Bryan Duarte
IMPACT INVESTING

Bryan Duarte

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Social Venturist | Co-Founding GP, BlackTech Capital

Have a process, and let your project break – Bryan Duarte

“You can have the best tech but those relationships is what’s going to make the difference.”

ABOUT

I am a Social Venturist, Entrepreneur, Angel Investor and a licensed Professional Engineer. I am the Co-Founder and the Managing Partner at BlackTech Capital (BTC) and the Founder & CEO of Enliten. I have experience in developing companies in the Energy, CleanTech and Sustainability Sectors where I see a New Emerging Energy Future.

For me, energy is something greater than simply the power for heating, cooling and transportation, it is the force that propels people and organizations. The key to sustainability is not if we can overcome the technological challenges, it is all about finding and nurturing the great people and companies that are already creating the technology solutions.

I have always had a passion for creating and building, along with a reputation for creating and leading strong teams. I have demonstrated these abilities in the corporate world as well as in the companies I have developed and nurtured throughout the years.

Now my focus with BTC is to find, fund and help black and other underrepresented entrepreneurs grow great CleanTech companies. By focusing on Black and other Underrepresented Entrepreneurs in CleanTech, our impact is at the intersection of social responsibility and environmental initiatives.

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THE FULL INTERVIEW

Bryan Duarte

The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

Jeffery: Welcome to the supporters fund ask an investor, I’m your host jeffrey pavin and let’s please welcome brian duarte from black tech capital as our investor today welcome brian it is a real pleasure to have you join us today.

Bryan: Thank you very much for having me here.

Jeffery: Well brian we’re really excited today to get the opportunity to dive into kind of the area that you focus in on and not just because another great investor but i think that the area you’re kind of diving into if we could say it it’s gonna probably save the world in the next 20 30 40 years so we probably want to focus on this area as much as we possibly can and talk about it as much as we can and i think from what where what we’re seeing and the way you’ve been kind of interacting in this space i have a feeling you believe to say that there is a real strong need for clean tech and the world of change that it can make so maybe before we dive into all of that great stuff about what you’re doing and how you kind of got there i think the best way to start for us is if maybe you could share a little bit about your background from your u of t days to enbridge and all the great companies that you’ve started and worked on if you can dive into that and then one thing about you that nobody would know.

Bryan: Okay um yeah so going back i mean for me that clean tech sustainable um view on energy does go back to when i was in the university of toronto there i was involved with the high mileage vehicle team so we were creating vehicles that were getting 1300 1400 miles per gallon right so some some phenomenal stuff so there was always an interest and then because i was part of that team it was part of a group that in our fourth year we were in a competition to take a pickup truck and convert it to run on natural gas so we were competing against three other canadian universities and 20 other us universities in this particular area so there was always that spark in me to look at what alternative energy sources are out there right knowing hearing all around us there’s a limitation on how long oil and gas is gonna remain and be available so what other options are out there and that started me a down a path now being part of that and back then it was consumers gas now enbridge being a big sponsor they came in and and snapped me up to to work for them uh being one of the captains of the team so that career you know was my first career into that corporate world really taught me about a lot of the disciplines you need inside of a company right about how proper process procedures things that you know when i translate now into the startup world so when, I’m working with startups i can really see some of the things they need just from that background you know and i spent a good part of my career there but always in developing new things and the last bit at enbridge created a new division where they went into electricity so they branched off from natural gas and created a whole new electricity division and created a competitive sector that we built from nothing in the smart meter and the smart metering market really did not exist in canada in in the high-rise buildings before us and really helped create and develop that market and then that business was sold off to enter care later on so it was my first foray of building a company you know within yes the safety of a big um enterprise but you know we have to compete you have to compete for customers you have to um develop the business go out there um create something from nothing create something from scratch and and that got the bug going with me again i say again because my first business was actually at nine years old selling golf balls and i can tell you to this day a jack nicholas golden bear golf ball was worth a dollar that was my top seller so i always had that entrepreneurial spirit entrepreneurial sparking me and so after leaving enbridge uh started working with a number of companies my first company that i created i sold half of it 10 months into creating it you know a bunch of investors they had invested in one of my partner companies i was working with just loved what i was doing and came in and that was specifically focused in the smart metering world but offering services that didn’t exist out there um from there i went on to create three different other businesses some in the construction sector others again more focus in that energy sector and you know sold sold another one of those off to one of the utility companies so so had a a great feel for it but then it was like there needs to be more there needs to be something else and that’s where this sustainability journey really needed to take off more because i had customers that were you know using smart metering doing energy management but what else can we do and that’s where i started helping these customers with sustainability solutions and find them sustainability solutions and working with organizations like the center for social innovation their climate ventures group and working with a lot of startups and seeing all the great innovations that were out there that i said you know what i want to look at creating a venture fund right i want to be able to help these great startups in the clean tech space space grow and scale and knowing specifically in the cleantech space they need that long-term vision it’s not a quick thing you know you’re looking 20 30-year horizons for a lot of things so that’s where my background in enbridge where we would build pipeline systems for 30 40 50 years into the future that really comes to play here a lot and then on top of that knowing my journey as a black entrepreneur yes i sold my businesses to some private investors into a um a division utility but i didn’t know the investor space the same way didn’t know the venture world and what the options were and what possibilities were out there and knowing as a black founder how difficult was to get founding i mean when i was on to my second company millions of dollars of revenue i was running i think 14 15 staff at the time the banks wouldn’t come and you know couldn’t get anything from the