Revolutionizing Energy: The Journey of a Tough Tech Startup

Entrepreneurship is rarely a linear path. For Vermillion Power Technologies co-founder Kelly Hall, the twists and turns have led to an unexpected destination. 

At the heart of this entrepreneurial tale is a journey that started with design consultancy, steering clear of developing consumer products or seeking venture capital funding. Fate had different plans, and the company eventually found itself navigating the realms of consumer products, venture capital, and renewable energy.

Hall recently spoke with Connection Silicon Valley about the company’s pivot amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Faced with uncertainties, the team at Vermillion Power Technologies decided to use that time to work on their own product. Little did they know that this decision would mark the inception of a groundbreaking venture that has now been in development for three years.

Vermilion Power Technologies specializes in power electronics designed for renewable energy, focusing on simplifying the adoption of solar energy. These types of electronics are often deeply complex, notes Hall, who emphasizes the need for an efficient system to convert and use power from renewable sources like solar panels. The company’s innovative solution aims to make renewable energy more accessible by providing a plug-and-play inverter, revolutionizing the way people interact with solar power. The system is scalable, allowing users to start small and expand as they need to, creating a customizable and affordable renewal energy option. 

“Our goal is to make renewable energy as easy to use as filling up your car with gas,” says Hall. “It should be simple and accessible, allowing people to make choices at their own pace.”

Despite the clear benefits of the system Hall notes it has been a challenge explaining a complex technological innovation in a way that resonates with a broader audience. “I’m an engineer, and trying to explain this in a way that people can appreciate and not be afraid of has been difficult,” she says.

But in a major win, the company is preparing for a pilot project with a utility in Vermont beginning in the spring. “We’re very excited,” she says. 

Remaining undeterred isn’t always easy, especially when a company has had to adjust and pivot in response to market needs. Hall credits the team at Vermillion Power Technologies with staying the course. The company operates as a remote team with a flexible and inclusive work culture. Hall emphasizes the importance of meeting her team where they are and accommodating individual needs and encouraging a supportive environment. “Everybody works five days a week, but it’s about choosing which five days work for them,” she says. 

Being an entrepreneur comes with its own unique challenges, Hall adds. It’s easy to become discouraged, but for Hall, the best advice she ever received was to find your tribe. “You need to connect with people who understand and appreciate the unique challenges and innovations in your business,” she says. “Find people who speak your language and will support your journey in the entrepreneurship ecosystem.”


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