CleanTechies Podcast

#134 How Climatize is Democratizing Clean Energy Investing, Building an MVP in Highly Regulated Markets, & More w/ Will Wiseman (Climatize)

November 18, 2023 Silas MĂ€hner (CT Headhunter) & Somil Aggarwal (CT PM & Investor) Season 1 Episode 134
#134 How Climatize is Democratizing Clean Energy Investing, Building an MVP in Highly Regulated Markets, & More w/ Will Wiseman (Climatize)
CleanTechies Podcast
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CleanTechies Podcast
#134 How Climatize is Democratizing Clean Energy Investing, Building an MVP in Highly Regulated Markets, & More w/ Will Wiseman (Climatize)
Nov 18, 2023 Season 1 Episode 134
Silas MĂ€hner (CT Headhunter) & Somil Aggarwal (CT PM & Investor)

🌎 Today's episode is the first of our new founder show format, where we are keeping it a bit shorter and focusing on what they are doing rather than too many of the broader trends.

Our guinea pig is Will Wiseman, Founder & CEO of Climatize. A revolutionary platform that is empowering community solar projects to scale effectively by getting them financed where PE is not doing the deals due to smaller sizes.

Main Takeaways: (read the full version on Substack) 

  1. Make it easy to use.
  2. Calculate the ROI of your fundraising process for a morale boost.
  3. Hire "ready" talent early on.
  4. Co-founders SHOULD think differently.

🌎 If you'd like to see the full PodLetter, go to our substack to see all the written content that supplements the audio interview.  


  • 2:26 His Career Journey
  • 6:42 How He Looks at Impact Work 
  • 8:04 FInTech Founding as an Engineer
  • 13:13 Why PE Isn't Filling the Need
  • 16:40 How they "Pitch" to Consumers
  • 20:12 Hiring & Talent 
  • 26:08 Building the Product
  • 28:26 Advice to Founders
  • 32:29 Future Challenges
  • 34:59 On Making it "Real" to Climate Deniers 


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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

🌎 Today's episode is the first of our new founder show format, where we are keeping it a bit shorter and focusing on what they are doing rather than too many of the broader trends.

Our guinea pig is Will Wiseman, Founder & CEO of Climatize. A revolutionary platform that is empowering community solar projects to scale effectively by getting them financed where PE is not doing the deals due to smaller sizes.

Main Takeaways: (read the full version on Substack) 

  1. Make it easy to use.
  2. Calculate the ROI of your fundraising process for a morale boost.
  3. Hire "ready" talent early on.
  4. Co-founders SHOULD think differently.

🌎 If you'd like to see the full PodLetter, go to our substack to see all the written content that supplements the audio interview.  


  • 2:26 His Career Journey
  • 6:42 How He Looks at Impact Work 
  • 8:04 FInTech Founding as an Engineer
  • 13:13 Why PE Isn't Filling the Need
  • 16:40 How they "Pitch" to Consumers
  • 20:12 Hiring & Talent 
  • 26:08 Building the Product
  • 28:26 Advice to Founders
  • 32:29 Future Challenges
  • 34:59 On Making it "Real" to Climate Deniers 


Support the Show.

SPEAKER 1: Will Wiseman

You know, we were able to get a Figma out there.

And actually, the very first way that we went to validate this product was to try and crowdfund $2,500 to fund a small solar project in Kenya.

And we did it through GoFundMe.

And actually, that was how we got our first seed check because the co founder of GoFundMe discovered us through that experience.

SPEAKER 3: Silas MĂ€hner

Welcome back to the CleanTechies Podcast, where we interview climate tech founders and investors to discuss all things building and investing to solve the biggest challenge of our generation, climate change.

Today, we have the first founder episode in our new format, and we are kicking it off with a banger.

Our guest is Will Wiseman, the co-founder and CEO of Climatize, and they have a crowdfunding platform to democratize investing in clean energy projects in the US, specifically smaller community solar projects and DERs.

that are often not funded by traditional P.E.

given how small in size they are.

Will's story starts when he was attending a climate protest in Spain and realized there are a lot of people who are frustrated at the lack of climate action opportunities for themselves and they don't really have many other options to, you know, do things on their own.

So they're just out there holding cardboard signs.

So he explains that story and how that spurred him into action to build Climatize.

Today he tells us that story and gives us some insights and advice that he's learned on his journey, including how they built their MVP, how he goes about hiring and some of his tips for raising capital.

So without any further delay, let's get into the episode.

All right, welcome to the show.

SPEAKER 3: Silas MĂ€hner

Will, how's it going today?

SPEAKER 1: Will Wiseman

It's doing great.

Honestly, thanks for having me on.

Looking forward to this conversation.

SPEAKER 3: Silas MĂ€hner

Yeah, super, super excited to have you on.

Obviously, you have seen a little bit about what you're doing already.

And I'm sure some people have seen what you're doing already because you've been getting around, you've been doing the rounds, man.

So excited to have you on.

Let's just get right into it.

So tell us who are you and what are you working on today?

SPEAKER 1: Will Wiseman

I'm Will Wiseman, CEO and co-founder of Climatize.

We are an investment platform that enables you to invest directly in renewable energy projects in your community and really earn a competitive yield while really seeing the impact of your money.

SPEAKER 3: Silas MĂ€hner

I like it.

You've definitely said this before.

I like it.

So how did you get into climate?

Like how did you find Climatize?

Like what's the story there?

SPEAKER 1: Will Wiseman

Yeah, I mean, I'm a lifelong climate professional.

And really, the inspiration came around my father is a marine biologist.

And so I was really exposed to kind of the natural world at a really young age.

And so I really, through that experience, saw the just rapid collapse of the marine ecosystems and kind of internalize that at a young age.

And so that kind of

Silas MĂ€hner

It's tough work.

It's super tough work.

And it gave me an enormous amount of respect for the people really out there on the front lines doing that hard work because no one puts solar where it's shady.

So you're out there in the sun every single day, really earning it.

And so through that, I really learned the trades from the ground up, got an engineering degree, worked in power markets, worked as a project manager for large scale electrical project management, and ultimately then kind of saw that my

Silas MĂ€hner

We had the aha moment for climatize when we joined the global climate strikes and saw over 100,000 people protesting for climate action.

And we're just struck by this sad realization that we're all going to go home, and nothing was going to be different.

And if you got 100,000 people together, and their best option is to make a cardboard sign,

That was a glaring problem.

And so from that, we realized, wow, you know, that was one of hundreds of cities.

And on that day, over 7.6 million people showed up for those strikes.

And so as we interviewed over 250 people from those strikes and asked them, you know, we're able to pull this kind of common thesis.

Climate change feels like an urgent problem, but people feel powerless to make a difference.

and the common thread of what could everyone contribute was capital.

And so from there, we thought, wow, how is it that we actually enable the everyday person to be an active stakeholder rather than a neutral bystander in the energy transition?

And from that, Blossom climatized.

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Be it through solar panels, how you travel, where you're sourcing your materials, the choices we make matter.

And I know you know that if you're listening to this podcast.

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I believe that marketing can be used for us rather than against us and I want to help you build the best brand possible so we can all pour our strength into solving the biggest issue of our time.

Whether you're a founder or an investor representing portfolio companies, let's work together to make sure your brand is seen, heard, and remembered the way it deserves to be.

And as a thank you to the CleanTechies community, I'm offering 20% off my newest launch, Branding Sessions, with code CleanTechies.

One word.

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Talk soon.

SPEAKER 4: Somil Aggarwal

Before before we go any further, I do, I'm not going to let Silas off the hook.

It actually has been, you know, an interesting transition.

Elephant Energy was one of our previous guests, and they talked about the difference between blue collar work and the importance of it.

And so it very much sounds like your experience is in a very, you know, in a very remarkable way, a genuine interest in the space that has very non traditional starts.

And so I just wanted to ask you really quick, as now a founder, you talked about how your influence as an engineer was siloed.

How do you look at building a company, given your background, essentially in climate before it was cool, and definitely in a way that most people aren't doing it?

SPEAKER 1: Will Wiseman

Yeah, yeah, that's a great question.

So I mean, ultimately, I mean, one driving principle for me is it all work deserves respect.

So I mean, from that, it's something that no matter what your role is in the company, I'm going to treat you with the same amount of respect.

And that's just like a basic human principle.

And then from there, you know, I think, especially as we look at the energy transition,

We're going to need a lot of blue collar work.

You know, it's not purely just the engineers, the scientists, you know, I think especially, for example, a platform like Climatebase really makes that really apparent that we need accountants, we need marketing folks, we need branding design across the whole gambit.

And so, you know, Silas is working on helping place those really talented people in the industry every day.

SPEAKER 3: Silas MĂ€hner

Shout out to my work.

Appreciate that, man.

No, I think when I say you're crazy for leaving the podcast live, it's really about the fact that it just sounds so cool to me.

I come from a non-engineering family, right?

So to me, all this stuff is just like, hashtag science.

I love it, right?

This is interesting.

So I guess what I'd like to understand is how, can you talk to us about building the platform?

Because how do you go from, it sounds like if I understand correctly, you don't have really a finance background, but you go and you build this platform to help fund these projects.

So can you talk a little bit about that, the logistical aspects and why do it?

Did you consider, did you think that there wasn't enough,

other options out there, that there was a really big hole here, you know, was it about scaling, etc.?

SPEAKER 1: Will Wiseman

Yeah, so I mean, I think as with any engineer, you have to be able to break down really complex problems into little bite sized pieces.

And I kid you not, when I first started this, I had to Google what is an ACH.

So I mean, from there, the fact that I'm a FinTech founder now is just I've spent a lot of time digging into this industry and self training myself.

And so from there, you kind of build this just product management plan, like you would in engineering from A to B, and there's a lot of gaps in there.

And so we were really lucky, very lucky to get grant funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority that kind of helped us get up onto our feet.

And then from there, we were able to secure pro bono legal representation by Morris & Forster.

And so shout out to MoFo.

They were an incredible enabler for us and helped us really navigate this labyrinth of the regulatory approval process that, you know, from the outside looking in, there is no template.

There is no guidance on ultimately like how you jump through those hoops.

And so, you know, through working with their securities team, we were able to navigate that

and ultimately secure our regulatory approval as an SEC-registered funding portal.

That took a year of, you know, paperwork, legal docs, just back and forth.

And it was an incredibly stressful period.

Frankly, it was the hardest obstacle that I've overcome in my professional career to date.

But we secured that license in April, launched the platform in May, and have already helped raise over $1.5 million for community solar projects across the country.

And so, you know, there's a lot of anticipation, a lot of foundation building, but getting the product out there and market and really then seeing the impact that we've been able to create.

I mean, that makes it all worth it at the end of the day.

SPEAKER 3: Silas MĂ€hner

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SPEAKER 4: Somil Aggarwal

Before we dive deeper into that, where are most of your projects located geographically?

SPEAKER 1: Will Wiseman

Yeah, so first project that we funded was in Massachusetts.

The next two were in New Jersey, and then now helping fund a portfolio of projects in Tennessee and North Carolina.

So kind of broadly across the whole country.

And really, what we're trying to do is enable people to fund the energy transition in their community, see the tangible impact of what they invest in.

And, you know, if you really want to help accelerate that transition on a community building nearby, you know, come and talk to us and we

We want to help see if there's a way to support this and capitalize clean energy in your community.

SPEAKER 4: Somil Aggarwal

This this approach is, you know, really organic, I would say based on your thesis, I think there's other players in the space and climate elemental accelerators one shout out to them, they have something called the square partnership model, where you're actively taking in community support to build and implement technologies like this, in your experience, what has been the biggest difference that you've seen in empowering communities, especially given that you're trying to democratize access essentially to this way of investing in the energy future?

SPEAKER 1: Will Wiseman

Yeah, I actually don't know about Elemental's program.

So I'm going to have to look into that one before I can really speak to it, because that would be great.

I really I've listened to Don Lippert's TEDx on how to engage communities in the energy transition and really do hope to partner with them in the future, because I think we're very mission aligned, given, you know, kind of her speech, and ultimately the values that they vocalize.

In contrast to say, some other platforms that are in the space, I would say like Raise Green, for example, they're really focused on startup equity, which

I think is a really important part in helping new climate companies really get to market and scale.

We're really focusing on the projects themselves and saying, here's a tangible kind of backing to your investment.

You're actually deploying a clean energy asset with this investment.

And from there, you know, the financial products are also different.

We are issuing debt products, they're issuing equity.

So with that, you know, you're getting kind of investment in a startup, which, you know, can be hit or miss, it can have a great yield, it can go to zero, a debt product is just very different, it has an actual physical asset that it's tied to cash flows as collateral, as well as assignment of the actual asset itself.

And so from that, you know, there's different risk profiles involved.

But also, you know, there's a tangible product at the end of the day.

You know, one of the things that our investors have loved as we've done customer discovery is that they could drive to maybe the town over and actually go see the Shakespeare Theater where the solar project is on.

And that kind of line of sight to their impact is something that's really stood out to them.

And it's kind of similar to maybe like a Kiva model.

SPEAKER 4: Somil Aggarwal

You know, one thing I wanted to ask specifically about that.

You obviously have an opportunity not only by mission, but by market space to be able to do something like this.

But that means that there weren't wasn't necessarily complete saturation of the space to begin with.

So and some of the investors in this space is private equity.

So just generally speaking, you know, at a high level, why do you think that, you know, private equity or other players weren't filling this gap in the first place?

SPEAKER 1: Will Wiseman

Yeah, definitely.

So one of the kind of themes that we've seen is that projects below $5 million really struggle to attract debt financing.

And that's because kind of time and transaction cost for these financial institutions is relatively similar on $100 million project as it is on a $5 million

And so because of that, they just kind of overlook this middle market of assets.

And so while there are some institutions that are, you know, getting involved with these kind of mid market community solar projects, what we found is that the pipeline of assets is vastly exceeding than the total capital available.

And so through there, we see a real opportunity to come and bring in kind of community driven finance in a way that hasn't really been available previously.

Top 25 community solar project developers in the industry are decently well capitalized, but there are 573 developers, like unique developers.

And below that, those developers are really kind of deploying their cash into building projects and then either building it off a balance sheet and then waiting for cash flows to kind of spit out a new project, or they're selling that asset off to NextEra or NextAmp.

And so because of that, they're either on this kind of perpetual treadmill of never really getting ahead, or they're in this vapor lock where all of their capital is locked up into a project.

And so we see a chance to come in and kind of break that up by providing debt financing on these projects where they can go and redeploy it to new assets.

SPEAKER 3: Silas MĂ€hner

So maybe just to clarify, I get this right.

So basically, aside from the large developers who do have balance sheet to do it, or maybe can maybe group a few of them together and get into a larger project size, you're basically saying there's a lot of smaller developers who don't have that.

And those projects could be accelerated and accelerate the deploying of more projects if there was more readily available smaller debt.

SPEAKER 1: Will Wiseman

Is that correct?


Yeah, definitely.

And I mean, you know, I talked even about like sub $5 million, but this is even more acute if you're talking about a $500,000 project.

Climatize Clean Energy

We're kind of in a phase where, you know, the technology has been commoditized.

We understand how to get these assets, you know, interconnection continues to be a challenge, but now I think a lot more attention is being shined on that problem.

And so, you know, ultimately now with the new FERC ruling, kind of cluster studies, hope to see that clear up a little bit.

And now it's just going to continue to be, how do we get these assets, you know, funded and deployed as quickly as possible?

SPEAKER 3: Silas MĂ€hner

Yeah, I mean, when you have a multi-billion dollar fund, it's really hard to deploy the money with, you know, a couple million dollar projects, right?

So it doesn't exactly add up, right?

Similar to the VC side.

I want to understand how you pitch the opportunity to invest to the consumers, because I want to understand, are people usually investing because they're climate driven and they're mission driven, or are they investing because they're looking for a financial return?

SPEAKER 1: Will Wiseman


So I guess before I kind of go in and kind of speak to pros, cons, risk, et cetera, I have to kind of caveat with the compliance thing.

You know, this is not investing advice.

Do your own homework.

Private investing is very risky.

You know, some of these assets are highly illiquid.

So now that that's out of the way, I got you compliance team.

So with that, what we found is that kind of the retail investor base is looking at it really from the impact investing perspective.

And what we found is that many people are sitting on a pool of capital that they really want to now go and deploy towards climate.

But most people's climate education is still at a very 101 level, like solar is good.

And so from that, you know, when they look at either ESG, which has gotten a lot of blowback, and they open the hood, and there's Chevron again, people abandon it.

If they look at this ETF where it's like, oh man, you know, is this the right one to do?

They get into kind of analysis paralysis, they go talk to their advisor, their advisor says, hey, what about this other yield, blah, blah, blah, they end up abandoning again.

When there's this really direct line of sight, like, hey, this is a solar project that is in a community nearby you, and you know that there's a human impact, you know, there's social impact, like, there's really that transparency.

That's where we've seen activation among the kind of retail and that smaller check size.

Then when we talk about kind of slightly more sophisticated lenders, they look at it from a kind of non-correlated asset perspective where they can kind of juice the yield on the bond side of their portfolio.

And from that, they kind of see, hey, I can get, you know, a nice little premium in contrast to a CD.

If I understand that a community solar project has 20 years of contracted cash flows, if I'm in a senior secured first lien position on this asset, and it has general liability insurance on it, then in that case, well, man, now that's actually a, you know, an exciting opportunity.

And so you have these kind of two perspectives of the way that people kind of deploy their money.

And we've been really excited to see that also, as a product has been out in market longer, and kind of the network begins to mature a little bit, gather a little bit more density and momentum.

We've seen average wallet sizes really grow pretty rapidly, seeing high repeat investment as well.

And so that's been kind of really positive and encouraging user behavior.

SPEAKER 3: Silas MĂ€hner

Hey there.

Quick break to remind any founders or VCs listening.

If you are looking for deal flow, seeking to raise funding, looking for partners to help service your needs, or perhaps you're looking for corporate investment partners, feel free to reach out to us through our Slack channel, which can be found in the description.

Because we meet a lot of people in this space, we set aside time each week to make introductions to the various people that we encounter.

This is something we do free of charge in order to help these incredible companies solving climate change to scale.

Looking forward to hearing from you in the Slack channel.

Yeah, interesting.

I think this is, I do appreciate that because I think it's interesting to understand there's a lot of people talking about, you can't get, I mean, in this case, it's a little different, but most people don't want to buy something just because of the climate impacts, right?

They're not going to, they're not going to be like, oh, I'm going to buy that just because it's better for the environment if it's more, if it's $2 more.

But in this case, they're actually, there's something attached to it, but also it's an impact investing.

So I appreciate that.

In terms of, I guess this is a little bit selfish, but in terms of building your team, can you talk about the experience of building a team, right?

Whether it's a founding team or early team members, how do you pitch it to them?

Any advice around what to do and what not to do for other people in the early stages?

Because there are a lot of early stage climate startups right now.

SPEAKER 1: Will Wiseman

In terms of, so really specific, like focused on team building.

SPEAKER 3: Silas MĂ€hner


SPEAKER 1: Will Wiseman

Sure, yeah.

So I would say our earliest hires came from our network.

Those were people that were kind of trusted referrals that often were local.

And that kind of added an element of us being able to really work on this together.

I'm lucky, I'm relatively close to the Bay Area and Santa Cruz.

And so there's a decent density of talent.

And at the same time, Santa Cruz has a good kind of ethos that aligns with climate work.

And so we were able to get our, our CTO here local.

And then from there, I've actually used Climatebase a lot for our hiring.

I find it to be really good like mission aligned people that are very talented and are now looking to kind of align their work with impact.

And that's in contrast to LinkedIn, where it's been

A really kind of broad net, maybe you get more exposure, but kind of like talent quality and cultural alignment has been low.

And so through that, really like leveraging network first and foremost, you know, we just brought on a CMO, Elias Frankel, he was a reference from my mentor, Brian Burson, who founded Wonder Capital.



SPEAKER 3: Silas MĂ€hner

Hey there, thanks for listening to this episode.

If you made it this far, it's likely that you're enjoying the show, so I wanted to ask your help.

If you're enjoying it, please give us a review on Apple Podcasts and share with somebody in the same industry who might find this interesting.

And if you're interested in getting summaries of these episodes, go subscribe to our newsletter that comes out on LinkedIn and Substack.

Links can be found in the description.

Thanks for your help in growing the reach of this show.

That's quite interesting to hear.

I think there's one thing that I like what you've said is interesting to me is that

You brought in somebody, obviously it was through your network, which is very good, right?

You built a network and did something valuable.

A lot of people do not build the network, right?

They get lucky maybe through some of their mentors at school or something, but you brought in somebody who knows exactly what to do and who can build it, right?

And this is something that, not to criticize too many people, but there's a lot of people hiring like, oh,

You know, they did it in a completely different industry.

They'll be able to figure it out here.

And in some cases that is true, but in some cases it's not.

And in particular, I've noticed that the really hard to decarbonize sectors that are like manufacturing and they're kind of like a very old school type of culture.

You really need somebody who is an insider to an extent.

So that's interesting.

I appreciate that perspective and it's really good to hear.

Climatebase is doing very good work.

Got to give them credit, right?

They've been very helpful.

I think there's a lot of other resources too that are just quite good at helping sift through the people who are mildly interested in climate because it's a buzzword versus the people who are willing to put their money where their mouth is.

SPEAKER 1: Will Wiseman

Yeah, 100%.

And I also think, you know, I've made my own hiring mess ups, like it's tough, I think at best, even the best of the best, maybe bat 500, like 50% on that front.

And the hardest thing is, you know, you got to find that cultural alignment, because, you know, it takes a lot of resources, time, energy, money to go and hire people.

And, you know, time is money.

And so if you're just looking at, you know, reps and having to refill a position because a person was cultural fit, that's an enormous weight on a company.

And so

really like defining that culture early on so that you can screen for people like in the funnel in that process to really determine like whether they're going to be a good fit for your company is table stakes.

Like that's what you have to start with.

And then from there, the skills have to be, you know, top notch.

I mean, you frankly, we made the mistake.

So like we started this project, like pre-climatize in the US, when I was doing my master's degrees in Europe, and we gathered a small army of like 14 interns, and it was not

Did Not Work.

Silas MĂ€hner 134

SPEAKER 4: Somil Aggarwal

Before we transition into getting to learn from you and your experience, I do want to talk a little bit about the product, specifically how it grew.

I think that definitely deserves some light here.

So obviously, you mentioned building out your technology, while figuring out all of the grant process was incredibly challenging.

But you've been able to get past that and grow your product.

So can you just tell me, what have some of the biggest challenges been for you?

in trying to grow your technology now that you have a build and how have you overcome them?

SPEAKER 1: Will Wiseman

Yeah, definitely.

So, I mean, as we think about kind of a two sided marketplace in a regulated industry and renewables, which is equally regulated, like we really chose like the black diamond of all companies to really like, we're talking like a skiing analogy, we did not go easy on this one.

And so from there, I would say first biggest challenge was the regulatory approvals.

I mean, oftentimes, as an entrepreneur, you want to kind of

Make a spit and duct tape version of your product to be able to test.

And so, you know, we were able to get a Figma out there.

And actually, the very first way that we went to validate this product was to try and crowdfund $2,500 to fund a small solar project in Kenya.

And we did it through GoFundMe.

And actually, that was how we got our first seed check because the co-founder of GoFundMe like discovered us through that experience.

But then, you know, now as we have product and market as we're getting out there,

You know, you look at this kind of two-sided marketplace and you go, okay, I have to solve for supply first.

And so you have to go and get the projects.

You actually create that kind of pipeline, validate that there's interest and that people would even want to like raise capital in this way.

And ultimately also, where do you sit in that cap stack?

Where can you come in at the right phase?

As we then solve for that problem, then now we're kind of shifting over, really focusing on demand generation and ultimately like investor and capital acquisition.

You know, from that now, we found that frankly, the best way to do it is to be on podcasts like this, come in and have an honest conversation so that you can, you know, hear who I am.

You can like, see that I'm a credible person that I know this industry and like, I can speak to it in fluency.

And from there, to raise this first $1.5 million, we've spent $0 on marketing.

And it's because I've been running around getting the story out there and really showing like, you know, we're building a movement.

Do you want to be part of this?

You know, this is not a like kind of sham sale.

Here I am, you can hear my voice, you can see my face and you know, getting this this message out there to show people like, hey, this is here and this is now and this is a new way to actually invest in the energy transition.

And so

Will Wieseman

SPEAKER 4: Somil Aggarwal

And so, you know, I think we're coming into the last third of the show.

I've loved everything you said so far.

So really want to break this down for the audience to get some of your great insight and walk away from this, like having really understood the things that you've been able to learn.

So could you just tell us your, you know, generally speaking, top three pieces of advice, bite size, minute long, just what would you really if you were a founder today, with none of the experience you've had this far, what could you tell yourself to make that experience better?

SPEAKER 1: Will Wiseman

Mm hmm.


So I mean, if I went back to the beginning of the fundraising journey, I would tell myself kind of calm down.

It's a sales process.

In the beginning, I took it very personally as people passed.

And, you know, that was like a very challenging kind of emotional roller coaster.

Nowadays, as I've raised a little bit more money, I mean, we've raised 1.25 million for ourselves.

That's like very early days.

Silas MĂ€hner 134 How Climatize is Democratizing

Then I would say you got to love your mission.

I mean, some founders can do it just purely for the cash and kind of rinse and repeat companies.

Like for me, this is one that I want to make really, really big and it's something that's like very near to my heart.

And so like that is how I get up and absolutely like attack this problem every single day.

So like, that's kind of like maybe number two for me.

And then

I think also, you know, the earliest hires, I mean, I wouldn't necessarily call my co-founder a hire, but like having her as then ultimately like the partner in this journey and having kind of complimentary personalities, you don't want to have like two yes people that think on exactly the same wavelength.

Like, I think you want to be kind of yin and yang in a way that helps you look around, you know, corners kind of dodge landmines.

And that has been a real enabler in terms of

finding the right people to go on this journey with, and also getting rid of the people who are the wrong people to go on this journey with.

SPEAKER 3: Silas MĂ€hner

Yeah, I think it's really hard to do that.

A lot of companies don't want to be considered jerks or, you know, rude people.

But I think that if you look at, I mean, I'm a huge fan of the book, obviously, No Rules Rules, by Netflix hiring and culture, how they how they deal with talent.

I think it's, it's quite, I mean, there may be some things I disagree with, but generally speaking, I like that take, right?

I appreciate that.

One point I'd love to add on.

SPEAKER 1: Will Wiseman

One point I'd love to add on that is like, you know, we'd look at team building like a professional sports team.

Like, are you going to show up early?

Are you going to watch a tape?

Are you going to put in the reps?

And ultimately, like when you look at a professional sports team, like if you're in the World Cup and your goalie shows up drunk, like you're going to put in the next best goalie.

You know, it's not a family in the sense that like, oh, it's Thanksgiving.

Uncle Greg showed up drunk.

It's just Uncle Greg.

Like, no, you're out there to win the World Cup.

Like, if you're not, then I don't think you should be at least the CEO.

You know, maybe you could be in another role.

But like, I have to make really tough decisions about like the people that work with us.

And it's because I wear the weight of knowing that I'm paying everyone else in the company, their salary, like, we have to put food on their families tables, like we're accountable to our stakeholders, like our shareholders are a you know,

Will Wieseman

SPEAKER 3: Silas MĂ€hner

No, I appreciate that.

I think it's very unpopular sometimes to talk about like hustling, which is really silly, obviously, but especially if you're really trying to solve the climate issue, how can you get people

How can you solve it if people are like, oh, like all I care about is how much PTO I get, right?

Like you need to be willing to put in the effort, obviously have the flexibility and be human about it, but not, you know, like you said, not letting Cousin Greg.

I'm going to say Cousin Greg because I'm a fan of succession.

But anyways, so, okay, cool.

Very cool.

So let's go on to, I guess, when you kind of look forward, what are the biggest challenges that you see specifically in growing the business and scaling?

What are the big things you're working on?

SPEAKER 1: Will Wiseman

Yeah, definitely.

So I mean, right now our just big challenges investor acquisition and capital acquisition, ultimately, as we go to, you know, get these projects funded, you know, that's why I'm here having a conversation running the laps is to make people aware and show them they're like, hey, we exist, come and take a look at climatize, see the opportunities on the platform.

You know, that's kind of the name of the game, we are in the capital business.

And so from there, it's


SPEAKER 3: Silas MĂ€hner

I think it's interesting.

I would assume to an extent, it'll be a little easier for some of the people who are skeptical when they start seeing the returns on it, because there's a reason why infrastructure funds invest in this stuff, right?

It's basically guaranteed money, right?

The interconnection issue can be

can be difficult, but it's essentially, you know, it's pretty, pretty straightforward, right?

SPEAKER 1: Will Wiseman

Yeah, we just returned capital back to investors at the beginning of this month.

So at that point, you know, we've already helped put capital to work and return capital.

So, you know, at this point now we've run water through the pipes of the platform, been able to provide people the returns that they were promised on those debt obligations.

And, you know, now it's about, okay, just scale and grow.

SPEAKER 3: Silas MĂ€hner

Yeah, I am actually really curious to see how platforms like this will play a role.

And I don't know if you say convincing, or maybe that's not the right word, but getting the, let's just call it the people that I'm from, right, the red states, the people who are from the country who are like, ah, you know, climate change isn't real, all these people like that, how it will get them involved, because if they can start seeing, hey, this actually, like, doesn't make any sense why I wouldn't be invested in these types of things.

I wonder if it'll play a role.

Have you seen anything in particular that that indicates that this is helpful in that regard?

Just out of curiosity.

SPEAKER 1: Will Wiseman

So I mean, right now, the one of the offerings that's live on our platform now is in North Carolina and Tennessee.

And so through that, you know, we're really excited to be helping bring projects to life in states that, you know, wouldn't kind of immediately seem like they'd be aligned on climate.

But, you know, for example, one of the projects is a farmer who's been a chicken farmer for like 20 years.

and he has the heaviest accent, but he's there talking about how, you know, he's hedging against energy prices that he knows that this is a big deal for his kids in global warming.

And so I think one of the things in particular with climate and the conversation around it is that it's often not something that people kind of wear on their sleeve as something that is very front and center and things that they're worried about or that they care about.

And so, you know, we're already thinking about kind of product features and implementations.


You can really see who in your community are also investing alongside you for these projects so that, you know, next time like we see each other, I can be like, Oh, hey, Silas, I didn't know that you, you know, cared about climate.

I didn't know that you invested in that, you know, solar for Shakespeare theater project as well.

Like, that's very cool.


Before we

SPEAKER 4: Somil Aggarwal

Before we wrap up, I just want to second that I think collective action, like you mentioned, is one of the biggest like trends that we've seen, especially in financial investing.

Because I think a lot of people are willing to put capital towards solutions like this, but haven't previously been able to visualize it.

So it's an interesting social phenomenon.

I think media, like you talked about doing this media run, getting in front of people, media also has a really interesting influence on that.

So it's great to hear about your experiences, kind of really trying to also push forward in technology, because I think we're trying to do the same thing through the podcast media.

SPEAKER 1: Will Wiseman

So yeah, no, I think you guys are doing a great job.

SPEAKER 3: Silas MĂ€hner

Appreciate that.

It's a lot of work.

I think we talked about that beforehand.

But any final thoughts to people?

Where can they reach you?

Like any other things that you want to talk about that we didn't that we didn't bring up?

SPEAKER 1: Will Wiseman

Yeah, definitely.

So I mean, Climatize is available in the iOS app store.

We're going to be launching Android in a web platform soon.

So, you know, please go give it a download, go check it out.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Will Wiseman, or reach out to me at

You know, just would love to hear feedback from people as they test out the product.

You know, we're always looking to learn from you, our customers.

And, you know, that's just so important in this journey.

And yeah, you know, I hope to fund some clean energy projects with you.

SPEAKER 3: Silas MĂ€hner

Let's get it done, man.

Nice one.


His Career Journey
How he Looks at Impact Work 
FinTech Founding as an Engineer
Why PE Isn't Filling the Need
How they "Pitch" to Consumers
Hiring & Talent 
Building the Product
Advice to Founders
Future Challenges
On Making it "Real" to Climate Deniers