03 October [Stamford, CT] Koby Avital (CTO: Priceline)
It wasn't long ago that Dollar Shave Club turned a sensational YouTube video into a billion dollar exit to Unilever - and Los Angeles' tech scene has been dropping one blockbuster after another since. Though Elon's Master Plan Part Deux, as reported by Silvia, was the big news of August, just this weekend Snap Inc (formerly Snapchat) revealed its first foray into hardware, the Spectacles - and with a veiled "rest in peace" nod to Google Glass, setting sights on besting Silicon Valley at its own game. Show business isn't the only industry keen on spinoffs here.
Andrew Ponec is the co-founder and CEO of Dragonfly Systems, a solar technology company spun out from Stanford’s electrical engineering department. Dragonfly Systems develops small electronics devices that improve efficiency and reduce installation costs for large commercial and utility-scale solar power installations. In 2014, Dragonfly Systems was acquired by SunPower Corporation, a US-based solar company with the world’s most efficient commercial solar cells. Andrew was also named in Forbes’ 2014 “30 under 30” list for his work in solar energy, and is currently focusing on building efficient energy use and affordable housing technologies. In this Q&A, we dive into Andrew’s background and the circumstances that enabled him to launch a startup at 19, sell it at 20 and continue to make progress thereafter:
During last month's fireside chat with Fred Schaufeld, of SWaN & Legend Venture Partners, he opened up about the formative years of his entrepreneurial journey. He shared the impact of losing a father at age of 20 and gaining the courage to take on new risks - including running for election as Lehigh University's concert chair position and hosting some of the biggest performing acts such as The Allman Brothers Band, Journey and Cheap Trick. Being concert chair was the opportunity that gave him business experience and it continues to influence the decisions he makes today: