The world has marched into the third decade of this century, and there is an unprecedented impetus behind us to leave the age of fossil fuel and adapt to green technology. The overuse of fossil fuels, ever since their discovery, has had an adverse effect on the planet. People started using fossil fuels from the 18th century, and soon, they came to know about the limited storage of these energy materials.
As a result, the demand for an alternative energy source started increasing rapidly. The necessity of green energy is vital, considering its negligible environmental effects. The awareness about these alternative energy sources facilitates the promising Greentech companies to embark on their mission of a green future. Surfing the waves of this trend, Simmitri, a customer-centric company, has been all there for its clients with its end-to-end solutions since its inception.
In an interview with Insights Success, Jonathan Garcia, the CEO of Simmitri, gives detailed insights about the journey of his company, its values, and the future of the Greentech industry. Below are the highlights of the interview:
Please brief our audience about Simmitri, its USPs, and how you are achieving your mission to make your technology available to all communities and empower people for a better world.
Simmitri is a customer-centric Silicon Valley company with an approach to energy management that is unique to the entire industry. Our mission is to empower our customers, employees, and partners to operate from a Holistic mindset in all aspects of life. To inspire good stewardship of our earth through responsible business practice, clean energy, and positive community engagement.
Since 1995, we have demonstrated to thousands of satisfied customers expertise in designing and installing comprehensive energy and roof systems in the residential and commercial sector. We engage our customers from a holistic perspective to implement custom-tailored solutions that solve core problems while making the building healthier. For example, doing solar, the way it should be done means performing a comprehensive energy evaluation to find out ‘Why’ the energy bill is high as opposed to taking a band-aid approach by sizing a solar system based on the energy bill alone.
We find that solving core inefficiencies often leads to our clients needing smaller solar systems while achieving much more impactful solutions as it relates to the individual buildings and the overall environment. Our experienced team of energy advisers, roof system technicians, project managers, building performance analysts, a customer success team, and highly experienced installers work passionately together in concert to achieve a high level of customer satisfaction.
The integration of technology throughout the process allows us to accomplish our mission and stay in sync with our family-owned business ethics of nearly 30 years. We are one of the longest-standing solar and roofing companies in California, and we have added on smart energy management, EV chargers, battery storage, and recently HVAC services. The commitment to the mission is reflected in our ‘Share the Light’ philanthropy program. Share the Light aims to impact lives through business.
We are committed to broadening our impact in our local community and beyond. Simmitri aspires to do this by restoring the balance of power to those who are in need and serving as a catalyst for a brighter future. Some of these efforts include donating solar to a village in Africa so children could read at night, helping save local high school’s mechanics program, and donating roofs and solar systems to PGE fire victims.
Shed some light on your offerings and how they impact the industry and your clients?
Simmitri has evolved into an Energy as a Service company. We offer end-to-end solutions that maximize the efficiency, profitability, and overall health of the building. During our energy evaluation, the team looks closely at each system: HVAC, insulation, roof, and ultimately the current and future energy consumption before prescribing the best and most complete solutions.
It’s a distinct advantage for our clients to be able to work with just one company for their solar, roof, gutters, HVAC, and energy management systems.
We simplify and add great value to the customer experience by approaching this from
a holistic viewpoint. The net result is Simmitri’s customers get custom-tailored solutions that better meet their needs which results in a building that is more efficient, resilient, comfortable, and safe. We have even been known to save lives through implementing this holistic approach to energy.
Being an experienced leader, share your opinion on how the adoption of modern technologies has impacted the green tech space and what more could be expected in the future?
Data technology improvements like Utility API, smart meters, and smart IoT energy devices have allowed us to capture all the energy usage history and profiles of our customers, with detailed interval and demand data available at the click of a button. This allows us to prescribe accurate solutions quickly instead of guessing how to solve specific energy efficiency challenges without chasing customers for traditionally hard-to-get data. Now we can come up with the most accurate, precise solutions with this smarter data and do it faster than ever before.
Incorporating the latest computing technologies like ASIC chips into microinverters as Enphase Energy has really disrupted the power conversion industry. Power electronics like this have never had this kind of intelligence before. Battery storage which has traditionally been plagued with issues, now has a pathway to work successfully and in conjunction with solar and what Simmitri calls the ‘Nano Grid.’
The Nano Grid is each smart connected device or smart appliance that can be optimized in real-time to support the main energy systems of the building and the utility grid. The Nano Grid has been overlooked, and this is one reason why energy efficiency programs are not as effective as they could be and, frankly, why we have such a big problem to solve.
Our nation’s energy problems can only be solved by a holistic approach which involves making the foundation of energy solid. Energy efficiency is the core foundation, and it must be ‘shiny,’ simple, and advantageous for mass adoption. Simmitri is in strategic partnership with Smartenit Inc., an experienced holistic IoT solutions provider, and other parties such as power utilities and governments to address these challenges.
Considering the current pandemic, what initial challenges did Simmitri face, and how did you drive your company to sustain operations while ensuring the safety of your employees at the same time?
When the pandemic hit, we had to pivot the way we operated. Business activities had to switch from being in-person customer and employee-facing to digital. We had to get better at remote site visits and data collection as well as internal company operations. During these challenging times, our company has embraced virtual work, team collaboration, and customer engagement.
The utilization of technology such as remote information gathering enhancements, modeling, solar design, and ariel imagery allows us to operate remotely and accurately. We have embraced virtual teamwork by leveraging Zoom to improve communication with customers and our internal team. In short, by being agile and creative, we have become more resilient, stronger, and more efficient.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the green tech market?
Get ready for an exciting roller coaster ride! Embrace constant change and consider investing in your own in-house Customer Success team, as we have done. Why? These customers also represent long-term investments that need post-install support and care to flourish and go full circle with referrals. It’s important to build that into your operational expenses early on. The cost of customer acquisition in the energy service space is very high, as well as the cost of post-sales support.
Taking care of your customers for the long term with this customer success mentality leads to the best business outcomes on both the front and back ends of the business. You have to build this into your margin; otherwise, you may be one of the countless ‘low cost’ renewable energy companies to crumble, for which the customer ultimately pays dearly down the line, giving us all a bad image.
How do you envision scaling Simmitri’s operations and offerings in 2022 and beyond?
Simmitri is a unique company in many ways. Being based in Silicon Valley, we know our customers expect the best products, service, and technology, so we built the Simmitri Customer Success mobile app for communication, project documentation, up-to-the-minute project tracker, system monitoring access, market updates, and an integrated customer referral/rewards program.
Customers have the ability to deposit rewards into their bank account or cash in with a gift card from over 1,000 stores listed in the app. Simmitri is adding the ability for customers to donate their rewards and or time to non-profits that are in alignment with Simmitri’s mission. We leverage this technology and other operational tools while providing unparalleled customer touchpoints.
Simmitri is building on our consistently excellent performance beyond 2022 and into the future, leaning on our successes to become an even more resilient renewable energy and solutions provider. In the service business and especially the solar market, companies tend to come and go very fast due to a lack of customer care and diversified offerings, often leaving customers with nowhere to go for help.
We are scaling our growth sustainably, with customer experience at our core, as we expand our services to being more of a solutions provider to drive value. We are doing this by being fiercely loyal to how we care for our customers: building our post-sale Customer Success experience, rolling up complementary services and products, such as roofing and gutters, EV charging, HVAC, water management, and home energy smart monitoring systems to create truly holistic solutions.
At scale, we can still provide a more comprehensive and valuable suite of offerings, maintain an amazing customer experience, and continue to garner great referral business while converting each home or business we care for into the most efficient and profitable asset it can be.
Simmitri is officially launching its government contracting program in 2022. We are currently registered with the State of California to contract public works projects and will be on the GSA schedule to contract with the federal government. Being listed as a small and women-owned business will give preferential treatment for winning contracts.
About the Leader
Jonathan Garcia’s parents founded Simmitri in 1995. In 2020, he stepped in as the second CEO of Simmitri. From a young age, Jonathan had a purpose and passion for being a good steward of this world. Growing up in the business as a young man, he became an early expert in roofing and solar. He fell in love with the fact that we could harness the power of the sun to fuel our lives with a clean and renewable energy source.
Being an advocate for environmentalism and sustainability, he pursued his degree in Environmental Science and then started his own passive solar home design company during his senior year with his mentor and professor emeritus, ultimately rolling that into the business his parents were still successfully running. Around the same time, Jonathan and his mother Pamela Garcia started a non-profit program called the Green Design Center to amplify education around sustainability.
He has traveled around the world, experiencing cultures and sharing his passion by educating less privileged youth. Since he started in this industry at such a young age of a teenager, his experience has been sought after by major manufactures for new product consulting, piloting, and launching. His work has been featured in multiple magazines, like Sunset and El décor.
This year, Jonathan was recognized and listed in Forbes magazine as an up-and-coming superstar entrepreneur to watch. Jonathan recently completed the Stanford Upper Graduate School of Business’ SLEI Business Scaling program through Latino Business Action Network (LBAN), which has helped position Simmitri as one of the most unique and sustainable renewable energy companies in the Bay Area.
He produced the winning video in the Stanford program video challenge competition. The support from LBAN helped Jonathan tremendously in his growth as a business leader and inspired him to officially create the ‘Share the Light’ philanthropy program that was mentioned earlier.
Since Jonathan became CEO, he has helped amplify the brand and created the company’s vibrant ‘Boom’ culture. There is a shared commitment to their customers, employees, and partners and untimely being in service for the greater good. Jonathan has also doubled Simmitri’s revenue every year since becoming CEO and has plans in place to continue to execute on his audacious goals.
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