Cambridge Judge MBAs Create New Energy Startups
The energy landscape is changing. Fossil fuels are on their way out as half of the global R&D in the energy field has become devoted to developing low carbon alternatives such as solar and wind. The good news is that besides helping the environment, this changing landscape also opens up many unique business opportunities. That’s why schools such as the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School are helping students explore possible solutions with new energy startups.
Unfortunately, according to Professor Michael Pollitt, lecturer and coach of the Cambridge MBA’s Energy and Environment Concentration, the energy industry is constantly changing and hard to predict.
“What we try to do on the MBA Concentration is to stay closely connected to experts in the industry who are very well-informed about what is happening,” Pollitt explained. “We also approach the sector from economic principles—how markets work and how economics is driving future trends—rather than trying to predict what those trends will be.”
This method is what helped one Cambridge MBA alumnus and his colleagues get involved in the space with their new startup, Cambridge Energy Partners. The company offers the world’s first fully movable solar products that track the sun. It’s a flexible and re-deployable system that is made in a factory and shipped to the site where it’s easily installed and cost effective. The products modularity makes it highly effective for smaller entities such as hospitals and schools as well as large-scale industries. Currently, it’s still in the prototype stage, but it will be moving to the proof of concept stage sometime in May.
For Tom Miller (MBA 2013), CEO of Cambridge Energy Partners, he’s looking forward to disrupting the energy market. “The global market, long dominated by energy giants, is moving towards decentralization, with cost effective, flexible products such as ours targeting under-served markets in developing countries, and innovating new technology to serve those markets,” he said. “But our long-term goal is to enter big markets and disrupt them. We are already talking to the more innovative corporates who are more ready to make the leap to trying new products like ours.”
And Cambridge Energy Partners isn’t the only MBA-run company excited to get into the energy sector. Cambridge MBA alum Gunnar Herzig (MBA 2015) has also found an interesting opportunity in the space. He’s currently setting up CLIFI—a climate finance advisory start-up offering a niche service to investors looking to invest in offshore wind. CLIFI will launch later this year.
“This is a boutique advisory firm focused on advice in investing in global offshore wind projects,” said Herzig. “CLIFI will advise on topics such as risks, returns, the regulatory regimes operated by different countries, and inform clients about the investment opportunities opening up through many different offshore wind projects starting up around the world.”
For MBAs at Cambridge interested in exploring the energy sector for future business opportunities, the Energy and Environment Concentration offers a broad range of opportunities. And with climate change and low carbon energy here to stay, it’s a great industry to get involved with.