In the first edition of our Community Spotlight series, we interview Software Motor Company's VP of Business Development, Maya Aharon. Maya brings over a decade of business acumen to the table, and has been with Software Motor Company for two years. Continue reading to learn more about Maya and Software Motor Company.
How did you initially get involved in cleantech?
After a few years working in startups, I was offered an operating executive role at a private equity firm in Israel, where I lived then. One of the companies I was asked to evaluate and help scale was a Canadian chemical engineering company that designed an eco-friendly innovative laundry detergent in the form of a compact paper sheet. Their mission was to eliminate 94 million plastic jugs end up in landfills each year in Canada. Besides the interesting strategy work around the go to market, I mostly enjoyed taking an active role in a sustainability effort around waste and carbon footprint reduction. Since, it's become my passion and I've been very particular with my career choices. Today, after getting involved in a handful of companies in the cleantech vertical, it's become a guiding value for me when I evaluate career and growth opportunities. Working at Software Motor Company today, I feel I'm on the forefront of cleantech, directly impacting energy reduction at scale.
Tell us a bit about your organization.
Software Motor Company (SMC) is one of the most visionary companies I have had a privilege to be part of in my career. There are a few interesting stats I most certainly was unaware of before joining SMC that heavily swayed my decision to take a leadership role at SMC:
(1) Electric motors consume half of the electricity in the entire world. You don’t think about it since they are in the background, unlike lighting that is in the room with us and fairly visible. (2) There is a $100B worth of electric motors sold in the world every year. The vast majority are AC induction motors, which the architecture for this type of motor was designed 120 years ago. (3) The install base of electric motors uses about a $1 trillion a year worth of electricity, YET, half of that is waste! Between inefficiencies, thermal loses and bad controls strategies, there is endless room for improvement.
SMC is focused on solving this massive waste - this is the first time Moore's law applies to motors. SMC is leveraging power electronics and IoT advancements to commoditize switched reluctance motor design.
SMC is focused on solving this massive waste - through commoditizing switched reluctance motor design. Our goal on a very high level is to replace all electric motors with optimal motor systems. AC induction motors were a brilliant design when they were originally adopted but since then they have been iterated upon so many times, the induction architecture, as good as it is, at this point has reached a plateau in terms of improvements with this specific design.
On the other hand, Switched Reluctance Motors have been thought to be the next generation electric motors for years, yet due to their dependence on active computing power and power electronics to run, which introduced high complexity and high costs, they have not been widely adopted in mass markets.
Over the course of the last 7 years, SMC has developed the most efficient, most reliable and most cost effective motor in the world, and we are completely transforming the motor industry, and by product the HVAC, industrial and agriculture verticals to start with as well.
Our GTM is two fold, partnering with equipment manufacturers to provide SMC systems as integrated components, currently predominantly with fan driven equipment manufacturers, and tapping into the energy savings driven HVAC retrofit market. We’ve specifically identified buildings/ commercial real estate as the main target for the SMC retrofit effort. Looking forward, SMC will eventually move into industrial, automotive and such.
My job at SMC as the Vice President Business Development is to accelerate market adoption and market share, to determine and execute the go-to market strategies in a wide range of verticals and to build and nurture strategic relationships with ecosystem players like utilities, government, energy services companies, HVAC market leaders and others.
What do you love about your work or what are you most passionate about?
I'm passionate about delivering value, about leading change in markets that have been lagging to adopt innovation and technologies. I'm passionate about building super functional teams and creating culture that allows people to reach their maximum potential.
What career advice would you give someone just getting started in your sector?
(1) Patience is key. Change is difficult to drive, especially in sectors related to cleantech. Real Estate, and HVAC in particular are slow to adopt change and technology, it's easy to get discouraged by the pace. (2) Balancing out of the box thinking and market feedback is key. I learned that to be great at delivering innovation and disrupting markets, the end user must drive the overall direction, yet to design the best solution that is disruptive and value adding, one of the most dangerous things that can throw you off is "this is how we've always done it".
How can one combat climate change outside of their career?
Every contribution is worthy. You don't have to change a whole industry to bring value. There are endless behavioral changes we can introduce to our community that can advance sustainability. Leading by example is the most basic contribution.
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