Energize Capital is a model for doing well by doing good. Their firm has invested in an impressive portfolio of companies who are building software that benefits the climate and advances sustainability. These companies run the gamut of industry verticals, from solar energy to electric vehicles to AI to cybersecurity to analytics. No matter the application, these software companies are part of the solution to a global problem – and are having a positive impact on the climate.
It’s this focus that also makes them on the forefront of the new hiring landscape. Jeff Schmidt, Head of Commercialization for Energize, advises portfolio companies when they seek to fill roles at the highest levels. “Mission and purpose have become more and more important to candidates over time,” says Schmidt. “A company that has a strong mission is very attractive to top candidates. We’re seeing a dramatic uptick in talent and skill in the candidates seeking roles with our companies.”
Working at the intersection of climate sustainability and software is a sweet spot for many in the tech industry. With many options for employers, being part of a larger mission makes work more satisfying and employees more engaged. The main motivation for many in today’s workforce isn’t the paycheck or benefits: it’s being part of a team making a difference and helping solve real-world problems.
Schmidt works with TalentReach to find talent as part of his role in post-investment support for portfolio companies. Matching the right talent to the right organization requires experience and knowledge. One classic mistake employers make? Wanting people to be “all things under the sun.” Employers need to have clarity about what they want from the role, and make sure there is alignment with the candidate about what they are able to deliver. Things like communication styles and whether someone thrives in a startup environment or a big established company are more important than skills listed on a resume.
“Human beings can do anything, the question is how much energy will it take to do it?” says Schmidt. The right person for the role will make it seem easy – the wrong person will slow down the mission. “I look for people with a few key qualities to lead in our portfolio companies. Self-awareness. Grit. Curiosity. A healthy risk tolerance,” says Schmidt. He has the deep experience to understand what is going to be a good fit at the forward-thinking companies that Energize Capital invests in.
While the economy continues to defy predictions and typical cycles, some things are evergreen. No matter the economic landscape, solid companies (such as those with climate-focused missions) will always be growing and in need of new talent. Schmidt’s advice for the next six months is for employers to use prudence and pragmatism. He is optimistic about the economic outlook, and is confident Energize Capital’s portfolio will continue to grow and scale. This growth is good news for top talent who are looking to join a company with a purpose – and it’s good for all of us as the world tackles climate challenges.