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Geostellar creates an online marketplace for individuals to connect with solar energy providers. Using technology to analyze individual locations, Geostellar can forecast the savings for each consumer based on weather patterns, season changes, etc. Geostellar capitalizes on competitive human nature and plans to "gamify" solar energy to make it a social experience. By connecting consumers to multiple energy suppliers, Geostellar gives individuals collective buying power and financing capabilities, keeping prices low and solar energy more accessible.
Zoom out to a full model of the earth, a world of patterns and changes. We get an idea of hard landscapes — mountains, valleys, bodies of water and even buildings. We get a rough estimate of forests and trees, growth patterns and long-term movements. Even the constantly changing weather and unpredictable human behavior can be simulated.
We add the sun, source of energy and light, whose energy is constantly in flux based on all other patterns. It is an ever-changing dance of shadow and luminosity, and humans have attempted to harness this light since the dawn of time. In the world of video game development, all of these factors are considered and simulated to create a world that is designed to mirror reality.
Imagine using that video game technology — the algorithms that simulate and predict changing patterns of sunlight — to create a database optimized to help consumers harness solar energy. That is what Geostellar aims to do.
And they are successful. On their website, you can input any address and get a simulated reading of how solar energy can save you—not the average person, but actually you—money. Then, they connect you with the innovators that can make this money-saving happen.
They have been lauded as the Kayak of solar energy, and David Levine, CEO of Geostellar, cites Uber and Airbnb as inspiration for their concept. The idea is to connect consumers with producers and suppliers directly. In doing so, the website puts the power directly at the consumer's fingertips, figuratively and literally.
It is a win-win system, and in turn, society benefits from cleaner energy.
“There was a certain point, it became clear that I wasn’t going to be satisfied until what I was doing was unequivocally generative.”
-David Levine, CEO of Geostellar
With a bachelor's degree in philosophy and a short post-graduate career in a band, you could say that David was always inspired to find purpose beyond daily life. In reflecting on his music, he identified the role of art in creating empathy and connectedness. During his early professional career, David was interested in connecting with kids and joined a game technology company. His interest in future generations and his ability to connect people to purpose foreshadowed his current venture. However, even in these roles, to David, work felt manipulative. He said, “Whatever I was trying to do, [...] I never actually saw how it improved things.”
In previous roles, including time at Lanworth, Chesapeake Energy and the National Technology Transfer Center, the ability to use technology and its capabilities of imaging and quantifying the earth always resonated. He saw this technology as an opportunity to create positive change. He also knew that he had always been happiest running his own company, and, based on previous experience, found that energy was a huge market.
David remembers the exact moment and conversation when the lightbulb went off. At his daughter’s birthday party, he shared with a guest that his new venture would be energy focused. The guest, who had consulted on energy ventures previously, recommended investing in solar, citing impressive performance curves and future trends. “It was not as efficient [as wind], but more reliable and renewable,” stated David. The party guest invest $35,000 in seed money and the rest was history.
Geostellar is a culmination of David’s previous work and inspirations. He identified the concept of stochastic resonance — the idea that the multiple ideas repeat on the same theme and amplify each other. When asked if this was the end goal, he stated, “we are always on step one and we are always on step 1000.”
Twenty years down the road, David hopes to look back on these days and identify them as a tipping point. He recalled the recent floods in Southern West Virginia, and the governor claiming thousand-year floods. But they’re not thousand-year floods. They’re happening more and more often; people are in despair because we’ve beat up the world. He hopes that this is the moment we realize it. He is confident that his innovation will hit the mass market. Down the road, people won’t be talking about “solar energy” but just “energy,” and it will be a constant part of everyday living.
After 6.5 years, the business continues to flourish with David’s leadership. There are plans to launch new features in July 2016 that will continue to connect consumers and producers. In rewarding those who are solar innovators, Geostellar hopes to compensate people for doing well and doing good. Much like Uber, they appeal to producers’ entrepreneurial drive. Much like Uber, they hope to use their technology to capitalize on the connection they forge between producers and consumers.
Geostellar is attempting to predict human behavior, and the four icons in their logo reflect the motivating factors they’ve identified in their customers: love (for the planet), money (for your pocket), power (for the home and the independence that comes with it) and glory (the recognition of successful work).
Beyond the four motivators, they are appealing to the altruistic nature. They are looking for people who hope to disrupt the energy industry with innovation, in addition to their day job. Next, Geostellar looks to create a new industry and profession: Solar Professionals. Soon, these professionals will expand to additional energy efficient products.
When asked what the future holds, and whether this innovation will work, David confidently replied, “It is definitely going to work. No question.”
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David Levine, CEO