Opportunity Unlocked

Nathan Gilliland - CEO of Bellwether Coffee & General Fusion

May 26, 2020 Noah Ifergan Season 1 Episode 8
Opportunity Unlocked
Nathan Gilliland - CEO of Bellwether Coffee & General Fusion
Show Notes

Nathan Gilliland is a veteran entrepreneur and leader in companies where technology meets sustainability. He is currently the CEO of Bellwether Coffee, the California-based sustainable coffee company backed by investors like SolarCity founders Peter and Lyndon Rive. 

Nathan began his career as a management consultant at Bain and Company. He then moved into an Executive Vice President role at Bain Capital where he led new equity investments, buyouts, and growth capital initiatives during his 9 years there. 

Nathan then entered the sustainability space founding Harvest Power, a renewable energy company that creates electricity and soil products from organic waste materials. He helped lead its growth from $0 revenue in 2008 to more than $140 million in 2012, as well as leading 9 acquisitions. 

Nathan joined VC firm Kleiner Perkins as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence and then in 2013 became CEO of General Fusion, a world leader in commercializing fusion energy. He led the company as it raised almost $200 million and to be the first nuclear company to be named to the Cleantech 100

In addition to his current role at Bellwether Coffee, Nathan also sits on the board of Evok Innovations Venture Fund, a leading cleantech fund based in Vancouver. 

You can find Nathan on LinkedIn

Discussion Highlights:  

  • (3:34) The shifting landscape of entrepreneurship in sustainability - better products and better environmental footprint.  
  • (5:10) Bellwether’s coffee roaster and how it's revolutionizing the coffee industry.  
  • (10:04) Playing both defense and offense in response to COVID.  
  • (12:42) The world's reduced carbon footprint and how it's an opportunity.  
  • (15:53) Performance of the clean tech companies in Evok's portfolio.  
  • (17:04) Changes in consumer behaviour and the impacts of the environment.  
  • (19:29) The biggest opportunities in our personal and professional lives: building relationships.  
  • (21:36) Adaptive social practices at Bellwether: online water cooler hour, trivia, and drinks.  
  • (24:08) The initial stress during the start of lockdown and reshaping his thinking.  
  • (25:21) Focusing on 'the more important but less urgent things in life'.  

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