Large Organizations Advise How Clean Energy Startup Entrepreneurs Can Successfully Court Them At Energy Infotech Event

Davids and Goliaths Find Common Ground, No Stones Thrown

Apr 16, 2014, 10:47 ET from Energy Infotech NYC

NEW YORK, April 16, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "How can clean energy startups successfully sell to large organizations?" is a question that has vexed many entrepreneurs and frustrated many business decision makers on the buy side. Two clean energy startup veterans and two executives from large entities who would be their customers demonstrated the problem is more solvable than conventional wisdom indicates at a panel organized by Energy Infotech NYC and hosted by the Hodson Russ law firm.

An audience of 60 clean energy entrepreneurs was treated to a lively discussion between start-up founder Dr. Jun Shimada, founder of ThinkEco; self-described "venture junkie" John Morris, CMO of Ecorithm; Vicki Kuo, Section Manager, Customer Technology Solutions at ConEd and John Shea, CEO, New York City Department of Education, Division of School Facilities.

Moderator and Energy Infotech NYC Board Member and VP Sherri Sklar laid out the key challenges for "Davids" looking to sell to "Goliaths":

  1. Get to the right person, and
  2. Establish credibility immediately

Dr. Shimada shared that "Goliath", in the form of ConEd, reached out to him about SmartAC, ThinkEco's air conditioning load management product. Ms. Kuo offered a different take, saying ThinkEco had already knocked on ConEd's door, entering a different product in a pilot program. Despite being too late for that program, ThinkEco had established necessary credibility. When it came time for ConEd to tackle the window AC problem (there are 6 million in New York City, responsible for 18% of summer electricity load), Vicki remembered ThinkEco and reached out to them. SmartAC provided ConEd with a simple, elegant solution that works!

According to Ecorithm's Morris, who has sold to Fortune 500s on behalf of startups for 20 years, "if it's obvious you can solve a problem, 'Big Guys' will find a way to do business with you." Once you find a champion at a large organization, you need to support that person with everything you've got because "anyone who says 'yes' to you is betting his/her career on that decision."

Department of Education's Mr. Shea opined that a pilot program is a great way to get started within a complex organization as it demonstrates the startup has some skin in the game.

At the Q&A, the two Goliath representatives, Ms. Kuo and Mr. Shea, offered that "Emotional Intelligence" and maturity are musts for startups (Kuo: "Startups have to listen to us!"). Mr. Morris echoed this notion from the David side, saying "don't 'over think' things when you get in. Listen. Pivot. Solve needs."

If you'd like more information about this event or to schedule an interview with Barry Korn, President of Energy Infotech NYC, call Lew Blaustein at 646/675.6656 or e-mail Lew at To find out when the next Energy Infotech NYC event will take place, please visit

Contact: Lew Blaustein
Phone: 646-675-6656

SOURCE Energy Infotech NYC