Co-founder & CEO
Co-founder & COO
My brother and I have been starting companies together since 2008 when we were 20 and 17 respectively.
Our first company together was a pet cremation company called Eternal in 2008 that paid for our college tuition in the US.
But we’ve been in the solar industry since 2011 for about 12 years, with 2 solar startups under our belt: a solar contractor company, called Liif, with more than 30 employees and offices in 4 states across Mexico and the other one, called Wirewatt, that at its peak became the largest solar financing platform in Mexico generating $10m per month in loan quotations and a network of 1,300 solar contractors.
This is the first time sitting back and reflecting on some parts of the journey as we embark on our new solar journey with Elastic, a solar talent outsourcing company.
We’ve had our fair share of great stories.
Like that one time when a customer in a remote town in Jalisco, Mexico wanted solar. When our crew arrived, we saw a mansion with exotic tigers and strange things going on. We had to install everything super fast, with a big smile on our faces, and never return. He even called us afterward and showed us his tiger. We didn't know if he was trying to convey a message or just messing around with us.
Or one of our first lead generation campaigns was giving out flowers on Mother's Day in a park and asking for phone numbers and emails in return. Moms thought we were picking them up. Hahaha, it was quite funny.
Then there was that time when lent $10k to a solar contractor and he scammed us by using fake IDs. Ouch!
or financing solar and other stuff like heat pumps, fridges and more in small convenience stores in remote parts of Mexico.
or training thousands of solar contractors how to sell our solar financing.
Even though we were operating in Mexico, we had an international presence from day one. Our investors were Dutch, with our HoldingCo based in the Netherlands. Our first formal project finance facility was completed in just two weeks with a Japanese fund that instantly lent us $1m. Our last financing came from a US fund with eight development banks.
We've experienced it all, at least in Mexico, where you might know it feels like the Wild West with solar at $0.89/watt. I still don't understand how solar installers survive!
We've established sales call centers, solar installer operations, loan origination and underwriting operations, billing and collections, and more.
The result was a solar contractor company with offices in four states and a solar financing company with 1,300 solar contractors. We provided loans in more than 30 cities and had a monthly loan quotation volume of $10m
But you know what? This is just a fraction of what companies do in the US. What we deployed in a month, our US counterparts achieved in a minute.
This always stuck with me.
We were playing in hard mode and we did not know it. The government was unsupportive of solar in Mexico, we had to bring financing for our customers from outside of Mexico, terms were bad, limited credit data in Mexico, thin margins on installations, ugh, the list goes on.
As I said, we were playing in hard mode. For our last round of project finance, we had a term sheet for a facility with 17% interest rate for 8 years. We had 5 years of experience deploying and collecting solar loans with ~2% default rate and 0.5% loss rate.
That was enough!
Elastic feels different.
The US government is very supportive of solar, customers want to support the clean energy transition, solar installers have good business practices, and the law works.
Elastic is our third company in the solar space. We aim to support as many solar businesses in the US as possible, and connect as many Mexican solar professionals with our customers.
We are here to serve and put our experience at your disposal.
For more great stories!
Joel Garcia-Galan, 2023
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