Like most ambitious entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley Bloom Energy CEO KR Sridhar wants to change the world. Now where have we heard that line before? It’s the ubiquitous rally cry for thousands of Google/ Facebook/eBay wannabes around the world. But what makes KR Sridhar different?
How about $400 Million in venture capital from the likes of Kleiner Perkins’ John Doerr; a 100-strong team of PhD. rocket scientists (like himself) and top engineers from multiple disciplines who’ve been working secretly for eight years; and a client list that includes Google, eBay, Staples and FedEx. Add to that, enthusiastic backing from Arnold Schwarzenegger, splashy coverage from CBS’s 60 Minutes, and Time Magazine which last December dubbed him one of eight “Tech pioneers who will change your life.”
Yet, it does sound too good to be true. Not surprisingly, the naysayers are aplenty. A skeptical article in the Economist said there were many reasons for questioning the company’s “hype”, including the difficulty of shrinking the fuel cell components, and competition from the likes of GE. In a typically British fashion, it mocked Bloom Energy’s ambitions, referring to “flower power” and “fuel’s gold” in the article.
But if we look back a few years; before KR Sridhar emerged from stealth to become the Steve Jobs of Green Energy – more substantive information emerges. He was quoted in Tom Friedman’s New York Times column as saying,“We are thrivers. Thrivers are constantly looking for new opportunities to seize and lead and be number one. That is what America is about.” In an exclusive interview at the Bloom Energy headquarters, I asked him to explain this comment, his motivations and why he believes his company really can change the world. Distributed power that is reliable, and affordable are key parts of his strategy.
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To see the widely viewed Part I of the Bloom Energy interview where KR discusses the company’s technology and efficiency click here
Excerpt from the Interview Transcript
“This is a mission about changing the world because energy is a passport to a better living. For the rest of the world that does not have access to power, access to electricity, to give them that is empowering them to a better life. So if the solution works and you make it affordable and you can distribute it all over the world then definitely you have changed the world. So … if that’s your goal and you achieve that goal, clearly given the size of the energy market, it’s in trillions not in billions and given how many people you can impact with this kind of stuff, this has to be a prominent company. So, I would say being the number one corporation is an offshoot of achieving your larger mission.” KR Sridhar, CEO Bloom Energy
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