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What are you most excited for in the next three months?
We’re closing our pre-seed financing round, which has been a whole new experience as this is the first investment capital I have ever raised. It was a steep learning curve and has taken much of my time over the last few months. This investment will allow us to move forward with our goals and create several solar-electric autonomous boats equipped with sensors that we will use to complete pilot studies. I’m excited to demonstrate our ability to collect ocean data and to be able to focus on other strategic elements of our business. Over the next three months, my goal is to spend more time talking to potential customers to really understand their needs and priorities, and ensure that we can meet those needs.
What have you learned so far when interacting with investors?
I’ve learned that investors bring much more to the table than money. Although we need money to advance our technology, we need their network, experience and insights even more. I’ve spoken to a lot of potential investors and often you know pretty quickly whether there’s mutual attraction, but there are always other factors such as stage of growth, size of raise, and sector that inform their ultimate decision. Still, I’ve found that even when it isn’t the right fit, these investors will help in other ways, usually through their extensive connections.
What is one thing the general public could do to help you?
I’ve learned that you never know where crucial information or a key opportunity will come from, and that by being open to lots of conservations and sharing our story, we increase the odds of these happenstances. This has led me to become more active on social media, and I have started Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.
Do you feel like a CEO?
In Ben Horowitz’s book, The Hard Things about Hard Things, it states that if CEOs were graded on a curve, the mean on the test would be a 22 out of 100. He explained it by saying there is no school to learn to become a CEO; you learn by doing it and you make lots of mistakes along the way. By that standard, I do feel like a CEO, because I make lots of mistakes and am learning all the time. But by surrounding myself with people who are smarter, more experienced and willing to help, I can navigate a path forward that works for our company. I have learned to ask lots of questions and listen carefully, insights come from all kinds of places and it’s important to value and respect everyone who is willing to share their time with me. Having a network of fellow CEOs in the Women in Cleantech Challenge is also a huge benefit, as we can learn from each other and support one another.