejandro Cremades: Now in your case I mean this led you to founding your first company and that was you know in this case premium food. So what were you guys doing there. So.
Thomas Puskas: Yeah, so while I was working in in these privatizations we were privatizing mostly food factories all the large international camp companies for example, hi so everybody was coming in everybody picked of course the the best of the Best. Ah. Ah, to say plants and food processing facilities. But a lot was more or less left which was not of interest for the large companies. So I decided to step by step to pick up these smaller units and unite them to. To to a larger protection company and out of this preming food started. But.
Alejandro Cremades: Now for premium. So food I mean you that was your first you know exposure to building a business I mean in this case, what was the journey like you know with premium food and what was the outcome and more importantly, what was the lesson that you learned from building this company. Okay.
Thomas Puskas: Yeah, premium food at the time in the 90 s it was quite exciting because it allowed me to see in detail and also learn how how food protection is working and how they hold. Ecosystem around food production is working. It’s not enough just to have to have the food products but you need energy most importantly and you have to deal with waste which is quite a large portion of food production and basically out of this I started looking more and more. What can you? What can you do with waste and vetla me to build 1 of the first biocase plants in in Hungary and from from resident step by step I moved more and more into renewable energy.
Alejandro Cremades: So in this case with Premium you know food? What what you were able to do too is you were able to do on exit you were able to sell the business. So what kind of visibility did it give you to be able to do the full cycle from beginning all the way to finish line.
Thomas Puskas: Um, that the full full cycle of Web story.
Alejandro Cremades: So the cycle of really being able to see the whole business. You know, ah coming around together from the moment that you started the company to the moment that where you actually sold the company I mean that perhaps give you the thirty Thousand foot below on how it’s done and the life cycles that a company goes through.
Thomas Puskas: The appropriate means Of. He wasn’t a.
Thomas Puskas: Um, ah yes, of course now basically it it let me on all the the different bits and parts of of how to run a business how to develop business how to fund business.
Alejandro Cremades: Ah, one. Yes, so what level of visibility did that give you.
Thomas Puskas: How to look for for partners How to do set up distribution. So Food production is such a complex basically business which involves almost everything. If you if you’re looking for a new production site you you have to look for the right real Estate. You have to have derived right? infrastructure you have to all the utilities available. So It allows you to to get as as far as I say that. The best overview of almost everything what is required to run and to develop a business.
Alejandro Cremades: Now for you I mean the career shift or like the you know tackling a different segment is something really interesting. You know because ah you know they talk about this especially with for example, what what Elam Musk has done. You know with a knowledge transfer which is where.
Thomas Puskas: But was approve what and.
Alejandro Cremades: You’re able to come from a different segment into a new segment and really be able to apply the the learnings that to certain degree gives you an advantage. So how did that you know segment shift come about for you and how do you think that bringing knowledge from a different segment has helped you and has given you an edge to to execute.
Thomas Puskas: Um, this. Ah.
Thomas Puskas: No First of all with food production I Think that’s one of the few businesses where you have the more also most of the problems connected with it and when when you when you just. Working with business when you learn how to how to source problems and vets is later on or actually it was later on a tremendous help to to develop then also other businesses.
Alejandro Cremades: Yeah, because the next business was a miss miss prompt orc and this this actually you did in Ukraine and this was more in so developing a solar power plant. So I guess in that case, you know.
Thomas Puskas: Is yeah oh.
Alejandro Cremades: What what was the what was the experience or what was the lesson that you took out you know from those 7 years of operations right.
Thomas Puskas: Um, know as ah as I mentioned that for the full food production. 1 of the day. The major how to say supplies is Energy. So how to get energy how to how to to deal with utility companies that was and this very important when you when especially when you develop solar power plants because yeah, you can. We can build almost wherever you want a solar power plant that if you don’t know. How to deal with utility companies. How to to get connected when your solar power plant will not produce much revenues for you.
Alejandro Cremades: And and for you right? after this one you know, which which you sold I mean you you went into Microdynam Technologies which was a nice segue to what you’re doing now with echoat because especially you use a bunch of the technology and ip that you were using you know with microtechno for echoot. But how was that. Venturing into you know a completely you know new segment which was renewable energy. What really got you into it. What were some of those reasons.
Thomas Puskas: Know that one of the reasons why I got into our renewable energy was with especially with our food factories. We saw the tremendous amount of of waste which basically got wasted and. From economical point of view. It was basically not if we had to find something how ah to how to how to use this in a better way and when just throwing it away. So so that’s how we started first with biocas.
Thomas Puskas: And a lot of other factories when at the time came to us asking how we can help venovve with energy questions. Also we’ve wasted and this led steps step by step with was more more looking how to solve the the the energy problem for. Not only for the for the factories but in in general of renewable energy to how to develop and how to use more and more renewable energy and beginning two thousand the subsidy systems. The defeating terror started in Europe so it became easier to to finance already.
Alejandro Cremades: Okay, now now for you guys you know Microdynam Technologies you know came to an end after 7 years and what you did is you use part of that ip and and technologies to really get going with ecowa. So what was that transition like.
Thomas Puskas: Solar power stations are partner and.
Thomas Puskas: Yeah, but with Microynamic Technologies we were looking mainly for to to use ah patterns and technologies which which have been developed in the eighty s ninety s in Eastern Europe by different. Technologically institute universities but which were basically stopped in the 90 s because lack of government funding and this set us to to develop new processing technologies for example for for Biodiesel and different hour of. A renewable power ah production of doing gaification for example and on the other hand we was looking in in new technologies on like Blockchain and we were experimenting and had server pilot projects. How blockchain can be used. In in special space especially in and late electricity rating and out of this when in 2018 2019 are covered developed. Yeah.
Alejandro Cremades: Now with ecowat you know it’s obviously a little bit different than the traditional stuff that you would typically see because of the new technologies that you guys are using like Blockchain and tokenization. So. What is ultimately the business model of ecowa for the people that are listening to really understand what you guys are doing.
Thomas Puskas: Echoat is on the 1 hand traditional renewable energy company which uses when new technologies like Blockchain and tokenization to to get the the let’s say so the worldwide community to get them involved in the development. Of more renewable power projects but not only renewable power projects but also climate impact projects like reforestation. So e what the the main goal of eot is just ah to do everything what is possible. In in order to increase the usage of renewable energy but also on the other hand to do as much as possible climate impact projects which will help to decarbonize and to get to net 0 by 2030 or even with 2015.
Alejandro Cremades: Um, so how do you guys? monetize? How do you guys make money.
Thomas Puskas: Um, yeah, we have a ah fixed amount of of tokens which have been issued the the echobat token and on the other hand we are building more and more.
Thomas Puskas: Solar power wind power and our renewable power projects. So for example, ah the the ecova token itself is backed by one watt of renewable energy capacity. The more power plants we are building the ratio will increase so it will be.
Thomas Puskas: In 2 3 years it will be not 1 what 1 token one what it will be 1 token free what or 4 what 5 wordss or even more and we that automatically the the value the of the token will increase. In addition, we use all the fundinging from the token sales. And now we are also process of fishing green bonds we are using all this also for reforestation and other climate impact projects which generate carbon credits and these tips. Yeah.
Alejandro Cremades: And and and ah I’m sure that there’s a lot of people that are listening to here Thomas that are wondering how do you tokenize an asset. You know how do you tokenize something that is tangible because I mean obviously you know by.
Thomas Puskas: Um.
Thomas Puskas: Me of the.
Alejandro Cremades: You have been in this for a while you know I’m I’m very familiar with blockchain too. But but how and also tokeins. But how do you go about tokenizing something I mean I mean in this case, you guys are talkingizing you know all these different assets. So so how do you go about that.
Thomas Puskas: I Hope of irish.
Thomas Puskas: Um, yeah, basically you you set up destruction of of let’s let’s say for web overpower plant so they are the basic structure of e co is that we we have a fixed supply of tokens which are 1000000000 tokens and we have the basic.
Thomas Puskas: Pipeline of renewerable power projects which is one kigabat one kigabat is 1 p n watts so wherefore one token is equal to one wat i.
Alejandro Cremades: Okay, got it and in this case, you know like how how have you guys gone about capitalizing the business. How much capital have you guys raised too late.
Thomas Puskas: Yeah, we we started in 23020. We started with the first private sales. We had 2 rounds which were quite successful. In 2021 we started to to list on on exchanges at the moment we are on free exchanges and so far we have raised around a little bit about about more more than four million Euros and in addition, we signed a few months ago toen sea like agreement with the us crypto investment fund for $10,000,000.
Alejandro Cremades: Got it? Yeah, so that was the ah the initial coin offering that you guys recently did so for the people that are listening to to really get it. What is the difference of the traditional equity race that you would see like the 4000000 that you were alluding to versus an initial coin offering also known as ico. Ah, where for example, you guys brought these say 100000000 plus in.
Thomas Puskas: No, the the I see is actually the the first phase when we not the first time start selling tokens on an exchange.
Alejandro Cremades: Yeah, but you mentioned that there with a with a global emerging markets group. You know there you guys brought one ah 10000000 so I guess the question here is how do you go? Well, what’s the difference between the traditional route.
Thomas Puskas: The are are basic. Um, now once you have let’s say a successful iso when when of course you can start approaching. Let’s say so traditional investment companies.
Alejandro Cremades: You know versus let’s say like an ico.
Thomas Puskas: Who are looking to invest in into crypto assets and when when you can start or selling crypos directly to to crypto investment companies who are then holding it usually for a few years and wait until the the value of the token increases and when they sell it over the exchanges. Yeah.
Alejandro Cremades: So what? what is that process looking like I mean first you go to the exchange and then you know the the action happens or can you walk the listeners through how that process actually works. Okay.
Thomas Puskas: No for for the beginning you have to start for just to see how how much your business is accepted by let’s say so the community you have to do do at least some some private things where you test the market where you’ll test your your project. The the destruction of your business and if you have at least one two successful private sales when you can approach exchanges with with a listing and ask when if ah we are ready to to list your token on exchange. Ah.
Alejandro Cremades: And typically for the for the traditional types of races. You know you would need you know with investors you know the pitch stick and the financial model and perhaps other collateral. But but in this in this case I mean what is the.
Thomas Puskas: Um, yeah, definite ideas.
Alejandro Cremades: Type of information that typically people you know request or that or that you need to have in place so that you can be successful at it.
Thomas Puskas: No, of course you you still need. Let’s say so all the traditional paperwork you need to have a a good presentation pitch deck in in addition of all the crypto projects. Should have a a good white paper which explains and in detail the the tonomics and the structure of your of your crypto project and with this documents you will start when the private sector.
Alejandro Cremades: And typically on the let’s say you know if if you go on one of those exchanges How does the marketing or the awareness work I mean is that something that the exchange would take on or is that like a team collaboration where you guys are also involved. So.
Thomas Puskas: This. Ah.
Thomas Puskas: Um, let’s say so still you you still would have to make around 90% of your own marketing. The exchanges are offering some support mainly to the already registered users of the exchanges. Ah, but this of this is still just a small part of Marketing. You shouldn’t rely only on the marketing of the exchanges. So So you still have to do your homework. You still have to do your own marketing. Best of course getting. Not only in social media but in getting mentioned in in newspapers or Journals depending what your business is so that people can see that it’s It’s a real business. But.
Alejandro Cremades: And what out of your experience with you know, obviously this is this is completely different to the you know the what the stuff that you were doing before. Obviously this is also completely different to this stuff that typically our listeners you know, listen to which is like the traditional Vc type of route of.
Thomas Puskas: All are whatever.
Alejandro Cremades: Seat round series a series b so let’s say you know in in in in doing an ico I mean what are like the 3 main things that you’ve learned that you really need to be truly successful at it.
Thomas Puskas: Yeah, the most important is actually the details you have to look at the the details and get everything you you have to be able to explain everything. Until the last small or small details.
Alejandro Cremades: Got it and then what what? what would be the other two things that you’ve learned you know that there someone needs to be successful in an I seo.
Thomas Puskas: Um, yeah, the other thing is and marketing so you have to to I have to say.
Thomas Puskas: The 1 ne-end social Mark socalled social marketing which is now nowadays most important all to some extentors or or advertising so just word of mouth. That’s that’s that’s important toa.
Alejandro Cremades: Got it and then lastly anything like the bonus what will be the third thing and lesson learnedarned that you can share with the listeners.
Thomas Puskas: Are.
Thomas Puskas: Um, ah.
Thomas Puskas: Like lessons learn This is actually what I say and anyway all the time is um to try always to do more. Don’t don’t think that of with.
Thomas Puskas: But what has been done is enough. You should always try to to do more because it’s always better to be prepared and to to do hundred ten percent when just 90% or hundred percent
Alejandro Cremades: Now in terms of the you know what’s what’s coming and and how things are unfolding. How do you see those technologies you know, unfolding and and evolving over time.
Thomas Puskas: A power post.
Thomas Puskas: Yeah, definitely blockchain toization in crypto which the which’s the Future. Of course we are at the moment just at the beginning So like any new technology has its problems at the beginning which um. Structural Problems legal problems but but step by step crypto Blockchain tokenization will be the the new way of doing business. A.
Alejandro Cremades: And how like for the people that are listening to get an understanding of the scope and size of echo what today I mean anything that you can share in terms of maybe like number of employees or anything else that you feel comfortable sharing.
Thomas Puskas: Well.
Thomas Puskas: Yeah, we have our headqua time in in Dublin but we have today already offices starting from from Hungary Romania turkey in in the in in duba in the Us. Have roughly around forty forty colleagues working now at ecowa but now hiring we most on on a weekly basis so were developing and growing quite fast. We.
Alejandro Cremades: And now in terms of let’s say you were to go to sleep tonight and you wake up in a world. Let’s say you were to go to sleep tonight and you wake up in a world where the vision of ecowa is fully realized what does that world look like.
Thomas Puskas: Um, sorry but.
Thomas Puskas: Um, oh it will be a very clean world if clean air fresh air. Ah um e.
Alejandro Cremades: So I guess how do you think that the that you know the times that we’re living in you know where there is like more consciousness around what’s going on with global warming and you know with Fossil fuels and and and things like that you know I’d say.
Thomas Puskas: Um, the.
Alejandro Cremades: As they say you know to build something truly meaningful. You need to be at the right time in history and that blow is and that wind is blowing you know on your back. How do you think that timing wise you know things have helped you to really execute on this. Okay.
Thomas Puskas: Um, yeah, actually today’s really the the best time of getting started in renewable energy. But of course it it helps me and it helps echovat a lot that we not only today started that we are doing this. Already almost food for the last twenty years and but because of it not only myself but all our colleagues have have tremendous background and experience and this helps us to to grow faster and faster and develop faster.
Alejandro Cremades: You were talking about all these different offices and colleagues that you have and and obviously you know like this is so advanced what you guys are doing that you need to have like unbelievable talent. So as you’re thinking about building the team and really building the culture around that you know like how. How do you think about that you know because I’m sure that that that keeps you up at night on how you build a team and and what kind of culture you want to have right.
Thomas Puskas: And. Now The the the let’s say so the Echobot ideology is that we want to to have a clean world. We We want to have more and more renewable Energy. We need to do something against climate change and thats. So some extent automatically pulls people who have the same lands the same ideas and the same same wishes for the future.
Alejandro Cremades: Now if I was to put you into a time machine and I bring you back in time you know maybe to that time where you know we can. We could just say that you were still in university in Vienna right? you were doing economics and business and you were able to sit down. You know that younger self that younger Thomas.
Thomas Puskas: Where.
Thomas Puskas: Plus.
Alejandro Cremades: And you were able to give that younger Thomas one piece of advice before launching a business. What would that be and why given what you know now.
Thomas Puskas: Um, yeah, ah I would say if you have ah a dream if you have a plan for the future then never give never give up keep walking.
Alejandro Cremades: I Love it so too much for the people that are listening. What is the best way for them to reach out and say hi.
Thomas Puskas: Yeah, we are We have several channels um in social media they can get in touch over with our social medias or all through our website.
Alejandro Cremades: Amazing I will definitely have those in the show notes where Thomas thank you so much for being on the dealmakerr show today. It has been an on earth to have you with us.
Thomas Puskas: Um, thank you, Thank you very much.
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