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How I Raised $55M For Sustainability Startup By Stanford MBA, Ex-McKinsey

Poyan Rajamand | October 12, 2018
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    How I Raised $55M For Sustainability Startup By Stanford MBA, Ex-McKinsey
    Poyan Rajamand

Thanks for listening to one of our most popular episodes from Season 1, click the Play button!

In this episode, hear how a Singaporean entrepreneur achieved the impossible by raising $55 million dollars for his startup that aims to make buildings more efficient, therefore using technology to help the environment. Sound like a boring episode about science and climate change? Give this one a chance, today’s guest is a captivating and driven public speaker.

UPDATE: A month after this episode aired, Poyan had the privilege of being included in The Peak Power List 2018.

 “The idea was that clients could achieve 20 to 30 per cent energy savings with zero upfront cost. BBP would get paid a portion of its clients’ savings only if its solution worked… Investors have caught on. BBP recently raised $45 million for regional expansion. It is currently in eight territories, including India, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan and Malaysia. So far this year, it has secured $18 million worth of contracts.” – Germaine Cheong, The Peak Magazine.

The Peak Power List 2018

At some point, you have to ask yourself, why be an entrepreneur? Well, you can’t deny the prospect of making a lot of money. You read about that all the time, but what’s even more impressive are entrepreneurs who start with a mission to help our world, and then build a successful company based around that. It might sound cheesy, but they do exist. They’re the real unicorns who aren’t just thinking about fame and fortune.

Hear how a Stanford MBA grad built his career at Unilever and Mckinsey, then ditched the corporate path to become an entrepreneur on a crusade to help the environment with a very unique business model. A business model where he would pay all the costs to install his technology and only be paid based on the money his clients would save on their energy bill. No upfront payment and he would carry all the risk. Introducing Poyan, the Co-Founder of Barghest Building Performance (BBP), he’s not only raised a series B but earned his company awards and partnerships with the Singapore Government.

Check out his website at www.bbp.sg. The stakes were clearly against him. Firstly, it’s hard to find money from investors or clients in sustainability, even though there’s a lot of positive recognition of the field, there’s inertia from clients who are pushing back on changing their ways. Secondly, his business model had to prove to clients his tech could reduce their bills before he got paid, meaning he had no room for error and he was carrying all the risk that his tech would pay off. That takes some backbone. And thirdly, he would have had a much more stable career path as a management consultant. You have to respect anyone who turns down attractive career prospects to roll the dice with entrepreneurship while saving the environment along the way. He and his co-founders have raised 55 million dollars, that’s impressive for a startup focused on energy efficiency.

Thanks for listening! The greatest compliment you can give me is to recommend this podcast to colleagues, family and friends. Share a comment through email or Linkedin and let me know what you think, I’m constantly trying to improve the content in this podcast for you. 

I’m also looking for my next tv show after I recently hosted my last tv show on Channel NewsAsia about the latest business trends in Asia. In this show, I flew to Japan to uncover the e-sports industry with a crew and fixer, and we dove deep into the Esports industry. I learned a lot about myself and about how to host a show. You can check it out here, it’s an hour-long and we met with a lot of interesting characters along the way. I’d love to know what you think.

Watch the latest TV show in Japan with Channel NewsAsia before COVID-19 hit.

More about Barghest Building Performance (BBP):

Many companies in the Energy Efficiency space offer advice on how to improve energy efficiency or sell a new piece of equipment that helps customers save energy. Barghest Building Performance do neither. They offer a solution that helps buildings operate their existing equipment better and thereby achieve long term measurable and sustainable energy saving. Their solution is always paid through the savings they achieve over the long term, which aligns their incentive with that of their clients. If their clients don’t achieve any energy savings, they don’t get paid.

Barghest Building Performance focuses on Air Conditioning Systems since its the most energy-intensive system in a building, but can offer a range of other energy efficiency-related services.

Host’s Bio:

At 20, I took a break from my law degree to co-found my first startup, Beeconomic, which was fully acquired by Groupon (a record-breaking buyout in Singapore after just 6 months according to The Straits Times).

As Groupon Singapore co-founder, we created over 200 jobs and made history by helping Groupon become “the fastest-growing company ever” (-Forbes and CNBC). After Groupon, I worked on 4 startups that failed, which taught me important lessons about failure.

After finishing my law degree, I joined a “Top 5” law firm in Australia that led to an offer in their M&A advisory practice.

I was then recruited by Hong Kong’s biggest English newspaper, The South China Morning Post, as the social media editor to execute a digital transformation strategy. When the team achieved strong digital growth, Jack Ma’s Alibaba acquired the newspaper. After 6 months of transitioning and training with the new owners, I moved on to pursue my passion for cooking.

After culinary school, I became a full-time advisor for a $100M Japanese VC, a highlight is our $1M investment into a fast-growing, millennial-focused news platform.

I have served as a consultant to Governments and 80+ tech firms in Southeast Asia, but for early-stage startups, I also volunteer as a mentor at an incubator. I am an entrepreneur who knows exactly how it feels to be guide-less and isolated. I’ve met a lot of kind people on my travels who were willing to help me and this is my way of paying it forward.

Spending my spare time volunteering in charities, mediation, cooking, and working out are my passions. Channel NewsAsia shot a 2018 TV documentary called “Millionaire Minds: Chris Chong” featuring my latest (failed 🙁 ) startup and featured me as a guest host on their show “The Millennial Investor” before COVID-19 hit. I’m looking for my next job (like everyone right now), if you know of any TV hosting opportunities, then do please reach out.

If you liked this episode, check out our most popular interview from season 1 with the co-founder of SGAG and MGAG, Karl Mak.


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Music (Creative Commons/Royalty Free)

Coriolis Effect by logos (c) copyright 2010 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license. http-//dig.ccmixter.org/files/Mseq/26296 Ft- stefsax

Watch this space… (ft. Doxent) by robwalkerpoet (c) copyright 2014 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http-//dig.ccmixter.org/files/robwalkerpoet/46866 Ft- Doxent

The Long Goodbye by John Pazdan (c) copyright 2008 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license. http-//dig.ccmixter.org/files/flatwound/14476

Life is by Scott Buckley – www.scottbuckley.com.au

Whisper by Robbero (c) copyright 2014 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http-//dig.ccmixter.org/files/Robbero/44803

The Long Goodbye by John Pazdan (c) copyright 2008 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license. http-//dig.ccmixter.org/files/flatwound/14476

Titan by Scott Buckley – www.scottbuckley.com.au

Moments in Space by spinmeister (c) copyright 2007 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http-//dig.ccmixter.org/files/spinmeister/12093 Ft- DJ Rkod

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