Making Money by Making an Impact

Matt Harvey, Stanford University December 14, 2010

This week, the Abu Dhabi Water and Electric Authority announced their selection of Hara’s environmental and energy management solution to address a number of the authority’s energy initiatives. Using the Hara software’s ability to offer strategic and tactical suggestions, based on energy input and output data crunching, Abu Dhabi Water and Electric may be able save 10 million tons of carbon-dioxide by the year 2020, according to Hara.

Look for Opportunity Across the Globe

It’s easy to be impressed by the physical (and assumed financial) size of this deal, especially involving a company that has only been selling for the last 18 months. However, sealing deals without limits on geography is part of the plan, according to Hara CEO and Founder Amit Chatterjee. In this video clip from Chatterjee’s recent visit to our Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders seminar, he explains why globalization doesn’t just mean more competition for entrepreneurs, but also access to a planet full of future customers.

Change the Market When You Arrive

From the beginning, Hara saw that enterprise firms could measure energy consumption in as many ways as the want, and still not make smart decisions based on all the incoming data. Knowing energy outputs may help an organization fill out a regulatory reporting form, but it does nothing to help take actionable steps in changing the numbers. Out of this issue, Chatterjee saw an opportunity to form a unique energy management business process, at the intersection of info-tech and clean-tech. To understand how Hara approached the development of their idea in the early stages, in the following clip, Chatterjee outlines his company’s decision to function in stealth mode through its initial round of funding.

Build a Team for Lasting Impact

Hara clearly sees energy management solutions as having enormous room for growth in the next decade, but to maintain leadership in the space, Chatterjee set out to build a team to achieve the company’s hope of delivering a lasting impact. According to Chatterjee, it was important to build a team culture that demands excellence. The Hara CEO also warns company founders to be aware of their own issues when building the most effective team.

A founder may be intimidated by hiring someone more talented in a particular area of expertise, but how will you grow and learn, if you are always the “smartest” person in the room? This theory of being surrounded by the brightest and most capable individuals carries over into recruiting a high-quality board of advisors. Personal hubris, or relying solely on your technology, is not enough to navigate uncharted business waters, so a team of advisors provides solid support in times of crisis and confusion. In the following clip, Chatterjee expands on these key points to building success.

Watch the entire Amit Chatterjee seminar at eCorner.