Q&A with Judge Paul O’Donnell
Paul O’Donnell is one of our judges at the#BigEnergyHack. An investment specialist in the clean tech space, Paul is eager to find the next big opportunity at the #BigEnergyHack.
Q: How would you define the opportunity in the clean tech space?
A: Climate change is the greatest challenge we face in our generation and the transition to a low-carbon energy system will be the single greatest economic opportunity in our lifetime.
We are already witnessing a major shift in the energy landscape. The cost of solar, wind and batteries have decreased to such an extent that we are seeing renewables becoming the major growth area in the energy market.
Q: What is the landscape for start-ups in the clean tech space?
A: Clean tech is rapidly evolving and moving away from ‘deep technology’ companies and shifting toward software and big data opportunities. In particular, we are seeing opportunities for IT companies to disrupt and provide new types of services both to the customer and to energy companies.
Q: What companies are emerging and making strides in the energy space?
A: Companies such as Endeco Technologies have scaled rapidly with a system that enables large scale users of energy to achieve revenues by providing services to the grid . Six years ago, Endeco was just a concept and now it is one of the fastest growing smart grid companies in Europe.
Q: What are you most looking forward to at the Big Energy Hack?
A: There are real business models emerging for start-up companies and entrepreneurs that was not possible five years ago so The Big Energy Hack is very timely.
For the participants it’s a great opportunity to work with the mentors and get an insight into the dynamics of the energy industry. Having worked very closely in the industry, I am personally very excited to see what a diverse group of people from different backgrounds and industries can create and develop over the two days.
Paul O’Donnell is a partner of the ESB Novusmodus Fund with particular focus on the wind, solar and energy efficiency sectors. Paul has over 12 years investment and advisory experience, of which the past eight years have been focused exclusively on renewables. He sits on the board of Airvolution Energy, Cylon Controls and Endeco Technologies.
He joined Greencoat Capital in 2008 following two years at Libertas Capital, the specialist renewable energy investment bank. At Libertas, Paul advised growth companies on raising equity and his team raised over $300m bringing companies onto the AIM market.
Paul started his career with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Dublin where he qualified as a Chartered Accountant. He has a BBS (Hons) in Finance from Trinity College Dublin.