This week on Watt It Takes: How Ryan Popple’s experience in the military, Tesla and venture capital helped him lead electric-bus maker Proterra.
“It’s good for the ‘keep calm and carry on mentality’ when people tend to bring me a box of broken parts. So if you’re the founder or CEO of an organization, you shouldn’t be surprised when most of what is brought to you is bad news.”
Proterra is on a roll. The company is a leading manufacturer of heavy-duty electric buses in North America, with over 50 customers, a one-year backlog and vehicles on the road in two dozen cities. The company’s current pipeline represents 10 percent of the U.S. transit fleet.
It took many years to reach this stage. Proterra faced numerous difficult technical redesigns and slow customer adoption over the last decade. In this interview, Popple reflects on how the company moved through the proverbial "valley of death."
Watt It Takes is a collaboration between Powerhouse and Greentech Media. The series is recorded in front of a live audience at Powerhouse headquarters in Oakland, California. Buy tickets for upcoming events.
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Listen to our other episodes of Watt It Takes:
- Nancy Pfund’s Pro Tips for Getting Started in Cleantech
- SunPower Founder Dick Swanson’s Guide to Launching a Cleantech Startup
- Lessons From the Fall of Sungevity
- Dan Shugar, the King Midas of Solar
- A History of Greentech Media With Scott Clavenna
- Sungage's Sara Ross on Starting a Solar Loan Company
- Jigar Shah on the Origin Story of SunEdison
- The Origin Story of Mosaic With Billy Parish
- How Roboticist Leila Madrone Built the Air-Based Solar Tracker Firm Sunfolding
- The Death-Defying Reinvention of Advanced Microgrid Solutions