PwC hosts 2nd Annual Investor Corporate Connect and Executive Roundtable

NECEC’s Cleantech Navigate Northeast program brought together clean energy and cleantech start-ups, investors, and corporate leaders at NECEC Sponsor PwC last week for a successful edition of one of our signature events; Cleantech Navigate’s Investor Corporate Connect & Executive Roundtable.

Entrepreneurs, investors and corporates kicked off the day with a series of speed-dating style networking meetings, where Navigate companies made their best pitches to interested financiers. Matched by NECEC in advance, each company met with five to seven different investors or corporates throughout the morning.

After a networking lunch, entrepreneurs stayed for an Executive Roundtable, where they heard from other company founders on topics like establishing and managing a board—the topic of a panel discussion moderated by NECEC Board Chairman Mitch Tyson.

The panel, which included speakers Jon Guerster of Groom Energy, Susan Hunt Stevens of WeSpire, David Miller of Clean Energy Venture Group, Peter Rosenblum of Foley Hoag, Matt Silver of Cambrian Innovaation, Tibor Toth of MassCEC, and Mitch Tyson of Tyson Associates, covered topics from the size and diversity of boards, to how a company can fairly compensate those that are serving on their board and more.

“Building a board is like climbing a mountain,” said Susan Stevens. “Its less like one major assent and more like using multiple switchbacks. With each switchback, you really want a different board. In other words, the board that helps you when you're a startup, isn't the same board you need when you're scaling to commercialization”

Panelists also offered advice and insight on how to interact with your board, including preparing them for the tough discussions an early-stage company may face.

 “If you go into a board meeting without knowing what the outcome should be you're going to come out of the board meeting without knowing what the outcome is. The board is not something you want to bounce ideas off of, because it starts to look like you don’t know what you’re doing,” said Peter Rosenblum of Foley Hoag. “When the board thinks you don’t know what you’re doing, they think you should start looking for a new job.”

Following the insightful discussion, entrepreneurs broke off into small groups to discuss topics such as fundraising, how to refine your pitch, and maintaining employee engagement with their peers, leaving them with a plethora of advice and ideas to bring back to their own cleantech startup. 

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Brennan Molina

Brennan is NECEC's Membership Manager.