Paul Cook is a legend. I had the great honor to spend some time with Paul over the last few weeks, understanding the story of how he built Raychem from scratch.
Today, Silicon Valley has embarked on yet another evolution in its history, and has been consistently committing huge chunks of capital on a genre of technology companies and entrepreneurs that have popularly come to be known as Cleantech, and encompasses clean energy, water, and other such segments.
My core thesis is that Raychem was a company that succeeded in building an Industrial powerhouse based on innovative technology, and can be a great example for these Cleantech companies and their investors to learn from.
I did an earlier story on ERI, a water desalination company, which took 21 years to build, and the company made numerous mistakes, almost went out of business several times, and was essentially built by people who had no experience building an Industrial business. I spoke with VCs who acknowledge that the traditional model of a venture fund doesn’t allow investing in businesses that take 21 years to build. Or even 15 years for that matter!
With this backdrop, let us travel down the memory lane with Paul Cook, the cofounder and CEO of Raychem, who can tell us a few things about how to build an innovation-driven Industrial company.