From start-up to scale-up: Insights from Nick Woolley

March 26, 2024
Nick Woolley

Last week, at the iconic Sugar Factory just outside of Amsterdam, innovators and leaders gathered to discuss Europe’s clean energy transition. Among them, Nick Woolley, CEO of, shared invaluable insights on navigating the challenging journey from start-up to scale-up. Let’s delve into the key points he raised.

Vision and sacrifice

You have to be prepared to make sacrifices as a CEO. For him, tackling climate change was not just a goal but a mission that fueled his passion and determination. When times get tough, staying focused on that long-term mission is what keeps you going. 

Expertise, not at the expense of passion

When looking to hire a team around you, Nick stressed that hiring individuals who are deeply aligned with the company's mission in the early days is paramount over hiring ‘the expert’. Spend time finding the right person with expertise and passion to keep them motivated in the face of daunting challenges.

Diversity breeds success

Diversity isn't just a buzzword; it's a cornerstone for building a well-rounded business. Nick stressed the importance of welcoming diverse perspectives and backgrounds to foster innovation and adaptability.

Compressed long-term thinking

While rapid growth is enticing, Nick cautioned against sacrificing revenue generation at the expense of a high user growth number. Maintaining a “compressed long-term thinking” approach is key, especially in an industry like EVs, which is growing rapidly but requires agility to adapt as the market evolves around us. 

Be a partner, not the solution

If you want to work with utilities or other large organizations it's important to deeply understand their needs before trying to work together. Nick emphasized the importance of being responsive and providing real pathways for utilities to innovation and new propositions. He recognized the innovation that brews within the utility teams and believes that start-ups play a pivotal role in helping facilitate their transition. Regardless of the time it takes, the ultimate goal is to drive forward-thinking initiatives and transformative change together

The journey of 1,000 nos

Building relationships with investors is a journey marked by perseverance and resilience. Nick shared that building strong investor relations is key not only for solid advice and guidance but to open business opportunities

Even if you're remote, find a way to spend time together

While remote work offers flexibility, Nick stressed the importance of occasional face-to-face interactions for real innovation. Despite helpful tools like Slack, physical gatherings remain crucial for fostering creativity and collaboration.

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