CleanTechies Podcast
#155 Supporting Underrepresented Founders, Hardware MVP & Scaling, Partnering w/ Corporates, & More w/ Ryan Jeffery (Gener8tor)

#155 Supporting Underrepresented Founders, Hardware MVP & Scaling, Partnering w/ Corporates, & More w/ Ryan Jeffery (Gener8tor)


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🌎 Welcome back to the CleanTechies PodLetter, VC edition.

Today, we are talking to Ryan Jeffery from Gener8tor

Are you a founder who does NOT live in NYC, SF, or Boston? Well, today’s episode is for you. We are bringing you an episode with Ryan Jeffery, the Managing Director of Gener8tor’s Sustainability Accelerator Program, and we have a bit of everything for you…

  • Ryan’s story and why Gener8tor serves this space

  • How they partner directly with Corporations to get their participants direct access to them for pilot projects and more

  • What the key milestones are for hardware companies are

And a lot more.

Ask yourself this: is the content we put out valuable enough to you that you’d be willing to buy us a latte 🍵 once a month?

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The Guest: Ryan Jeffery

  • Ryan, originally from Wisconsin (Go Pack Go), started out his career in tech. Eventually went on to become the co-founder of Growth Panda and became a VC.

  • During his time as a VC, he often felt disconnected from the founders. So, when the chance to go to an accelerator came up, he jumped at it.

  • At first he started out as a Mentor with Gener8tor, and now is leading the Sustainability Accelerators across the company.

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The Accelerator/VC: Gener8tor

Across VC, the vast majority of dollars have gone to three states. California, New York, and Massachusets. The rest of the country is at a massive dissadvantage, especially the further away you are from those hubs. Gener8tor was started to solve that. They focus on all of these forgotten areas—these flyover states.

There is one key reason this matters so much. The problems that need to be solved for the lion’s share of the country, are more likely to work when created by the folks who are intimately familiar with those problems.

Across their sustainabilitiy programs alone, they have 44 portfolio companies. In order to help them succeed they spend a lot of time getting them investment ready and then putting them in front of a lot of funds.

They boast mentors such as Kim Zou of CTVC/Sightline, Matt McGraw of Anthro Ventures (and past guest), and Meryl Breidbart from At One Ventures to name a few.

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📝 Show Notes:


  • 2:17 Intro and Background

  • 4:00 Joining Gener8tor

  • 7:40 The Biz Model of an Accelerator

  • 8:28 Challenges of Financing an Accelerator

  • 8:56 Partnerships with Corporations

  • 11:35 Focus on Underserved Areas

  • 13:54 The Role of Non-Silicon Valley States in Climate Transition

  • 22:00 Value Add of an Accelerator

  • 25:31 Perception of Accelerators by VCs

  • 27:33 Gener8tor’s Business Model

  • 28:16 Partnerships with Corporates for Pilot Projects

  • 31:52 Focus on Underserved Areas in Climate Transition

  • 34:13 Collab in Non-Tech Hub Areas

  • 40:27 Biggest Gap in Supporting Founders Outside of Main Hubs

  • 42:03 Role of AI in Solving Climate Change

  • 44:04 Success Story of a Hardware MVP

  • 47:30 Unique Considerations for Hard Tech Companies

  • 49:40 Milestones for Hard Tech Companies

  • 53:47 Areas of Interest in Climate Startups

  • 57:46 Advice for Hiring and Building a Team

  • 59:57 Pitching and Fundraising Tips

  • 1:05:14 Networking with VCs for Series A

  • 1:06:44 Advice for Investors in Climate

  • 1:08:19 Advice for Getting into VC or Investing


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Here’s the thing: Somil and I both have day jobs, so if you’re in the helping mood, we both have an ask for you today.

Somil: I’m currently seeking to connect with founders in the built environment space for a project I’m working on. If you’re in that space, schedule a chat here!

Silas: As many of you know, my day job is solving people’s hiring headaches in climate - do you have a hiring headache? Well, let me be your Advil. (booking here)

🚨🚨🚨 Attention Hiring Managers!!! Are you struggling to find qualified candidates? Maybe getting candidates but can’t bring them across the line consistently? Or not getting sufficient applicants? — Reach out to our sponsors, NextWave Partners today to help solve that for you.

NextWave Partners is a leading Global Renewables, Climate, & Sustainability recruitment consultancy solely focused on these impact areas. They are also B-Corp Certified.

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🙏🏽 Thanks for tuning in, and see you all next episode!

CleanTechies Podcast
CleanTechies is a Podcast and Newsletter where Somil & Silas interview the leading ClimateTech Founders and Investors to share their advice and journeys with other Founders and Investors to help others succeed.