Bynd Portfolio Founders Series
Pontio is a financing platform for energy transition products 🌞 🍃
1. How did you come up with the idea for Pontio?
My background have been closely related to the energy sector. I studied engineering and started working in a thermal power plant of a large electric company. Some time later I started in strategic consulting, designing new business models for energy companies. It was there that I discovered the potential of solar energy and distributed energy assets, and the need for financial solutions to achieve deployment at scale.
Innovating in large companies is often difficult. So, I decided to take the plunge and start working on what is now Pontio. I started working on it together with some co-workers. Some of them are now my partners and co-founders of Pontio.
We started to define different business models, and we launched some pretty basic MVPs to have real contact with the market. We discovered that one of the main keys was to facilitate access to energy efficiency solutions to all types of customers, and to do so, offering adequate financial solutions was key. So we started working on a platform capable of making this possible.
2. How would you explain to a 5 year old what Pontio does?
Pontio enables anyone to make their home sustainable and efficient through financing. So we provide professional installers to offer financing options on the go to their customers at their kitchens table.
3. What are the pros and cons of being an entrepreneur versus working for a big company like Everis?
Everis (part of NTT Data Group) is a really great company with a strong culture of effort. As a large company it can provide virtually unlimited resources to build new ventures and innovate. This is the biggest pro from my perspective, not only as a matter of financial resources, but talent, experience, know-how, etc. On the contrary, as a main con, no one wants to fail inside a large company, so there is a general lack of agility when it comes to innovation as failing is not well regarded.
As an entrepreneur this is radically different. On the one hand, the main con is lack of resources. For example, attracting talent being a small company and competing with international corporates is quite difficult. On the other hand, agility is part of our DNA. Due to this lack of resources, what directly means less time to test and demonstrate market traction, we need to become quite agile and accept that we will fail many times. So as an entrepreneur everything goes faster so you need to learn and practice new things every day. And this is so cool!
4. Why did you choose to establish your company / team in Spain?
Is a combination of two key factors, one is the market momentum we are living in Spain and the other is the great talent pool and boundary conditions to build up a company.
Spain is one of the European fastest growing solar markets thanks to the great solar resource and lagging behind other European countries due to previous regulation. In a market growing with everything to do, we can play a major role to boost the adoption of solar and other home efficiencies.
On the other hand, Spain is a great place to establish a company. We have great professionals and local talent available. If not, the life quality of Spain ease attracting key talent from other countries. Moreover, the Spanish startup ecosystem is reaching a stadium of maturity with a combination of venture funds and success stories from entrepreneurs who have built unicorns that favors scaling a new venture.
5. How do you define Pontio’s culture in five or less words?
6. What is your vision for Pontio 5–10 years from now?
Pontio aims to become the leading sustainable financing platform in Europe. To this end, we are developing both technological and financial solutions that adapt to all types of clients, and that allow professionals to sell more and grow their businesses with Pontio.
Our vision is to become more closer to end customers through financing models that allow residentials to build a home efficiency ecosystem in a sustainable manner.
7. What would be the one piece of advice you would share with a new founder?
I would always say “do it”. Every day it is easier to test new ideas and try out new businesses, even technology-based ones. So, all you really need to do is to take the plunge! That said, it is important to find good travel partners.
The walk is hard and requires tons of effort and time. But it worth it.
8. What do you look for in a VC investor and what is the value added that Bynd brings to the table?
I do believe in Smart Money. For me is not only a fancy expression. What I personally look in a VC is a partner I can trust and rely, not for day to day problems, but for consultations that require experience and knowledge that allow me to form a non-biased criterion. Skin in the game is key, is what differentiates the advice from opinion, that’s why investors could cover this important angle.
For our specific case, Bynd provides us with market knowledge, as Portugal is a key expansion market for us, in combination with a powerful network of both investors and founders of other similar startups. We also have a closer and closer relationship that allows us to be well aligned.
9. How is Pontio contributing to make the world a better place?
We are living a climatic crisis and we need to transition from our existing energetic model.
When it comes to energy transition, we only think about swapping from fossil fuels to renewables. But energy transition is about energy decentralization, distributed energy. And this is a home by home and roof by roof challenge. At Pontio we are boosting this transition by means of enabling every single home to become more efficient through finance.
Homes are today responsible of more than 40% carbon emissions, so we expect to produce real impact across Europe enhancing buildings efficiency. However we also expect to impact other emerging markets such as electric mobility or water saving.
About The Series
Bynd Portfolio Founders Series invites the founders of the Startups backed by Bynd to share their experience creating a startup. With each of its episodes dedicated to a single startup or founder, it provides an informal, and deep look at the world of entrepreneurship.