At Solfium, we are a fully managed solar marketplace with a unique platform that aims to accelerate the decarbonization of companies’ value chains at scale. Our primary mission is to make solar adoption easy and accessible for both homes and businesses.
To achieve this mission, we integrate several key partners in our marketplace:
- Local installers, whom we train and certify to ensure a standard of high-quality service.
- Selected manufacturers to offer competitive pricing (avoiding intermediaries) and best post-sales support.
- Specialized third-party logistics providers that kit and delivers our manufacturers’ inventory to each customer.
- Financing partners that help us provide a menu of financing options to customers.
The success of our operations is further enhanced by our innovative technology platform, which facilitates the interaction between all these players.
Tell us about yourself?
I’m a Canadian with deep roots in Latin America, as I was born and raised in Uruguay and lived and worked in Mexico for many years. Most of my career was in the corporate sector, first at GE and then at Bombardier, where I spent 16 years in strategy, supply chain, logistics, operations, strategic partnerships, and program management roles. I became, above all, an intrapreneur; I had the opportunity to lead major new initiatives, like the decentralization of the procurement organization, creating international procurement offices in major emerging markets and leading the production plant where we built the first wings in Mexico, and as Program Director for a new business jet program.
My executive master’s at LSE was a turning point in my career, as it allowed me to explore new career paths and exposed me to business models that, while profitable, achieved a positive impact on society. That’s when, with one of my classmates, Zach Magnan, as well as a former colleague, Juan Osuna, both of whom came from the energy sector, we decided to launch Solfium.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Developing a tech platform takes longer than originally planned, but it is worth it in the end. I would emphasize the importance of patience and perseverance throughout the process, aiming for the right balance between time to market and delivering a perfect product.
What problem does your business solve?
Major corporations are taking proactive measures to align with stakeholder interests by committing to Net Zero targets in line with the Paris Agreement and the GHG Protocol. Most of them recognize that their vast and fragmented value chains, which contribute to Scope 3 emissions, present the biggest challenge in their decarbonization efforts. For instance, in Mexico, our launch market, a company like Coca-Cola, has 1.2 million convenience stores in Mexico that act as one of its sales channels.
Given that the biggest source of emissions comes from energy, roughly 70 per cent, according to the Internal Energy Agency, companies need to decarbonize their supply chain’s energy consumption to reach Net Zero. The challenge that companies face is to implement solutions, monitor, and report on progress in this area, given the level of fragmentation of their value chain.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
We realized that adopting solar energy was challenging for the average customer, and in order to accelerate the energy transition, we needed to make the process of solar adoption exceptionally easy and efficient. There were two main challenges: small customers lacked optimal and user-friendly solutions, and large companies lacked integrated solutions to decarbonize their value chain.
Therefore, for residential and commercial customers, we developed a user-friendly mobile app that streamlines the entire customer journey, from initial quoting to securing financing, coordinating the installation, and providing comprehensive post-sales support.
To ensure visibility and efficient reporting for our corporate customers, our corporate dashboard automates the reporting of their Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions reduction through their entire value chain, enabling companies to track their progress.
What is your magic sauce?
Competitors mostly operate under a traditional business model and lack the technology to facilitate a simplified customer journey. No known competitor has an integrated solution to decarbonize value chains nor a mobile App-based solution for an end-to-end customer experience that facilitates adoption for residential and commercial clients.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
Our vision is to become a leading platform for distributed solar in emerging markets, making solar energy ubiquitous. In our launch market in Mexico, we plan to deploy 300 MW, equivalent to 562 million trees planted and 36 million tons of CO2 emissions reduced.
International expansion is a key component of our strategic plan. While our current focus is on the LATAM region, we aim to extend our footprint to new markets and geographies worldwide. By expanding internationally, we aim to increase our impact since we recognize that solar energy is a global solution to combat climate change, and there are immense opportunities to support companies and households in their transition to clean and renewable energy sources.
Additionally, we are committed to providing end-of-life solutions to ensure the responsible recycling of every retired solar panel.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Managing the cycle times associated with corporate customers. The lengthy duration of these cycles necessitates a careful approach to ensure that all internal stakeholders, including procurements, HR, sustainability, and operations/maintenance teams, are aligned throughout the process.
How can people get involved?
Follow us on LinkedIn and stay tuned for updates and job postings.