Employee Spotlight: Jan Palasinski
We value the strong community we have around and within the company – and we are especially proud of the people that make Future Energy Ventures such an inspiring and impactful place to work. For our latest employee spotlight, we spoke with Jan Palasinski, Venture Partner at Future Energy Ventures.
This Spotlight looks at Jan’s shift from banking to venture capital, where he is currently casting his investor eye, how the pandemic has shifted his perspective, and his most memorable deals yet.
Which technologies or areas of the energy system do you find particularly interesting? And what do you consider to be the biggest trend/opportunity in this area?
I am fascinated by the complexity of the energy system. I see myself as technology-agnostic: what counts for me is the outcome i.e., empowering people to produce, use and store renewable energy; to sustainably heat and cool buildings; to power all types of vehicles in a climate-friendly way, and to digitally and physically connect to each other. Eventually, I want to see a clean planet for all living creatures, and I want it to happen ASAP, not in 2050.
The biggest investment opportunities have names and surnames: it’s all about great entrepreneurs who are able to inspire people and drive organizations to achieve outstanding goals. I am going to find them and help them as much as I can on their mission to build a more sustainable future.
What are you focusing on at the moment?
This Covid period is like a sudden jump five years forward in time and these days I like to spend time looking into this present-future post-pandemic world. I want to figure out what’s going on and then be ready to catch the right waves, both for myself and as an investor.
What are the driving forces that keep you motivated towards shaping the future energy landscape?
It’s just the right thing to do. It’s obvious. Everything else is stupid. It’s like all these movies where the good ones always defeat the evil ones. It will happen also in our mission to save the planet. We are growing in number and we are unstoppable.
What drew you to VC?
Although I was building an attractive investment banking career and living in a beautiful place like Florence, I decided to start from scratch in VC as an analyst in 2012. Being able to work closely with the world’s best cleantech entrepreneurs was an opportunity I could not resist!
What has been your best/most challenging deal?
My best deal is a series of follow-on investments into my favorite FEV portfolio company (I won’t name it here though), because I am extremely confident – almost sure – that it’s going to become big, impactful, and long-lasting. I like to compare this company to the final scene of the movie Matrix when Neo finally cracks “the code” and becomes able to move the world as he wishes.
My most challenging deal was an exit several years ago, that eventually didn’t materialize due to the purchaser pulling back from the deal the day before signing. Lesson learnt: luck is an important part of the VC game – good and bad.
How has working in the energy sector shaped your thinking?
The ongoing story of photovoltaics and electric cars, i.e. simple solutions that are conquering the world, has made me a minimalist: simple and fast > perfect.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
First use your head, then move your hands (credit to my dad).
What do you like doing when you’re not working?
When I am not working? I don’t know what you are talking about… Jokes aside, I spend most of my free time with my seven-year-old kid. Otherwise, I like to learn new things all the time. There is so much amazing content to learn from nowadays, that it’s impossible for me not to regularly fall into unexpected rabbit holes. I can’t imagine what future generations will be able to accomplish with all this free knowledge available on demand.