CleanTechies Podcast

#133 Thought Leadership, Choosing the Right Board Members, Navigating Big Oil, & More w/ Illai Gescheit (Siemens Energy Ventures)

November 14, 2023 Silas Mähner (CT Headhunter) & Somil Aggarwal (CT PM & Investor) Season 1 Episode 133
CleanTechies Podcast
#133 Thought Leadership, Choosing the Right Board Members, Navigating Big Oil, & More w/ Illai Gescheit (Siemens Energy Ventures)
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Show Notes


In the increasingly competitive landscape of VCs and startups, there is a growing trend where founders and VCs engage in content creation to establish their legitimacy and thought leadership. Through podcasts, articles, and social media platforms, they share insights, experiences, and expertise, fostering a transparent and accessible platform for people to gain conviction in them. This content-driven approach not only enhances their personal and professional brands but also contributes to knowledge-sharing and community-building. As simple as this is, there are still surprisingly few who do it regularly and well. On this episode, we had the absolute pleasure of having on one of our favorite content creators x VCs: Illai Gescheit, Venture Partner at Siemens Energy Ventures.

Illai Gescheit, based in London, started in medical devices and startup development. After contributing to the development of insulin pumps for diabetics, he ventured into cloud computing and consumer software startups, eventually joining Amazon to lead their startup and venture capital programs. Currently, he serves as a venture partner at Siemens Energy Ventures, focusing on piloting and investing in climate and energy startups. He has also served in a number of advisory roles including Techstars, Google, MassChallenge, and the World Economic Forum.

Illai is very thoughtful in how he communicates nuances of piloting technology, managing your board, engaging with big oil, and other pressing topics in CT VC. His years of putting out content have made him one of the most polished guests we’ve ever had.

  • 4:47 Intro
  • 9:05 How climate companies can think about big oil
  • 18:02 His motto: kindness is my strategy
  • 25:03 The importance of content and personal branding
  • 40:10 Investing “in-kind” and with “sweat equity”
  • 53:46 Insights
  • 1:11:17 Are climate companies selling too early?
  • 1:12:43 Recruiting talent for early-stage startups
  • 1:16:03 Choosing the right board member
  • 1:19:35 Advice to fund managers
  • 1:22:42 The climate company he would build today


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