Rod MacGregor, Founder of GlassPoint, is a lifelong serial entrepreneur whose career trajectory changed after he read ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ by Al Gore.
“I read ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, as did one of my co-founders, and I thought, ‘We are engineers, we can help with the problem.’ We were inspired to make a difference at scale. That’s how we entered the industrial heat market because that’s where you can make the biggest difference the fastest.”
In the mid-1980s he entered the startup game as a young Scottish entrepreneur, and went on to build 5 venture-backed high-tech companies, resulting in an IPO on Nasdaq and some trade sales. But from 2009, he turned his attention to the climate crisis, tackling the tough-to-disrupt industrial heat market which is the largest end-use of energy, responsible for more CO2 emissions than electricity and transport combined.
The beauty of GlassPoint’s breakthrough solution lies in its simplicity: a wilderness survival technique involves using a magnifying glass to concentrate the sun’s heat to light a fire. GlassPoint amplifies the magnifying glass technique to dimensions never before seen. It captures and magnifies the sun’s heat in giant purpose-built greenhouses, using large, curved mirrors that concentrate sunlight onto pipes, causing the water inside them to heat til they reach boiling point and generate steam.
“We built GlassPoint up from just my living room to about $100 million in revenue, $400 million in enterprise value, and 300 employees worldwide. We have manufacturing in China and projects around the world,” says MacGregor.
From barely evading bankruptcy when struggling to secure investment in GlassPoint’s early days, to reaching $100 million in revenue, to being fired from the business by investors to being asked to come back as CEO to restart the company and redesign the business model after it went bankrupt during the pandemic, MacGregor has had both a rock and roll green techpreneur journey and an outsized impact on combatting climate change.
Today, GlassPoint is the only industrial solar thermal solution proven at scale critical to help the massive and underserved $444 billion industrial heat market meet net-zero goals. It recently closed an 8 million Series A round which it will use to develop the world's largest solar thermal project with Saudi Arabia's national binding champion, Ma’aden. The scale of the project is unlike anything the world has seen before, with GlassPoint greenhouses that span 6 kilometres in length and width.