CleanTechies Podcast
#158 Product-Led ClimateTech, Exiting to Big Tech TWICE, Being a Climate Papa, & More w/ Ben Eidelson (Stepchange, Climate Papa)

#158 Product-Led ClimateTech, Exiting to Big Tech TWICE, Being a Climate Papa, & More w/ Ben Eidelson (Stepchange, Climate Papa)


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🌎 Welcome back to the CleanTechies PodLetter, VC edition.

Today, we are talking to Ben Eidelson from Stepchange and Climate Papa.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • What it means to be a “product-led company” and why he invests in them

  • How to be an active listener and foster vulnerability in founder relationships

  • Tips for climate product-market fit: understand needs and honest distribution

And a lot, lot more.

🚨🚨 Ben has a rockstar climate newsletter of his own called Climate Papa, it’s a must follow!

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: Ben Eidelson

  • Ben started his career at Microsoft before leaving to found his first company (and exit!) called everythingIsTheBest which was acquired by Google

  • He then spent 5 years as a PM in google focused on their mobile messaging and communication products before leaving to found his second company (and you guessed it…exit!) called Rep which focused on customer assistance for online brands

  • Rep was acquired by Stripe where Ben was a PM for almost four years improving payment methods for the US and Canada

  • Now he has fully pivoted into climate first with his angel investing, then his newsletter Climate Papa, and now recently launched early stage climate fund called Stepchange

🚨🚨🚨 Shoutout to our sponsor Net Zero Insights — Net Zero Insights is the leading market intelligence platform on climate information with all the latest you need on funding rounds, VCs, and the climate tech ecosystem. Use this link to schedule your demo and get a 10% discount! 🚨🚨🚨

The VC: Stepchange

Stepchange is an early stage venture fund that invests in product-led companies that will make a step change impact on climate. Stepchange puts product leaders at the core of everything we do—from who we invest in and how we support them, to who we seek as LPs, partners, and advisors. We partner with founders at the very beginning, making $100-200K investments in the first round of funding.

Exceptional products are essential for mitigating and adapting to climate change. We are in the midst of the largest upgrade in modern society, and software is our fastest deployed lever. We need an ecosystem of new software tools, financial products, and API layers that propel consumers, businesses, and institutions to upgrade faster than we normally might. The startups that sit at the center of this transition will be some of the most valuable companies of our generation.

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📝 Show Notes:


  • 03:10 What is a Product-Led Company?

  • 08:49 Why PMs are not Thinking about Climate

  • 14:45 The Importance of Active Listening

  • 16:03 Identifying Founder Potential

  • 18:29 The Role of Vulnerability in Relationships

  • 20:35 The Origin and Impact of Climate Papa

  • 25:41 The Product-Focused Thesis of Step Change

  • 27:41 Product Meets Hardware and Deep Tech

  • 34:35 Bullish Industries in Climate

  • 42:45 Lessons from Being a Founder

  • 44:59 Building Deep Co-Founder Relationships

  • 47:32 Tips for Product-Market Fit in Climate


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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!

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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.