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Episode 26 Transcript: How the Property Industry is Bailing Itself Out with VC

The complete transcript for episode 26.

Episode 26 Transcript: How the Property Industry is Bailing Itself Out with VC

Molly Wood Voice-Over:

Welcome to Everybody in the Pool, the podcast for the climate economy. We dive deep into the climate crisis and come up with solutions. I'm Molly Wood.

This week … something a little different … instead of an entrepreneur … I'm talking to an actual investor …

someone in charge of directing a LOT of money … in a space we've talked a little bit about already … real estate … buildings … and the built environment.

And this is interesting all by itself … we'll talk about some cool new technologies for buildings and property and whatnot … but what I really like about this story …

is that the fund itself … is funded largely by the real estate *industry …

Because as the climate crisis gets more acute … and unavoidable … industries themselves … are trying to figure out creative ways … to fund solutions … to their own problems.

Here we go …

Greg Smithies:

my name is Greg Smithies and I'm the co-head of Climate investing at a fund called, uh, fifth Wall.

Molly Wood:

I think probably best because you're the first investor to come on, everybody in the pool.

to explain Fifth Wall because it's a, it's a bit of a unique beast in the investing world.

Greg Smithies:

Yeah, ab, absolutely. So, uh, fifth Wall these days, uh, about a three and a half billion dollar, um, uh, under management venture capital fund. Uh, very focused on what we call the built environment. So think of that as real estate and construction, a little bit of, uh, infrastructure, basically, uh, things with atoms that were constructed.

Right. Um, and the interesting thing about where Fifth Wall's money comes from is that roundabout half of it comes from very traditional people who give money to venture capital firms. So think pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, things like that. But the other half of the people who give money to Fifth Wall is a very large consortium of, um, corporations in and around this space.

So you've got 115 of them, they're in 17 countries. Um, and these are people who own or operate buildings and, uh, and real estate, people who build buildings as well. And then other people who sort of touch adjacent to this, this industry. So think insurance companies, because there's $326 trillion of buildings out there, and they're worth less if they're underwater on fire, for example.

Right. Um, and, uh, building materials companies and the mining industry because 60% of the world's steel goes into buildings. Right. So really what the, the mission here is to get the industry together. Um, as a consortium to go and invest in the technologies that A, can make the industry better, but b, decarbonize it.

And then I run the decarbonizing side of the house.

Molly Wood:

And so Fifth Wall was set up with this original mission around buildings and what we sometimes call prop tech and, and real estate innovations. And then the climate of that practice Is relatively new. Can you talk about why that was sort of a natural outgrowth and then what, where it came from?

Greg Smithies:

Yep, absolutely. So I'll kind of give you two parts of the origin story because it actually, uh, came from two sides. There's the fifth wall side of the story, and there's my side of the story. So I'll maybe start with my side of the story, which is, um, prior to this I was, um, uh, I started my investment in career at a fund called Battery Ventures.

People might be familiar with that. It's an old school, sort of Boston based venture capital fund. I spent most of my time there doing, uh, what at the time was very, uh, very unsexy stuff. It was industrial tech. So I was looking at construction, manufacturing, heavy industry type things, really, you know, businesses that need to build factories that trade on EBITDA multiples, uh, you know, basically cash flow, uh, no offense to the rest of the venture capital industry, but they spent the last 20 years not being able to spell ebitda.

Right. So it was a very different background in, uh, in investing. Um, but that's how I originally got into the climate side of things because this was sort of 2008, 2009, uh, clean Tech 1.0 had sort of been pillaged. Um, and frankly, clean investing wasn't sexy anymore. So battery was hiding a lot of that stuff underneath this, this industrial tech moer.

Um, and I did that for about, uh, for about five years on the operating side. Um, and that's really where I got into this idea that, hey, climate is coming.

Meaning Cleantech one, 1.0 may may have been a little bit of a dud, but there was an impending tidal wave of things that needed to happen around climate. And anytime there's a tidal wave of, you know, uh, uh, industries clashing or colliding or something like an energy transition going on, that's when

Frankly, people make a lot of money, right? It's those sort of crises,

and mobilization of capital, which is when as a venture capitalist, you really should be pouncing on it. So I'd love to say that I got into this specifically for, uh, ethical reasons, but it was that I saw this sort of impending tidal wave of, of money moving.

Molly Wood:

Yeah, I want to back you up a little bit and say, what was it about digging tunnels, flame throwers, and putting chips in people's head that made you go, you,

you missed the connection.

Greg Smithies:

So, um, in Cleantech 1.0, it was that many of these technologies, so I think solar and wind at the time, um, were not economically competitive. Meaning, you know, solar at

Molly Wood:

for this audience, we should probably say what we mean.

we mean when we say Clean tech 1.0. 'cause I think people are not entirely

Greg Smithies:

Yep, absolutely. So, so there was a brief moment, let's call it, and I think the dates are probably, uh, a little bit, uh, squishy here, but let's call it from maybe 2003 to maybe 2009, um, when there was a, a very big explosion in investment around. What at the time was called Cleantech, right? Today we call it climate tech, but at the time it was called Cleantech and they were, this was the first iteration of, of things like solar manufacturing.

And we saw a bunch of companies that did well out of that, think First Solar, a bunch of very big smoking craters. Think Cylindra. Um, you know, the, the Biden administrator, sorry, not the Biden Obama administration got some. For some of these big losses. But the point is that we had this golden little moment where a lot of money was flowing into these technologies, and then the 2008 sort of financial crisis happened, and many of these technologies just didn't make economic sense.

You know, Sona was 10 times more expensive than it is today, and so many of these businesses just weren't economically viable. And so we had a massive crush in the entire industry and effectively . Clean tech or climate tech investing disappeared for round about a decade because of this. Right. Um, and that's the sort of nuclear winter that many of us on the side, uh, have lived through.

Um, the reason really I started inspiration and I started looking into it in 2020. Was that, uh, the technology. So, so battery technology and electric vehicle technology. Had really arrived at that point and continues to every year get better in terms of the operating costs of an ICE vehicle, of an EV, excuse me, being superior and cheaper than an ICE vehicle, internal combustion engine vehicle.

And, uh, these vehicles are now, uh, purpose built. They will satisfy the demands of the operator. In terms of range, in terms of being able to carry payload. And so, that combination of factors, Uh, you know, led me to, to start the company, Because what I saw was, Despite all those factors being true, The, the decision makers, in most of these companies, Would need to have a complete separate set of skills and capabilities than they do have, To adopt electric vehicles en masse.

And so what that means is, um, There's a, there's a, there's a role in most companies, or in many companies I should say, that have a, that have significant transportation assets. There's a role called the fleet manager. And that person, uh, does exactly what, what you might expect. They, they are responsible for figuring out the transportation needs of the company, uh, procuring the right vehicles.

And whether they purchase them, or they lease them, or they get a loan. Uh, you know, all those are on the table, depending on the company. And they then, uh, work with the drivers. Who, who may be somebody that's a, uh, sales rep who takes the vehicle home at night. Or it may be a service business that has, uh, electricians or, or cable installers that are taking, you know, leaving the vehicle each night at a depot and come back, pick it up, go about their daily work.

Um, in every case, that fleet manager is responsible for two things, really, at the end of the day. Uh, enabling the employees to do their jobs. I'd say three things. Enabling the employees to do their jobs safely and at the lowest possible cost. And, um, and so when it comes to that job, they have developed, uh, you know, sophisticated systems and deep knowledge.

Many fleet managers have been fleet managers in the industry for many, many years, if not decades. And they've developed pattern recognition and skill sets that are all kind of accustomed to an ICE vehicle. Where you buy a vehicle, you throw the keys to the driver, and fueling it is somebody else's problem.

It's just, and frankly, it's not a problem, because everybody knows how to pull into a gas station. When you talk about adopting electric vehicles, there's a whole new set of challenges to face, and a whole new set of expertise needed. Okay. Uh, which vehicle can, can, can satisfy this particular job in terms of the range and really climate adjusted range where, you know, in, in the location in which it's going to be used.

Um, how do I charge that vehicle?

Molly Wood:

I should have you clarify there. Meaning if you have a bunch of fleet of EVs in cold weather, for example, your range is going to be reduced and you sort of have to plan for that. Or in hot weather. Exactly. Yeah.

Greg Smithies:

To clarify like, um, In fact, we, because we now have a lot of data on a lot of EVs, we found that certain EVs, their energy usage is actually much higher in summer, in a, in, in certain parts of the east coast, east coast, humid summer because of the air conditioning load than in, in winter interest.

And so the interesting, interesting the range degradation in, again, certain EVs in certain locations. Is, is higher in summer. And so, um, so yeah, what I meant by climate adjusted range is exactly that. A given vehicle going the same mileage will perform differently in Minneapolis than it will in Austin, Texas.

And so, um, part of the, part of the special sauce is figuring out which vehicle and which location. But then they've got to know, in addition to that, they've got to figure out where am I going to charge this? How often does it need to be charged? And, and what's that going to cost me? And relying on public charging for a commercial fleet is usually the option of last resort.

It's not, it's really not what they want to do because it's, you know, tends to be unreliable. You don't know if a charger is going to be available when you get there. Um, the prices are high, much higher than they would be if you kind of set up your own charging. Um, so you're asking a fleet manager to suddenly become an energy expert.

Right. And I think that's a tall order. And, and, and so what I realized back in 2020. When I started looking at this was that to successfully electrify commercial transportation at scale requires this integration of disciplines and expertise from, from fleet management to vehicle finance to energy markets and project development and project construction.

And those things don't normally sit under one roof, nor do those people, frankly, normally even communicate, right? I mean, they're just, they're different silos.

Molly Wood:

And then on top of that, like, just to sort of even complexify it slightly further, on top of that, you have to be up on a lot of brand new car brands, for example, you know, new types of vehicles that didn't even exist before.

I mean, I don't have a fleet and I'm already kind of daunted.

Greg Smithies:

Yeah, I know, exactly. No, and you're not alone. This is, this is exactly The issue because, um, you know, the traditional automotive sector, uh, is always evolving, of course, but it evolves slowly, right? People, the new Camry is not that much different than the old Camry.

Um, when you're talking about electric vehicles, the rate of change right now and the pace of innovation and the pace of introduction of new models, uh, and new, frankly, new, new automakers, um, not to mention charging hardware makers, charging management software makers. Uh, it, it, it is a constantly evolving landscape and, and it's changing very quickly.

And so to ask any, any, uh, non-expert, to get up to speed and then stay up to speed on an ongoing basis, uh, from, you know, on, on all of the different changes and, and, and know which vehicle, which charger, which, uh, incentive, you know, and the incentive landscape is changing quickly, right. Applies best to a given application that that's a tall order.

And so we set out to build that team of experts from from each part of it. Uh, and so I like to call us the motley crew of fleet electrification. You know, we are a strange mix of people like myself that come out of clean energy and project development and infrastructure, uh, combined with people that come out of fleet management, uh, you know, vehicle finance and vehicle leasing.

Uh, car rental and asset management. It's, it, it is a, it is a strange mix, but you need all those ingredients, uh, in the stew to successfully electrify, uh, commercial fleets at scale.

Molly Wood:

Right. And so it sounds like at its core, what you provide is, is kind of effectively a consulting product. It's a roadmap?

Greg Smithies:

we are certainly, uh, consulting in some ways and advising our customers and potential customers all the time to help them better chart their path to, uh, our goal, which is 100 percent electrification.

Right. But no, we are not a consulting firm. We're actually Absolutely. Uh, an asset owner and a, and a provider of a turnkey solution, we're, we're the implementer.

Molly Wood:

Ah, okay.

Greg Smithies:

So what that means is we go to business, um, really with two different business lines. One is, uh, what is called a, a fleet management company and frankly, um, we, we're a different type of fleet management company, we're, we're, we are, uh, the world's first EV only fleet management company.

And, and we call that an EFMC as opposed to a FMC, which is, which is the FMC is the, the acronym for fleet management companies that has been, that has been used for a long time. And in that business, what we do is we work with those fleet managers and, and in some cases in smaller companies, it might really be with the CO, COO or the CEO to, uh, identify the right vehicle, procure the right vehicle, lease them.

So we buy, purchase and own the electric vehicle and lease it to the companies. And then we provide a, a whole raft of fleet management solutions around those vehicles to simplify their deployment. And that's everything from things that are new to the FMC industry. So, so charging solutions to make sure that they can be fueled reliably, safely, quickly.

Um, as well as, uh, what are, what one would think of as traditional fleet management solutions. So, um, things like managed maintenance on those vehicles. Uh, tolls and violations, tracking, uh, title and registration, you know, more traditional fleet services. So, so that's one business. And then we have a second business that, that actually will build, own, and operate, uh, high speed charging infrastructure.

Oh, okay. That serves, uh, either, you know, a single fleet or in most cases, uh, it serves multiple fleets that need a high speed charging solution to, to satisfy their operational needs.

Molly Wood:

Gotcha. So. This is a good opportunity to clarify even further that even if you were just buying regular old ice vehicles, gas powered cars like you always had, it would still it is still complicated enough that companies don't do this in house.

They, for the most

part, or exclusively, they, they work with these fleet management companies to get these cars. So you were like, we can come in and replace that company. With a better one.

Greg Smithies:

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, uh, for, for some subset of the fleets. Yeah. So, so, so perhaps it would be helpful for me to, um, segment the market a little bit.

Right. Um, so we work with companies as diverse as, uh, you know, fortune 500 companies where the vehicle is another tool for the employee, but it's not the core service or product. So think again of your cable company, your telecom company. Okay. Uh, a last mile delivery company, right? They have a core product, which is, which is internet service, for example.

The van, in that case, is nothing different to their, to their company than the computers they hand to their employees or the cell phones. It's a, it's a tool for the employee to conduct their job. And in that case, for most of those companies, yes, it is, it is, today they will work with a fleet management company, not, not all of them, but most of them, because, You know, they want to, there's no reason for them to own and manage those vehicles.

They have somebody else do that, just like they lease their copiers, and they lease their computers, and they lease everything else. Um, then there's a, then there are companies like, uh, taxi companies, and some, some, uh, freight and logistics companies, where the core product is transportation. And in that case, traditionally they have not worked with a fleet management company.

They might work with a bank to finance those vehicles. But the actual, uh, servicing of the vehicles and the management of the vehicles, uh, has been done by them, by them because actually they, you know, that is their core business. And now, even for those companies, I will say that when it comes to electric vehicles, many of those companies that traditionally might have owned and serviced their vehicles because they don't necessarily know or want to today take on that burden and perceived risk, they'll, they'll ask us.

To come in and lease them those vehicles and, and, and manage the, the fleet with, with managed services. So, so in that case, they are actually changing their behavior because ICE vehicles, sorry, EVs are new. And because, you know, electrification and, and electrification infrastructure is something they don't necessarily want to, uh, kind of own themselves.

Molly Wood Voice-Over:

Time for a quick break. When we come back … why Josh … who's a longtime clean energy guy … determined that THIS … was the most impactful way climate solution he wanted to work on … and the dirty little secret about why … it's not happening in other fleet management companies.

Welcome back to Everybody in the Pool. We're talking with Josh Green … CEO of Inspiration Mobility … about replacing THOUSANDS of cars on the road with EVs … all at once.

Molly Wood:

I want to go back to the origin story. You mentioned that you came from clean energy and kind of got interested in this. Give me give me a little more about your background. And you know, what was the moment that because that this could be seen as a bit of a departure? What was the moment that said this is really the opportunity for you?

Greg Smithies:

Yeah, well, actually, I would say it's it's not so much a departure, but an evolution. Um, in that I have, uh, Been in the clean and clean energy and climate industry since, uh, since really 2000. So, so going on on 25 years, um, and in that time, uh, I have been an investor in, in both, uh, energy projects.

So think about, you know, wind, wind farms and, and, uh, solar, both utility scale and, and what's known as CNI commercial industrial solar. So on, on building rooftops. Uh, I've been a venture capitalist in technology companies that are, that were attacking climate change and, um, and I've also been a venture backed entrepreneur before.

and I have the pattern recognition from seeing both wind that I started working with in the mid nineties and solar that I started working with in kind of the.

The, the early noughts, so like 2007, 8, 9, um, go from kind of geeky environmental science project to cheapest forms of energy in the world, right? These things went mainstream, uh, over, over, in some cases decades. But now, like, those are the two most deployed and cheapest forms of energy in, in, in the entire world.

Uh, I looked around, I kind of surveyed the landscape and Electrification transportation felt to me like the next big thing. And what I mean by that is that, you know, one, I was looking for, uh, a segment, an opportunity where we could drive large emission reductions very quickly.

So as we say in the climate world, where we could actually drive a climate wedge, uh, quickly. And, and two, where there was no need for government subsidy, like the technology was mature enough. The product was ready and commercially available, and the economics stood on their own, like, like there was a, it was, the conversion was, was inevitable at the end of the day, because you simply had a better product.

And the more I looked around, the more I, I saw that electrification of transportation was, was at that tipping point. I saw that businesses if they took the time to run the numbers and and do the do the assessments on, on, on operating sufficiency. Would quickly see that electric vehicles were superior at that time in most light duty use cases, and it's expanding now into medium duty and heavy duty. Um, but that, that the barrier to adoption then became which vehicle, which charger, how do I charge them, where do I charge them, how much is it going to cost for me to charge them.

And, and, and it was that insight into, well, you know, if left to their own devices, that will take a decade for some people to kind of put together. They're going to need to hire new people, they're going to have to retrain people. Or we can provide an integrated solution that solves all those pieces for them and gives them as much or as little, frankly, of that as they need.

Molly Wood:

Right. And then to your earlier point, it's a one to many solution. Instead of like trying to enable consumers one at a time to replace cars, it's like, hey, let's get 20 to 1, 000 cars switched all at once.

Greg Smithies:

That's right. Some of these commercial fleets, I mean, we work with, today we work with commercial fleets that range in size, probably the smallest fleet we work with has a few hundred vehicles.

And the largest has 50, 000 on road vehicles in the U. S. So, um, you can make change happen pretty quickly. Uh, you know, it's not, it's not easy. But, like you're saying, it's a one to many approach.

Molly Wood:

What, um, why aren't existing fleet management companies doing this for the businesses who have done the math and realize this is a better solution?

Like, what is your risk of competition?

Greg Smithies:

our customers have a range of alternatives, but, but certainly for the ones that work with fleet management companies, uh, our, yeah, what we need to do is convince them that, that their existing provider. If they're serious about going electric, their existing FMC is probably the wrong choice. And, and, that's because fleet management companies, First off, I'll say that fleet management companies are not a well known industry to most, probably most of your listeners.

Um, it is a, an industry that's very large, and, and, uh, you know, performs very well, uh, economically, and has great returns, but it is, I would say not mainstream.

But what you see pretty quickly when you start looking into fleet management companies is that these are massive entities that have been around for decades, in some cases going on a century. but most importantly, from an electrification perspective, the fleet management companies to have been built up and their business models optimized around the ice vehicle, the internal combustion engine.

So everything from how they finance those vehicles. To how they, uh, they, they, uh, dispose of those vehicles to the services they provide around those vehicles. And frankly, their revenue models to like how they make money has been built around the internal combustion engine. So, so, um, the truth of the matter is that, that when you look at the numbers and you understand how those fleet management companies have built to be profitable and deliver results to investors.

50 60 percent of their revenues in, in the vast majority of cases. come from the provision of services beyond the actual lease of the vehicle. And most of those services are tied to the internal combustion engine. So think about oil changes, think about, uh, fuel refilling like gas and diesel, think about spark plugs, think about, you know, all the things that the internal combustion engine requires to, to fulfill its duties for 100, 000 miles, 200, 000 miles.

And by the way, 200, 000 miles is pretty good on a nice, on a nice vehicle. Um, these businesses have been built up to, to earn money on every, on every oil change, right? To earn money every time it pulls into a gas station. Right. Like car dealers, you know, everybody thinks car dealers make money on cars, but they make money on maintenance on those.

Molly Wood:

Right. Because you, for people who don't have an EV, if you're listening out there, I don't think you understand. Like, you don't take that in for maintenance. There is nothing to break. It's a battery on wheels. Literally, it's, it is amazing. I've now driven an EV for two years. And it, it's amazing to me that I've never, you know, I just whizzed by the gas station.

I've never gone to a gas station. I've never had to take it in once.

Greg Smithies:

Uh, most updates occur over the air. Um, so, so yeah, I think, so, so the, the dirty little secret is that traditional FMCs have a disincentive. Right. All the way down to the salesperson usually to, uh, promote and deliver an EV to a customer as opposed to another ICE vehicle.

Molly Wood:

There's no service contract attached to it.

Greg Smithies:

Yeah, there's less. There's certainly less services. And, and, you know, the salesperson most likely in these big organizations has never driven an EV or if they have, you know, it's been once, but they aren't experts in EVs. They certainly aren't experts in electrification and the energy side of it.

Um, and so. It's not that they aren't serving, uh, customers with electric vehicles, they are, and, and certainly if you go to their websites or hear them talk, they, they talk a, they talk a great game about everything they do with, with electric vehicles, and I think customers, you know, if the customer demands an electric vehicle, they will serve up an electric vehicle, but, but for those customers that actually, those companies and organizations that actually want to make significant progress on electrification and realize that electric transportation is cheaper, safer, more reliable, better driver experience.

Um, you know, we like to say those your traditional FMC will go as slowly as it possibly can. It will, it will do what it needs to, to keep the customer, but it will go as slowly as it can. Whereas we are from day one pushing to try and say, how do we get to a hundred percent electrification as quickly as possible?

Right. So it's just a very different starting point and approach.

Molly Wood:

Now, I know you're not planning to make 40 or 50 percent less money than they are. So, so how, how do you make up the difference, uh, in all those oil changes and gas fill up?

Greg Smithies:

Yeah. No, that's a really good question. And, and, uh, I'm sure some of my competitors would love to know that answer down to a very detailed level, but so, so I'm, I'm not going to give you the exact, the exact specifics, but, but let me just say that, um, I am confident in saying that we make more margin and profit on our vehicle leasing side than they do.

I'm confident in saying that, uh, yeah. There's a whole host of other EV specific services that we can and do charge for, that I think many of which I think are, you know, legacy FMCs haven't yet even thought about, um, but are of relevance to and importance to the fleet manager, um, I would, I would also say what we do on charging, we have a whole, a whole set of charging solutions that I've never, to be honest, I've never, um Compared what we can make on a charging solution versus a fuel card or a, or an oil change because we've never done any of those, but, um, but, but I can say that we have many other ways to help the customer, including some that aren't frankly related directly to the vehicle, uh, in terms of how they can decarbonize, uh, their, their transportation and operations and, uh, achieve financial savings and, and, Uh, you know, our, our economic model has very positive results.

Molly Wood:

I do. And I want to ask you about the charging infrastructure side of the business. How, how hard is that? I mean, we keep, you know, the, the rollout of charging infrastructure nationally has already been, I think, slower than most people want. How challenging is that kind of side of the house?

Greg Smithies:

Yeah, it's interesting.

I, I, I've, uh, I've, I've given a few speeches about this recently at conferences. Um, at the risk of being controversial, I will say that for, uh, the average fleet in the United States and certainly for the big, you know, the larger, more diverse fleets, this, this, This notion of charging being me, being the limiting factor and, and, and making electrification is impossible is frankly a bit of a red herring.

Um, I think that, uh, in the press and, uh, you know, kind of in, in mainstream, uh, discussions, a lot of people focus on the lack of public charging infrastructure in the United States.

Um, but what I would say is that at the commercial level, most fleets have many vehicles that could be electrified today quite easily based on the charging, the best charging solution for those vehicles. Um, and, and in fact, we, we call this phenomena, we've, we've kind of coined a, a phrase for this phenomena, we call it the electrification action gap, because, because, and here's what that means, Molly, most fleets, when you look at them, let, let's, let's start with corporate fleets, the, the large corporate fleets, many of them have sustainability goals, uh, in fact, you know, 75 percent of the 200 largest U.

S. fleet operators have actually committed to decarbonization targets for their fleets. So, so, so they've, they've made commitments. And when you talk to them and about where they are in, in meeting those commitments, most of them have done a few EV pilots. Maybe they've got 100 or 50 EVs in their fleet, but that's out of a fleet of 2, 500 or 10, 000 vehicles.

And, and we say to them, well, why, why aren't more of them electric? And they say, well, you know. Charging's complex, or we couldn't get our hands on the vehicle, or, uh, we couldn't justify it financially, and, and, and so we say, all right, let us come in there, and, and, and, uh, if you'll, if you'll give us the data, we will, for free, perform what we call an EV Opportunity Assessment, and we will look at every single vehicle on a case by case basis, where it lives, what's its duty cycle on a daily basis, uh, You know, what, what, what is the range required and decide with data, which vehicles could be electric today.

And that's really based on a few different factors. One, there's an available electric, there is an available EV substitute that's fit for purpose, meets the range requirements. Uh, you know, and you can get your hands on. Two, that the charging is easy to set up. So charging can be really complex and take years to set up in certain cases.

This screens out for that and says which charging can be set up in a in a month in two months Um, and where do the economics pencil? So so let's let's run the economics and say when you look at this higher upfront cost potentially, but the incentives available The uh fuel maintenance savings which usually run 50 to 60 percent compared to a nice vehicle Uh, when you look at all those factors which vehicles in your fleet should be electric today and which are?

And that is the electrification action gap. And almost universally,

we see a huge number of vehicles that are just sitting there. And, and that company or organization is literally losing money every single day. They're driving an ICE vehicle on that route. And so, um, that's, that is what we do when we say charging is a limiter.

And I'll come back to my charging is a bit of red herring. Charging is a limiter in certain cases. There are heavier duty vehicles, there are certain longer mileage, uh, applications. There are, uh, depots where it's a leased property and the landlord won't let you install charging. There are depots where there's not enough power on the, on the utility grid in that location to allow you to install charging.

There's all sorts of barriers. Right. But, the point is, there are also easy wins that companies are usually not taking. And our role is to come in, identify the easy wins, electrify those vehicles that are, that are ready and in the money today and start planning for, you know, taking those steps so that you're, you are gradually installing the charging infrastructure or exploring offsite options that get you to, okay, well, this batch of vehicles will be electrified, you know, in a year we're going to wait, or, or it may be vehicle related.

It may be, oh, there's, you know, the right, Heavy duty or medium duty vehicle for this application with the right mix of cost and, and, and range is coming out in late 24. Okay, well, we'll wait on that, but it is a vehicle by vehicle, uh, location by location assessment, which then, uh, delivers, uh, what we call our road to 100, a fleet electrification plan that starts with where you are today and gets you to 100 percent electrification over time.

And I just think this focus on charging sometimes allows people to, uh, you know, on To, to, to wait for the silver bullet. It's like, let me wait for charging to be solved and then I'll electrify. Right. And, uh, we like to say, you know, don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Start with where, what, what can be electric today.

Start, start achieving those savings and, uh, delighting drivers and, and let us plan for the future.

Molly Wood:

Josh Green is the CEO of Inspiration Mobility. Thank you so much for the time today.

Greg Smithies:

Thank you, Molly. Really enjoyed speaking with you.

Molly Wood Voice-Over:

And that's it for this episode of Everybody in the Pool … yet another reminder that so often … the biggest barrier to doing things differently is the way we've always done things. Fleet management companies aren't EVIL for wanting to continue to make money … charging for service contracts on gas-powered cars … it's just … how they built their businesses when that's all we had. But now … we have something else … that's better … and making impactful climate change is all about embracing … the actual change.

Thank you so much for listening.

Email me your thoughts and suggestions to in at everybody in the pool dot com and find all the latest episodes and more at everybody in the pool dot com, the website. And if you want to become a subscriber and get an ad free version of the show, hit the link in the description in your podcast app of choice.

Thank you to those of you who already have. See you next week.

Molly Wood:

okay, so let's talk about what they need. What do they need? I think there's this That's the

question is how do we actually make this whole industry cleaner? What

know, what kinds of of investments? Unexpected. The more unexpected, the better. Can you tell us about.

Greg Smithies:

Uh, absolutely. And I, I'd like to really just start out with the problem here on the building side is that there's no single silver bullet. Right. You know, people think, Hey, let's just, you know, I. Make the grid clean because then all of the electricity going into the buildings is clean. Yo, it turns out that most buildings are only 30 or 40% electricity, and the rest is natural gas for heating.

Right. So it's a very complicated business because it touches so much of the energy industry. It touches so much of the materials industry, right? 40% of the world's raw materials are going into construction, into buildings. Um. And then buildings touch so much of the rest of the economy, meaning like your warehouses are going through them, data centers are running inside them, right?

Your distribution centers. So last mile delivery and logistics is sort of, um, uh, in scope here. So that's a long way of saying that, just the simple premise of, hey, let's, let's decarbonize. The built environment actually turns out to be extremely complicated because there's no silver bullet, right? And I always make this joke.

How do you make, you know, passenger vehicles? Clean and green, it's easy. You just make them electric and you're done. I know that's like very hand wavy, but it's like one problem. Make the cars electric, good to go. Um, in, in buildings it's a lot more complicated, so.

Molly Wood:

are component parts within that, but they're easier to identify because it's just

Greg Smithies:

Exactly. Exactly. It's a much shorter list. Um, we do have, it's just the largest asset class in business on the, on the planet that touches so much of the rest of the economy. So. Because of that, we do try to think of it in a little bit of a systematic way, um, to simplify this for ourselves, because otherwise I think we'd, we'd lose the forest for the trees in terms of what we're actually looking to invest in.

Um, we start out . Just think of the lifecycle of a building. A building starts out as raw materials. It's your concrete, your steel, your glass, your um, your sand, things like that, that go into construction. Now, these are massive industries. Concrete is the second most used material on the planet after water.

I think actually you've, you've, um, interviewed one of our portfolio companies brimstone on this topic. But the point is that these are very large industries that are very difficult to decarbonize. So we start out with those, the sort of fundamentals. Then we go into how do you put up buildings themselves?

So think of . One of the reasons why, and I can remember this campaign slogan, the rent is too damn high, um, from back in the day is, um, that . We just do not have enough houses. Why do we not have enough houses? Is because they are too expensive to build, right? So we do, and this isn't just an American problem, it's a global problem.

Nowhere is there enough housing, uh, because everywhere it's too expensive to build these things. We want to build more houses and more dwellings and more office spaces, but we want those things to go up in a clean, green way where you end up with like highly efficient, passive standard houses. Um, and so here we look at things like prefab, modular construction, three d printing, stuff like that.

Um. , but that's just on the sort of new construction side. And I, and I'm sure you'll, you'll hear these statistics that, uh, Amer, uh, sorry. The world is going to build the equivalent of one New York City every single month for the next 25 years, which is crazy. So we are doing a lot of new construction, however, we've got $326 trillion of existing building stock out there.

And from an efficiency point of view, um, you know, you see this when you fly into any city. The percentage of buildings are like soda on their roof. Negligible. Um, from an efficiency point of view, I think the technical term for most of these buildings would be . It's nuts, right? The, the technical term for the, from an efficiency point of view would be these, these buildings are just crap, right?

Um, so, so how do we go and retrofit in technologies into all of these buildings? And here it's a lot of boring stuff. Frankly, it's . Better windows, it's better doors, it's insulation, right? And that's before you even get onto the somewhat sexy things like the soda on the roof, the battery on the side of the building and the, and the UV charger in the parking lot, right?

Um, but it's just a massive, massive, um, endeavor because there are just millions upon millions of buildings out there. And. Anytime you try to fix a building, it involves humans to, if you need to go and install this stuff, right? And we don't have enough electricians, we don't have enough, um, HVAC engineers, right?

Um, so it's a very multifaceted problem on this retrofit thing. And then final piece of the puzzle here on the building life cycle is we do look at, at, um, end of life and waste and recycling. So think of this as the building itself. About 60% of the materials in the world's landfills is building rubble.

It would be incredible if we had just reuse that, right? Or maybe not knock those buildings down. But then also about 60% of the world's waste goes through buildings at some point. So, uh, it's a very logical place for us to do things like divert stuff from landfill, turn it into energy if we can't, um, recycle it, things like that.

Um, and then just to, to make sure we're . Looking at absolutely everything We do also look at climate resiliency. Um, and climate resiliency goes to my joke earlier on, which is that buildings are worthless if they're underwater on fire. Um, so here it's a lot of sort of big data, AI analytics around climate mapping and climate prediction for which are the buildings that are gonna be bearing the brunt of all of this climate change.

You can't leave buildings, right? Um, so how do you process in insurance products, stuff like that. But it also goes all the way through to, um, . Actual physical protection. So think sea walls, think paints that can stop a building burning down in a, in a wildfire, stuff like that, right? This is a very, very large remit across everything that we look at.

Happy to talk about some fun sci-fi examples in them. Some boring examples in them, but, um, yeah. Where would you like to go?

Molly Wood:

I am, I'm definitely gonna wanna do both of those. I actually, part of the way that I came to climate, you know, as a tech and business for 20 whatever years, and, and one of the things that Made me start to realize that climate might be a tech story. Actually was Sci-Fi was Kim Stanley Robinson's New York 2140, and there's

bit of a throwaway line in there where he talks about how, so New York has been inundated with, you know, two sea level rise incidents, basically submerged, but people are still

and doing finance because it's New York. And one of the things he mentions in there kind of casually is that there's this diamond coating around the bottom. the buildings that keeps the water out so people can still live in them. And literally what happened is I went, I wonder who's working on that? And pivot.

was born, now I'm thinking like you're working on that, which is great, So

start with the sci-fi stuff and then we're gonna dig into the boring, because really that's where the meat is.

Greg Smithies:

Yeah, that's, that's who the meat is. So let's start with, with completely sci-Fi, because it honestly could have come out of like a a, a Herbert's dune novel, um, atmospheric water generation. Um. People go, huh? What does that mean? Um, so it turns out with climate change, and we're starting to see this right now, where, uh, the whole west coast of Americas is not just in a drought.

It's going through what's known aridification, which just basically means that it is slowly turning into a desert over the next, you know, couple hundred years. So it's not that we are in a little, you know, uh. Uh, no water short period. It's just, it's going to get worse and worse and worse. And we see this around most of the world now with climate change.

Um, the issue is as the atmosphere gets hotter, it can hold more water. And what that means is that you get less rain just because the water is staying in the air. But then when it does rain, it comes in a massive deus. So you basically have these long periods of dry with . Inundations of water and flooding, right?

Which isn't very sustainable. But the point is that water, as far as sort of climate resiliency goes is incredibly important. And so we started looking at this from a point of view very practically. We started out at Boring, which was if you're a home builder in, um, the West of America, you're trying to say pool permits to build 3000 homes in Phoenix, which is

Actually a small project in Phoenix, right? Um, they were starting to get pushback that, hey, we're not gonna give you a permit for this project because there's not enough water, right? And then they started saying, okay, you've gotta have water recycling in your, in your new 3000 home, um, project. And that's sort of the state of where we are.

But you can just draw a line and say, okay, well if we went from Water's is . Available to now you have to recycle water. At some point it's gonna be that the buildings are gonna have to create the water themselves, right? So we started looking at this concept called atmospheric water generation. Um, after talking to about 60 companies, ended up investing in a company called Source Water.

What do they have? They've got something that looks just like a solar panel, but when you put it out in the sun instead of electric, uh, electricity coming out of it, water's flowing out of that panel. Right? Um, and it sounds nuts. Uh, it works and they've . deployed, you know, tens of thousands of these panels in 50 or 60 countries around the world, right?

So it does actually work in the real world. This is my favorite, where it sounds sci-fi, but actually works. Um, and then most importantly, everybody sort of asks, okay, well how much does it cost? Right? And you've gotta think of this in terms of like, how much does electricity cost coming out of a solar panel, because that solar panel is, is expensive.

But when you do the levelized cost of power coming out of it, it's actually very cheap. Uh, on a, you know, per kilowatt basis. So here, think of the cost of your liter of water coming out of it. Um, right now they're at, you know, two-ish cents per liter coming out of these panels, um, which probably means nothing to you.

But to put that in perspective, that is roundabout the same cost as if you were to do like a diesel generator doing reverse osmosis, which by the way, is how about 60% of the world gets their, um, gets their drinking water. Right. Obviously terribly bad for the planet because you're trucking diesel into some remote place.

You're running a diesel generator. Um, you're using lots and lots of energy, um, and you're, you know, desalinating or, or cleaning water that way. So they are com cost competitive with that right now. But more importantly is, um, just like we saw solar come down 10 x in the last decade, around about five years ago, these guys were at 17 to 20 centimeter, right?

Now they're at two-ish, which means if you just keep that, keep that cost curve going down soon, they're gonna be at Under 1 cents Leader. And the reason why that's really important is, um, under 1 cents, leader is where you become cost competitive with building these big billion dollar desalination plants, like the ones they're looking to put into California, like the ones that run most of the Middle East.

I think now with what's going on in, in Israel and Gaza, people are very aware of like the desalination plants that are running most of the Middle East. Um, if you become cheaper than that, right? . Um, you just basically become the cheapest way of making water that humanity's ever seen. Right? Meaning new de novo water as opposed to, I have a lake over here and I can just suck it out.

Right? The same way that solar is now the cheapest form of electricity humanity has ever seen. This company has very line of sight to being the cheapest form of water humanity will has ever seen.

Molly Wood:

Well, let's talk about the boring parts, because they get to this kind of question of, of what is investible

with the, you know, return expectation that a venture firm has.

Because like when I hear you talking about, retrofit, for example.

A lot of those things. You know, I spoke with the Sunrun who said like a big reason that solar isn't on every roof is actually regulation and permitting. It's that there's this, like every in, every municipality has different permitting. That's not a venture opportunity. So how do you sort of find within those systems and within those boring solutions companies that will make you a lot of money?

Greg Smithies:

Yeah, ab, absolutely. So, um, a couple of ways to describe this. I'll, I'll first do just a little, little rabbit hole down the, down the solar permitting issue because it is so annoying. Right. Um, so in the US, just to give you sort of round numbers, um, to put solar on the roof, it costs you roun

dabout $1, if we normalize it, $1 for the panels, and then roundabout $1 for the humans to install it and round about $1 for just

Permitting and paperwork, which is crazy, right? So your actual hardware is only a third of the cost, right? Um, now this is why I was complaining we don't have enough electricians and stuff, so being able to install more cheaply, we can take a third of the cost out, you know, roughly halve that say, um, with just more humans or easier to install solar panel type things.

But this paperwork problem. This is, uh, uh, I don't know anybody listening, doing buzzword bingo. We can throw AI at it. So I'm actually quite excited about generative AI's ability to fill in paperwork. Right. Um, because it can actually do this a lot more efficiently. Yep. Exactly. So I think there's hope on the hope on the horizon there just to go down that, uh, that little, um, rabbit hole, and it'll come by way of generative AI of being able to fill in paperwork, which it actually turns out is pretty good at doing.

Right. But, but to give you a, a. Um, a juxtaposition. So in the US if it's $1, $1, $1. Across the three buckets in Brazil. And, and for transparency, we're investors in a large solar installer company down in Brazil called Sofa seal. Um, there it's $1 for your panels. 'cause it's the same panels, right? They're commodity, but it's 20 cents for the human to install it and 10 cents for the paperwork, right?

So their, their projects come in at, you know, a dollar 30, whereas ours are coming in at three bucks. Um. and then they have expensive electricity. We have cheap electricity. And the kicker is that therefore a solar project in Brazil pays for itself in three to five years, whereas a solar project in the States now, because of the changes in, um, net metering can take up to 15 years to pay for itself.

Right? So clearly this is a massive problem, but it's all in the soft costs. It's all in the boring stuff. And I, and I think a's gonna help there. Um, but more specifically to your point on how do you make venture capital returns in . Boring industries is, um, two things. One is, and, and just for, for people's reference, you know, venture capital's normally looking for like a 30 to 50% IRR on a deal, you know, so annually that deal needs to be making half its money and that needs to compound, right?

Um, it's a big hurdle to get to. So, um,

step one. Venture Capital 1 0 1 pick big markets, right? And this is what I love about the real estate industry because there isn't a bigger market. So just to give you a crazy, crazy example, the market just for electric motors, just inside air conditioning systems is a $50 billion per year industry.

Right. There aren't a lot of $50 billion industries out there. And that's just for one component. Just inside, just inside air conditioners. Right. And it's growing because the world is getting hotter. Um, and we've got a growing middle class who all wants air conditioning, blah, blah, blah. So step one, pick big, uh, big markets, right?

Step two is, um, figure out if there is other sources of capital, if there are other sources of capital other than dilutive venture capital. So that's basically saying, are there grants out there? Is there project finance to help you build a factory? So for example, a company that needs to go and make hundreds of thousands of those motors, um, you don't need to

Get all of your money for building a factory to make those motors from a venture capitalist like me, that that factory is a hard asset. It's probably going to, uh, hire a whole bunch of people in terms of jobs. So chances are that there are grants out there, there are tax breaks for it, and there's a whole other category of finance out there known as project finance.

And this is debt and equity instruments who will pay for that, but they've got a much lower cost of capital. They're looking at, you know, 10 to 15% returns as opposed to me. I'm looking for 40. . Right? Um, and so it's being very intelligent about where your sources of capital are. Um, so when people say, Hey, building these businesses that need to build factories is very capital intensive, true, accepting.

It's not the same capital . Uh, a venture capital that's say a SaaS software business needs, needs to raise a SaaS software business. You can't go and get project finance for it. There are no hard assets, right? Whereas a company building a factory, you can go and get project finance for, which is a relatively cheap form of capital because you've got a hard asset.

You've got your, you've got your, um, your, your factory, right? So long story short,

or one, pick big markets. Two, be intelligent about your capital, right? Yeah.

Molly Wood:

Mm-Hmm. Yep. I was gonna say, let's simplify this even more. If you are a software product and you take, you know, the only investment you get is venture capital money, The expectation is going to be that you have like a 90% margin,

even a hundred percent margin

99% margin on every piece of software you sell.

are saying if the expectation is not, you know, if the expectation of margin, the amount of profit you're going to eventually make in a $50 billion market is not 99%, it's okay if it's 15 or


of the money that you raised. Is, doesn't have to be paid back at this, you know,

uh, premium. I'm trying

this as much as I can for

we have an audience of both


big knock and it's still, and it still is almost like, would argue like a religious argument in venture right.

software. And, and you know, I've seen Wall co-founder Brendan Wallace, say like, you're a coward if you invest only in software in the climate

Greg Smithies:

I would argue there's a place for everything in this big, big ecosystem. Um, I'm a peacemaker here, but that has been historically the fear about hardware,

buildings you can put a bunch of money in upfront, but if they can't get the factory built or it costs too much to build the factory, that's where you lose it all.

Yeah. And, and look, I'll say it's a very different way of investing and AD different way of thinking about your investments. Like all the analysis we've done is that . Hardware and software businesses to get to IPO take roundabout the same amount of money actually. So it's actually a misnomer that one is more capital intensive than the other.

They actually take roundabout the same amount of money, but the different types of money and they're spending it on different things. Right. So your your so, uh, software, SaaS business. Is taking, you know, rough numbers, a billion dollars to get to IPO. They're raising all of that and dilutive equity that goes in at the, at the Topco into, into the company, and they're spending it all on building the platform a little bit.

But the vast majority of it actually just goes into customer acquisition. Right? It's just sales and marketing. Sales and marketing. Sales and marketing. Right. Whereas the businesses that we invest in on the hardware side, . You don't take product market risk because you're selling into somewhat commodity markets.

So like the concrete industry is the concrete industry. If you can make concrete, someone will buy it as long as you can sell it at the right price, right? So there's no, there's no real customer acquisition cost or no product market risk. You're taking, you're, you're taking different risk, which is can I build that factory?

To your point that makes this, this new, uh, this concrete at the particular price, but the total amount of dollars in . Rough numbers is also round about a billion dollars to get to IPO for one of these companies. But A, they're spending it on factories instead of customer acquisition. And then B, the cost of that capital because things like project finance are out there is actually a lot lower than that.

Very expensive venture capital. The software that's assessed to raise,

Molly Wood:

Okay. And then finally, before I let you go, how, how much are you engaging at the policy level? The other kind of like extremely boring

level part of this? Certainly there are massive tailwinds now in the United States, at least with the infrastructure bill, the IRA, um, the third one, the CHIPS

Different chips Act. Yep.

Uh, we saw in Cleantech 1.0, like a little bit of reliance, right? The reason that Lyra and the Obama administration took so much heat for these failures was, uh, because they had offered big subsidies, relied on those subsidies and then died. Frankly,

model, and

was just sort of misunderstood, but. But it's interesting 'cause like I hear some investors say, I, I won't look at a company they are dependent on the IRA for getting where they're going. But you know, the way you've described it, like that's actually how you get across the valley of death.

Greg Smithies:

Absolutely. So look, I think, uh, a couple of things. One, let's actually defend the Obama administration and the, and the doe's, uh, loan program office at the time, because whilst they wrote off Cylindra, and I think that was $700 million they lost there. They also financed Tesla and made a whole whack of money on that side.

So actually, I think, uh, out of their entire portfolio, at that point in time, they made a lot of money. Like it was net positive. They, they actually returned capital as opposed to, uh, being a money sink. Um, I. So, and then let's look at all of these companies out there. Actually, some of the biggest returning investments in the last 20 years have been these capital intensive, difficult, uh, businesses like Tesla, um, like Amazon, which people would like to say is an online business, but they've got a hell of a lot of warehouses and trucks and they run their own airline at this point.

You know, things like that. Um, so. So let's just say, I think the jury is out on whether or not software investing versus hardware investing one is, one is better or worse because actually some of the biggest returning investments in the last 20 years have been sort of quote unquote hardware businesses.

Right? Um, uh, and with that, I actually completely forgot the rest of your question.

Molly Wood:

Oh, uh, I was asking about regulatory tailwinds

Like how much do you, and I mean, I, I asked an extremely

question that

of a, we're just chatting now. I'm not

questions anymore.

Greg Smithies:

so, so on the regulatory, uh, regulatory side, yes, free money is awesome. It's great, right? Let's not bash free money. I love it. Um, however, as an investor, you also have to make sure that your business has a viable business without the free money. Um, and that any free money out there just accelerates them, right?

Um, and so I did make this joke at the beginning, but we, we always like, uh. Not like we ensure that every company we invest in their product can be sold to a climate change denying CFO, right? And it might be the case that they can't do that today, but there is line of sight and path to the point where their technology can stand on its own two feet without any free money, without any tax incentives.

And the fat middle of the market who are buying things just for economic reasons as opposed to ethical reasons, will still buy their product because it is, you know, . Better, cheaper, faster, whatever it happens to be. Right? Um, and then you use the free money that's out there in order to just accelerate how quickly you can get to that point.

Right. And a great example of this would be, um, we've got a lithium ion battery recycling company. I think a lot of people are very worried about, um, electric vehicles and all of this stuff because of, you know, we are going to still need to take stuff out of the ground to make all of those batteries. So it would be great if we could recycle them.

Uh, so we're invested in a company called The Sand Elements there. Now, when we first invested in that company, we knew it was probably going to take, and I know previously I said a billion dollars to get to IPO. This company was probably gonna take $3 billion of capital to get to IPO, right? Um, and we had mapped out this path where it was probably going to take, you know, 10 to 12 years to get all of that capital together to do it.

And then along comes the infrastructure bill. And the infrastructure bill gave them a $480 million grant for their first factory. Right? And the fact that they were able to get that, that $480 million then attracted, uh, uh, outside sort of private extra $500 million. So basically we got a billion dollars into that company, roughly.

Two, maybe three years faster than we thought we were going to get it. That allowed them to, uh, build that factory two to three years faster than we thought they were going to. Um, and so it accelerated. But the point is, is that company probably would've gotten to, you know, where they were going to go in 10 to 12 years, which was our original investment time horizon.

We were happy with that, and then all of us free money, then just really put it on steroids.

Molly Wood:

Amazing. Greg. I feel like I could geek out about, uh, finance all day long, and so I'm just gonna call it here. Thank you so much for the time. really appreciate it. I was literally like, I have a thousand more questions. I'm gonna, I'm gonna keep it together. Keep it together. Any last, uh, any last sci-fi companies you wanna tell us about before you go?

Just, you know, just like a little cherry on top.

Greg Smithies:

Uh, well, the, the last one, not something in our portfolio. We are digging into it right now because . Very exciting. Um, and, uh, it's, it's geologic hydrogen, which I'm sure that, that a lot of people might have read stuff about. There was some news out sort of last week about France discovering some there've been companies here in the States.

Just, what is it? This is the, the concept that. In the earth the same way there's natural gas or oil, there are pockets with hydrogen in them, A, but B, that the, those pockets of hydrogen are actually being created. Meaning there is a natural process in the earth's, um, in the earth's surface that is creating that hydrogen.

It's, uh, where iron, iron and water mix, it's creating it. So it's actually a renewable source of power. Um, and it's clean when you burn it. The estimates at the moment are that there are hundreds of billions, if not trillions of dollars of that hydrogen out there. And then finally, to really, uh, bake people's noodles here, it's kind of everywhere.

So it's very different from oil and gas where there are very specific places in the world where oil and gases, it looks like geologic hydrogen is relatively common, um, in the world. And so. All of this stuff around, you know, national security because you know, you don't wanna buy oil from the Middle East or things like that could actually go away on a global basis because

The vast majority of the countries in the world will be able to actually just create their own hydrogen or, or drill for their own hydrogen. And it's a clean, clean source of power. So in terms of things that, um, I'm extremely optimistic about being able to fundamentally change our overall geopolitical sort of energy world, but do it in a good way.

'cause it happens to be a clean fuel. This concept of geologic hydrogen is incredibly exciting. To the extent you haven't done a podcast on it, I would, uh, highly recommend that you do and you dig into this.

Molly Wood:

Yeah, that's no pun intended, that's happening next week. Yep.

percent. See, see there's always something new coming. Greg,

much for the time today. I really appreciate it.

Greg Smithies:

Yeah. Thanks so much.

Molly Wood Voice-Over:

That's it for this episode of Everybody in the Pool. Thank you so much for listening.

Email me your thoughts and suggestions to in at everybody in the pool dot com and find all the latest episodes and more at everybody in the pool dot com, the website. And if you want to become a subscriber and get an ad free version of the show, hit the link in the description in your podcast app of choice.

Thank you to those of you who already have. See you next week.

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