Yesterday I caught up with Lindsay Hassett, a Green MBA alum. Last year she started an LED lighting company called Illumalighting and was one of the first "clients" at the Green MBA's Venture Greenhouse. Recently, she sold Illumalighting to Evolvelectric, an electrical contracting company focusing on sustainable electrical efficiency and EV stations. I asked her a few questions to get a better sense of the Green MBA program and learn more about the school’s offshoot, the Venture Greenhouse.
How did the Green MBA program support you in developing Illumalighting from an idea into a fully-fledged company?
My Green MBA started in 2001. It helped me so much by combining my whole background that I had in business and gave me the triple bottom line perspective. I had traveled around the world and was upset at how we're treating the planet. The Green MBA program opened my eyes to a different way of doing business and gave me the base to create the foundation for my company.
I was one of the first nine graduating members of the Green MBA program. I was also one of the first clients of the Venture Greenhouse. Being involved with both organizations has been a major life changing experience.
Illumalighting was one of the first companies that was "incubated" in the Dominican University's Venture Greenhouse. How did this relationship affect the growth of the company?
I created this venture with a lot of passion. I went into the Venture Greenhouse with an application, but not a business plan. My first goal was to create the identity and the website and learn how to present the mission to companies. I landed Embassy Suites and SunPower, mostly because they needed lighting. Not every large corporation can do that themselves, but I can offer more than what they could get on their own from Home Depot or some lighting distributors businesses commonly use.
The Venture Greenhouse team met with me every week we met for an hour to help with strategy and execution. We'd also have a group meeting with all the other companies in the Greenhouse to share ideas and resources. The ongoing coaching every week was great. They helped guide me with each decision I needed to make and it was very helpful. I'm so grateful for all of their support.
Congratulations on getting acquired by Evolvelectric. What's next for you as the companies merge?
Changing lightbulbs is the lowest hanging fruit for any business to reduce costs. I want to help companies do exactly that. Every time I walk into a space I notice the lightbulbs and how they’re used. I find myself looking around and checking out what companies are consuming. There’s a lot that can be replaced right now. Companies will be forced to make changes because some of the old bulbs won't be available in the future.
We have some great projects in store now. We are working with a large car dealership now as well as a shopping center. We are excited about the new ordinance in San Francisco for buildings 50K square foot and above, there will now be a mandatory benchmarking. Buildings have to figure out how much energy they're using each year. It's definitely a way to educated those building owners or tenants as to the opportunities for where they can save. It will also put pressure on buildings that are not making energy efficient investments. I expect that we'll be doing a lot of work with buildings that need to measure their results.
It's important to me to continue to speak out for energy efficiency for quality of life which comes from reducing pollution which decreases the impact on our health. I’ll definitely continue to do that in as many ways as possible. I look forward to working with realtors, commercial spaces, property managers and others to help them realize there are incentives, resources, and programs out there that will help decrease both energy use, and costs!
Would you like to learn more about the Green MBA and how the program can support you in creating the career of your dreams? Join us on Tuesday, November 15 at EcoTuesday. You'll have the opportunity to talk with a handful of people who can share more details about the curriculum. Register today!