What’s it all about?

Sven has a great story to tell, from a 5 person academic start up, to IPO and international expansion in just 10 years. Sven shares the highs and lows of the journey, what it takes to build a battery Gigafactory in Europe, and some possibly controversial thoughts on electric flight.  A slightly longer than usual episode, but there was so much to cover. Tuck in.

About our guest

Sven has a great story to tell, from a 5 person academic start up, to IPO and international expansion in just 10 years. Sven shares the highs and lows of the journey, what it takes to build a battery Gigafactory in Europe, and some possibly controversial thoughts on electric flight. A slightly longer than usual episode, but there was so much to cover. Tuck in.

Sven Schulz has been the CEO of AKASOL AG since May 2018. He co-founded and was the sole investor of AKASOL GmbH in 2008 and served as Managing Director since that time, playing a key role in the development of the company.

An industrial engineer by trade, Sven has been active in the automotive industry since 2001 and is an excellent generalist in terms of technology. He completed his management training at the University of St. Gallen, where he holds an MBA.

AKASOL is a leading German manufacturer of high-performance lithium-ion battery systems for buses, commercial vehicles, rail vehicles, industrial vehicles, ships and boats. With almost 30 years of experience AKASOL is a pioneer in the development and manufacture of lithium-ion battery systems for commercial applications. AKASOL AG’s shares are traded on the Prime Standard segment of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since June 29, 2018.

Based in Germany, AKASOL operates a production facility in Langen (Hesse) with an annual production capacity of up to 300 MWh, which will be expanded to 800 MWh by 2020. According to AKASOL, this is Europe’s largest lithium-ion battery system production plant for commercial vehicles, which can currently produce battery systems per year for up to 1,500 fully electric buses or for up to 3,000 medium-sized commercial vehicles, depending on battery size. AKASOL systems are manufactured according to the requirements of the industry standards of leading OEM customers. Current customers include Daimler, a Scandinavian bus and truck manufacturer, Alstom, Bombardier, Rolls-Royce Power Systems (MTU Friedrichshafen) and several more. AKASOL has a technology-independent product portfolio. This allows the company to use the best battery cells and battery chemistry according to the clients’ individual needs.

Sven Schulz on Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/in/sven-schulz-72a121137/

Sven Schulz on Twitter  https://twitter.com/svenschulz

Akasol GmbH on Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/company/akasol-ag/

Akasol GmbH website https://www.akasol.com/en/

Akasol GmbH on Twitter  https://twitter.com/AKASOL_PR

News stories discussed this week

Akasol opening manufacturing facility in Detroit. https://www.akasol.com/en/news-akasol-location-usa

AKASOL CELEBRATES GROUND-BREAKING CEREMONY FOR NEW HEADQUARTERS IN DARMSTADT https://www.akasol.com/en/news-akasol-headquarters-ceremony

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I’m sure you get frustrated with all the EV and battery haters telling you how dirty and wasteful they are, and how they can’t be, or aren’t recycled. I do. So I approached an industry expert to shed some light on the life and uses of a lithium-ion battery. The answers even surprised me a little. Take a listen.

About our guest

Hans Eric Melin is the founder of the London-based Circular Energy Storage (CES) which is a consultancy focused on lifecycle management of lithium-ion batteries. He is also the main contributor to the company’s report “The lithium-ion battery end-of-life market” covering volumes, prices, market and technical development in the recycling and reuse industry.

Prior to starting Circular Energy Storage Hans Eric served as Vice President New Markets at Battery Solutions in Michigan, USA where he primarily worked with collection solutions and reuse of lithium-ion batteries. Before that he was the CEO of Refind Technologies in Gothenburg in Sweden which is a leading company in intelligent sorting of batteries and electronics. Besides batteries and recycling Hans Eric has long experience from working with eco design and renewable energy. He holds a BSc in Communication Studies and Business administration from Gothenburg University.

Circular Energy Storage Research and Consulting is a London-based consultancy specialized in life cycle management of lithium-ion batteries. We help battery companies, car and device makers, utilities and recyclers to develop end-of-life strategies for lithium-ion batteries, and advise investors and the raw material industry on how the the end-of-life sector affects the overall energy storage market. We do it through reports and monthly updates as well as through bespoke consulting projects.  As a foundation of the work lies a continuous data collection of what’s happening on the energy storage and raw material markets as well as trends in mobility and consumer electronics

News stories discussed this week

This is the state-of-the-art in lithium-ion battery reuse and recycling research https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/state-of-the-art-lithium-ion-battery-reuse-recycling-research-melin/

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I’ve met Christian Chudoba at the last couple of Ecosummit events in Berlin, and his business is a perfect reflection of how energy is being digitalised and democratised, and how useful and influential learning from the telecoms and mobile communications transition can play a huge part in the energy and mobility transitions. Christian tells the story of his leap of faith from life at a large Telco giant, to the world of a cleantech start-up.

About our guest

Dr. Christian Chudoba has more than 15 years of leadership experience in strategic business development, business development and marketing. He developed a new business idea based on flexible software and drove it to a new business area as a startup in a corporation. In this position, he also made a strategic investment in a partner company that manufactured a key technology. He worked with Bernhard Böhmer to grow the start-up. Based on this experience and his interest in sustainability, he has been driving the development of Lumenaza since the beginning of 2013.

Christian Chudoba studied physics at Freie Universität Berlin and received his doctorate from Humboldt Universität Berlin. He then worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) at the Institute of Electrical Engineering.

Lumenaza started in 2013 to connect and intelligently control producers and consumers of renewable energy. Today the modular software platform works literally as a “utility-in-a-box”, shortening the time-to-market for any company to participate in the energy market by enabling innovative business models for the new, decentralized and digitized energy world. The “utility-in-a-box” software answers the increasing demand for transparency and personalization by energy customers, as well as the trend towards building communities and delivering tailor-made solutions to its participants. Lumenaza’s scalable and flexible software connects renewable energy producers, from small rooftop PV systems up to large wind farms, with energy consumers and enables precise billing.

Christian Chudoba on Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/in/christianchudoba/

Lumenaza on Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/company/lumenaza-gmbh/

Lumanaza website https://www.lumenaza.de/en/

Christian Chudoba at EcoSummit 2019https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBANbHk2gVc

Lumenaza on Twitter  https://twitter.com/lumenaza

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What’s it all about?

This week I catch up with Alisa Murphy of Life Size, and extract a confession from her early pre-Cleantech career. We discuss her start-up journey and challenges, including the opening overseas business units. We also chat about her tips and advice for any cleantech company on how to manage your communications, and to stand out from the crowd.

About our guest

Alisa Murphy is CEO and Founder of Life Size, one of the only communications agencies in Europe that works exclusively in cleantech. For nearly 10 years, Life Size has used communications to help build market-leading cleantech companies. The company is focused on growth-stage companies and builds campaigns around significant commercial goals including raising finance, planning for exit, driving sales and international expansion. Life Size has offices in London and Berlin and works with clients across the continent. The company also works closely with several venture capital funds.

Alisa has built an international team from very different paths, though all share a desire to do stimulating work that matters. The agile working culture and common ambitions at Life Size make for an agency which not only fights for global sustainability, but lives for it too. Alisa is certain that the role of communications is crucial for business success and shares this belief through workshops, keynote speeches, videos and webinars.

Before Life Size, Alisa was the CEO of a clean energy start-up in the carbon capture industry, where she led a major media campaign and engaged with industry and government to promote awareness of new decarbonising technology. Prior to that, Alisa’s eclectic background included co-founding Life Slice Films, an independent film company producing documentary films to raise awareness of social issues.

Alisa doesn’t often admit this, but she originally trained as an actor, studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and subsequently working in film, television and theatre for several years. The connecting threads throughout her career are her belief in the power of good storytelling and desire to positively impact audiences. Her background is unusual inthis industry and her punchy attitude a breath of fresh air against an often-traditional demographic.

When she’s not thinking about ways for cleantech to proliferate the mainstream, Alisa is a wife and mother, plus is currently learning German.

Alisa Murphy on Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/in/alisamurphy/

Life Size on Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/company/life-size-media/

Life Size website https://lifesizemedia.com/

Alisa Murphy at EcoSummit 2018 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjXt0jiSxi8&feature=youtu.be

Life Size on Twitter  https://twitter.com/LifeSizeMedia

News stories discussed this week

Simon Sinek TedTalk Why https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4ZoJKF_VuA

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I’m very keen to hear feedback on the podcast and my guests, and to hear your suggestions for future guests or topics. Contact via the website, or Twitter. If you do enjoy the podcast, please write a review on iTunes, or your usual podcast platform, and tell your cleantech friends about us. That would be much appreciated.

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What’s it all about?

This week I travel to one of my favourite cities, Berlin, in a balmy 36C degree heat, to meet sonnen CEO Christoph Ostermann. The sonnen story is a highlight of the cleantech sector, from bootstrapping, through many rounds of fundraising, to a significant sized acquisition from Shell. I’m delighted to have worked with sonnen as a client, since their first expansion out of Germany, and to meet Christoph again to share this super success story.

About our guest

Christoph Ostermann is Co-Founder and CEO of sonnen, the global market leader for residential energy storage systems. In 2008, when even in Germany the market for storage systems was still non-existent, he and his co-founder Torsten Stiefenhofer decided to join forces and to use their complementary skills to turn their vision into reality. Since the launch of the first prototype in 2010, Christoph is now on the mission to create a global one stop shop for decentralized energy and to disrupt the energy market. Christoph is a serial entrepreneur and started his first venture at the age of 18. Before launching sonnen, he had already built and developed four companies. In addition, Christoph spent five years in consulting, focussing on marketing and sales. He holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration.

The sonnen Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of smart energy storage systems and a pioneer of clean, decentralised and networked energy system technologies.  As one of the fastest growing tech companies in Europe, sonnen has received numerous internationally recognized awards. With its virtual battery, which consists of digitally networked home storage systems, sonnen offers new and highly innovative energy services for network operators and customers. sonnen’s products are available in many countries and has offices located in Germany, Italy, Australia, the UK and the USA.

Christoph Ostermann on Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/in/christoph-ostermann-bb804976/

Sonnen on Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/company/sonnen-gmbh/

Sonnen website https://sonnenbatterie.co.uk/(UK)

https://sonnenusa.com/en/    (USA)

https://sonnen.de/(DACH)

News stories discussed this week

Christoph Ostermann at EcoSummit 2019 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4z30_Ij4TEM

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I’m very keen to hear feedback on the podcast and my guests, and to hear your suggestions for future guests or topics. Contact via the website, or Twitter. If you do enjoy the podcast, please write a review on iTunes, or your usual podcast platform, and tell your cleantech friends about us. That would be much appreciated.

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What’s it all about?

This week I’m in Berlin, speaking at the 10th anniversary Ecosummit, and took the opportunity to record this podcast on the banks of the Spree, with leading cleantech investor Petr Mikovec, or Inven Capital. I think his insights into what an investor is looking for before investing is invaluable to any start-up, but also gives great insight into the challenges we all face to bring Cleantech to the mainstream.

About our guest

Petr Míkovec is Managing Director and co-founder of INVEN CAPITAL where he is responsible for overall fund strategy including fundraising, deal sourcing, investment process and portfolio value enhancement. Petr was directly responsible for the successful raising of EUR 50 million from the European Investment Bank, investments into sonnen https://www.sonnenbatterie.de/en/start, tado° https://www.tado.com/de/ and Cloud&Heat technologies https://www.cloudandheat.com/de where he serves as an Advisory Board Member. In addition to this, Petr represents INVEN at the Corporate Club of Environmental Technologies Fund based in London.

Petr has over 10 years of experience in the Energy sector, and over 5 years in Investment Banking. Prior to joining INVEN, Petr worked at various positions in CEZ a.s. where he, as Corporate Development Director, implemented the corporate venture fund as one of the key building blocks of CEZ group strategy and raised EUR 190 mil from CEZ group. He introduced the scenario approach to valuations and supervised/led valuations of large investments and divestments between EUR 100 million and EUR 1 billion.

Prior to his energy career, Petr worked as the Head of Online Business at Patria Finance (leading investment bank in CZ, member of KBC Group), where Petr turned firms Patria Online and Patria Direct to profitability within two years.

Petr holds a Master’s Degree in Finance and Managerial Information Systems at the University of Economics in Prague. He graduated with the highest GPA in his class and completed an eight month Professional Diploma Program in Business administration,  including taking part in an International Internship program as equity analyst at Technovision management fund (hedge fund based in Los Altos Silicon Valley) at UC Berkeley XT (California).

News stories discussed this week

Petr Míkovec on Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/in/petr-m%C3%ADkovec-ba654a14/

Inven Capital on Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/company/invencapital-cz/

Inven Capital website http://www.invencapital.cz/

Inven Capital at EcoSummit 2019 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vfr_YbtQIPM

Guy Kawasaki https://guykawasaki.com/

Follow us online, write a review (please) or subscribe

I’m very keen to hear feedback on the podcast and my guests, and to hear your suggestions for future guests or topics. Contact via the website, or Twitter. If you do enjoy the podcast, please write a review on iTunes, or your usual podcast platform, and tell your cleantech friends about us. That would be much appreciated.

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What’s it all about?

I was fortunate to be invited to Daimler HQ to record a short video with Sabine, whilst also in Stuttgart to attend the Electric and Hybrid vehicle trade show and conference. Sadly whilst we got to film, schedules for the podcast got delayed, so we recorded this via mobile a few days later. Digitalisation is massively affecting all areas of business and society, and none more so that the automotive sector.

About our guest

Sabine Scheunert studied Business Mathematics in Bielefeld, Germany, and European Business Management at the German Business School (FDHW). In 1998, subsequent to graduation, she launched her career in the automobile industry at BMW, where she occupied a number of positions in Germany and France, ultimately in an executive function in product management, before relocation to Eastern Europe for BMW in 2006.

In 2010 Sabine Scheunert joined PSA Peugeot Citroën in Paris and worked for the French automobile manufacturer as the worldwide head of Customer Relationship Management for all the brands under the PSA banner. As the first ever female CEO within the PSA Peugeot Citroën Group, Ms. Scheunert managed business activities for the Group’s Citroën brand in Shanghai from the beginning of 2015 until her move to Mercedes-Benz.

Since joining Daimler Group Sabine has been heading up the new digital unit at Mercedes-Benz as Vice President Digital & IT Marketing/Sales Mercedes-Benz since July 2016. This newly created function brings with it responsibility for the whole range of associated IT-based marketing, sales and after-sales activities – and for the entire scope of digital customer experiences for the Mercedes-Benz brand.

In addition to the continued expansion of the company’s pioneering IT landscape, Sabine Scheunert’s remit also includes the development of new and profitable customer-centric digital services. The digital unit operates on a global scale and cooperates with a wide range of incubators and start-ups – right around the world. Sabine Scheunert is also the CIO of Mercedes me, the Mercedes-Benz personalised customer portal.

Sabine Scheunert on Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/in/sabinescheunert/

Daimler on Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/company/daimler/

Daimler website https://www.daimler.com/en/

Follow us online, write a review (please) or subscribe

I’m very keen to hear feedback on the podcast and my guests, and to hear your suggestions for future guests or topics. Contact via the website, or Twitter. If you do enjoy the podcast, please write a review on iTunes, or your usual podcast platform, and tell your cleantech friends about us. That would be much appreciated.

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What’s it all about?

Last time I saw Logan was in a pub around the corner from Euston station, London, just before he moved to California to take up his present role with BNEF. Logan’s knowledge and experience in the global energy storage market is second to none, and we explore his thoughts on market forces, economics, future energy storage technologies, and the Lithium and Cobalt supply chains.

About our guest

Logan heads up the Energy Storage insight team at BloombergNEF. He leads the company’s analysis on the global energy storage markets, providing insight on technology, markets, policies and regulation, and the competitive landscape. He also oversees BNEF’s Supply Chain focus area, a cross-company effort to provide insights on the battery supply chain, manufacturing, sustainability and advanced materials.

He advises utilities, technology companies, investors and policymakers across these fields. He has authored numerous research papers and regularly speaks at international conferences and in the mainstream media. He was previously a Senior Associate within the Energy Smart Technologies team and regularly works on consulting projects for clients. He joined the company in 2009 as an analyst focused on the wind and solar sectors across the Middle East and Africa. Logan holds an MA (Hons) from Edinburgh University in Arabic

Prior to joining the company, he has previously worked at the Next Century Foundation which is a nonprofit political think tank focused on conflict resolution.

With a team of experts spread across six continents, BloombergNEF (BNEF) leverages the world’s most sophisticated data sets to create clear perspectives and in-depth forecasts that frame the financial, economic and policy implications of industry-transforming trends and technologies.

BNEF clients include corporate strategy and business development professionals, finance professionals (traders, analysts, portfolio managers), as well as policy makers and regulators. They work with the largest corporations across utilities and generation, oil & gas, equipment manufacturers, banking and finance, and government.

Their team of experts, spread across six continents, provides independent analysis and insight by looking at specific sectors in depth, as well as cross-sector and cross-geography trends and implications.”

Logan Goldie-Scot on Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/in/logan-goldie-scot-95724216/

Logan Goldie-Scot on Twitter  https://twitter.com/LoganGoldieScot

BloombergNEF on Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/company/bloomberg-new-energy-finance/

BloombergNEF on Twitter https://twitter.com/BloombergNEF

BloombergNEF website  https://about.bnef.com/

News stories discussed this week

The Silk Roads: A New History of the World – Peter Frankopanhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/Silk-Roads-New-History-World/dp/1408839970

The Powerhouse: America, China, and the Great Battery War – Steve Levine https://www.amazon.com/Powerhouse-America-China-Great-Battery/dp/0143128329

The Great Race: The Global Quest for the Car of the Future – Levi Tillemann https://www.amazon.com/Great-Race-Global-Quest-Future/dp/1476773505

Follow us online, write a review (please) or subscribe

I’m very keen to hear feedback on the podcast and my guests, and to hear your suggestions for future guests or topics. Contact via the website, or Twitter. If you do enjoy the podcast, please write a review on iTunes, or your usual podcast platform, and tell your cleantech friends about us. That would be much appreciated.

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What’s it all about?

Some things make you feel old. Meeting Martijn Lammers, and fellow C0-Founder and CEO Lex Hoefsloot at their Eindhoven site was just one such thing. Martijn, at 28 years old is one of the ‘oldies’ in the founding team. Their soon to be launched (June 19) solar powered car is amazing to see (It’s beautiful, I got a sneak peek) and more so given it has been created by a very young team with no automotive sector experience. We discuss the start-up journey and challenges to get to this point.

About our guest

Martijn Lammers is one of the founders of Lightyear, he is currently responsible for strategy. After having won the World Solar Challenge with a team of students, and gradating his masters in industrial design from Eindhoven University of Technology, he founded Lightyear with a team of 5 aiming to accelerate the adoption of electric cars. More specifically, Lightyears mission is to provide clean mobility for everyone. Their first car, Lightyear One, is an ultra-efficient car with solar cells integrated in the hood and roof of the car.  Due to its efficiency, Lightyear One is partly self-sufficient, and can be charged by normal outlet at any other time ensuring it can independent of charging infrastructure. Lightyear One is in an exclusive segment costing €119.000 before taxes, enabling Lightyear to deliver a truly ground breaking product and developing the necessary  technology to match

Lightyear is working with a team of 130 people based in Helmond, the Netherlands combining young and experienced A-players to form a strong team capable of achieving Lightyear’s mission. Lightyear is currently in the process of building its first full prototype, to be completed in the second half of this year. The launch of this prototype will also be Lightyears launch to the public. Since the inception of Lightyear, there has also been a focus on the commercial validation of the concept as well resulting in over 80 Lightyear One’s to be reserved and paid for. This group of ambassadors forms a strong backbone of Lightyears success so far.

Martijn Lammers on Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/in/martijn-lammers-70131b18/

Lightyear on Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/company/lightyear.one/

Lightyear Cars on Twitter https://twitter.com/lightyear_cars

Lightyear website  https://lightyear.one/

Lightyear on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/lightyear_cars/

Lightyear on FaceBook https://www.facebook.com/lightyear.cars/

News stories discussed this week

Introduction to Lightyear on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_QAWVUoZFg

The Lean Start-up- Eric Ries https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0670921602/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

Design driven innovation – Roberto Verganti https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1422124827/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1

Follow us online, write a review (please) or subscribe

I’m very keen to hear feedback on the podcast and my guests, and to hear your suggestions for future guests or topics. Contact via the website, or Twitter. If you do enjoy the podcast, please write a review on iTunes, or your usual podcast platform, and tell your cleantech friends about us. That would be much appreciated.

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What’s it all about?

It was very flattering when a Google Moonshot company, invested in by Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos funded Breakthrough Energy Ventures, called to ask for help to scale their team. I took the opportunity whilst in Boston, MA, meeting the team, to record this episode with CEO Ramya Swaminathan, and to hear what’s it like to have such auspicious origins and investors, and what pressure that brings.

About our guest

Ramya Swaminathan joined Malta from Rye Development, where she was CEO, co-founder and Member of the Board of FFP New Hydro. Under her leadership, Rye Development grew to be the leading developer of new hydropower projects in the United States and its portfolio of development projects, held at its holdco affiliate, FFP New Hydro, advanced from concept through FERC licensing and late stage development financing. She was also responsible for the expansion of Rye’s platform into energy storage, with the addition of two sizable pumped hydro storage development projects in the Pacific Northwest. At Rye Development, Ms. Swaminathan led a multi-disciplinary team, with specialists in engineering and construction, regulatory and environmental aspects, and power marketing.  She also led the company through several financing rounds, both at the platform and the project levels.

Prior to her work in the hydropower space, Ms. Swaminathan was a public finance banker, most recently as a Director at UBS, where she focused on public power clients and senior managed more than $10 billion in financings. Ms. Swaminathan holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government and a BA in Anthropology from Amherst College.

The Malta concept is built upon well-established principles in thermodynamics for a system that stores energy as heat (in molten salt) and as cold (in a chilled liquid). The project was incubated at X, Alphabet’s Moonshot Factory, which applies audacious thinking and radical new technologies to solve the world’s most challenging problems. Based on the research they’d seen, X identified the Malta system as a product that had the potential to unlock a wealth of inexpensive clean energy to address global energy demands.

X’s team designed individual system components and evaluated whether the concept could work in the real world at a competitive price-point. The next two years were spent incubating the concept with a focus on derisking the most challenging concepts first. When it became clear that the technology had potential to be commercially viable at grid scale, Malta was formed outside of Alphabet as its own independent company.

Ramya Swaminathan on Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/in/ramya-swaminathan-6a52a8b/

Malta Inc website  https://www.maltainc.com/

News stories discussed this week

3 things to know about Malta, the Google-incubated and Bill Gates-backed startup https://www.greenbiz.com/article/3-things-know-about-malta-google-incubated-and-bill-gates-backed-startup

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I’m very keen to hear feedback on the podcast and my guests, and to hear your suggestions for future guests or topics. Contact via the website, or Twitter. If you do enjoy the podcast, please write a review on iTunes, or your usual podcast platform, and tell your cleantech friends about us. That would be much appreciated.

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