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Scaling Green Power With Women's Investment

Written by Gaiascope Co-Founders Lauren Kuntz, CEO, and Jess Stiles, COO

Gaiascope is dedicated to averting climate change. We accomplish this by making clean energy projects so profitable it stimulates greater investment in clean energy. The faster we assist clients in realizing greater value from clean energy, the faster clean energy will grow.

Sounds easy, doesn't it?

How we do it: we are constructing the 'brain' to drive automated decision-making in complex electricity markets, making dispatch and trading easy for our clients and generating millions of dollars in incremental profits. What people don’t understand is how massive and misunderstood electricity markets are: $400 billion a year in the US alone, with inefficiencies and volatility that make them ripe with opportunities to make money.

Gaiascope graduated from Y Combinator in 2019 with a lot of partner support and a lot of buzz because we are so unusual, and not just because we are one of the few female-led energy firms. We raised $2.3 million in the week following Y Combinator's Demo Day. At the same time, we received numerous "Nos" from people and funds (we pitched to thousands of investors) for whom we know Gaiascope would have been an ideal investment. Even though we had great success, we still deeply felt that rejection, that feeling that people weren’t understanding the true scale of our opportunity as we hoped.

We approached our next round with that experience in mind. We understood we wanted individuals around us, especially on our cap table, who will be there when things become tough and will treat us the same way when things are going well. That's why How Women Invest was a natural fit for us. HWI may only be $250,000 on our cap table, but they punch way beyond their monetary weight.

So many VCs try to sell you on the value they bring beyond the money invested - and very few genuinely deliver on that promise. We were completely blown away by How Women Invest. We were skeptical at first because How Women Invest promised a lot: a weekly observer who would bring resources to the table, a promise to be useful, a promise to be additive, a promise to be great mentors at the highest level, and a promise to roll up their sleeves and get in the weeds when we needed it. They have kept every promise. They have repeatedly brought seasoned senior executives who have gone through the trenches to our table.

At the same time, we are two female co-founders and executives in an overwhelmingly male-dominated industry. We rely on our How Women Invest observer and team to address questions we might not be able to ask other investors who haven't been in our shoes, faced the same challenges, or even look like us.

One thing we've truly liked is HWI's comprehension of our business model. Our philosophy and life perspective have shaped much of our progress to date. We both grew up in low-income backgrounds and have had to be extremely self-sufficient our entire lives, professionally, academically, and personally. We manage Gaiascope with this mindset: first, prove yourself by laying the groundwork for the firm, and then raise money and create revenue based on the promise of what works, not simply a notion that may or may not play out. Because so many of them have had to prove it along their professional paths, the HWI team simply "gets'' it.

Women investing in and then assisting other women to thrive is a fantastic dynamic. In our experience, the women we've met through How Women Invest and elsewhere professionally are predisposed to be collaborative and good listeners. with a less aggressive yet more proactive approach than male dominated ecosystems. Instead of pushing us to accomplish something, the ladies in our group are pulling us in the right direction. This dynamic is quite useful since it accelerates things and moves us forward with less friction.

Gaiascope has lofty ambitions to have a massive, positive worldwide impact. We can only do this with the aid of like-minded and valued investors who contribute all of their intellectual and experiential value to the table and work hard to make their money yield a wonderful outcome. We are as connected with How Women Invest as they are with us, and we, along with our other investors, are working together to make the world a better place.


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