After spending five plus years working for successful energy start ups in the solar industry in his twenties, one of which went on to be acquired by a Fortune 200 US company, Brad Pilgrim turned his attention to tackling climate change in the urban settings where he spent most of his time. He co-founded Parity Inc. (Parity) in an effort to bring attention to the amount of energy he saw wasted in the condominium that he lived in.
Over the past three years, Brad has led his team to develop and deploy Parity as one of the first AI-powered energy management platforms for multi-residential buildings in order to champion his personal mission to eliminate energy waste in buildings. Using this platform, Brad and his team have helped prevent an estimated 13 million + lbs of CO2 emissions from their customers’ buildings since 2017. By educating more than 75 condo boards and partner organizations, Brad has helped customers save an average of more than $60,000 per year in utility use
Where did the idea for Parity come from?
I had invested in a condo and my fees went up almost 20% so I dove into the numbers and understood energy (electricity and gas) represented almost 40 percent of our operating budget. Coming from the solar industry and knowing a few things about HVAC (mostly from a smart thermostat) I assumed there must be a way to save energy.
When I asked our board about what we have done they said “ We’ve done everything we can, we changed our lights to LED”, It was a lightbulb moment so to speak. I met my cofounder Brian Macleod by chance through a LinkedIn post and he was working on a similar problem. Within six months we had a working product and acquired our first customer and grew pretty quickly after that. The rest is history.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Everyday is something new with a slew of emotions that range from being excited about a project, to a feeling that I messed up, to thinking I may go bankrupt, but I would not change being an entrepreneur. I spend my day building the team, selling, finding partnerships, managing stakeholders, helping our operations, putting out fires.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Encourage people to be creative in their thinking. Listen to great ideas, understand the purpose of it and if it brings value or solves a problem, get buy-in, build, test, get feedback, iterate and move forward or kill it quickly.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Hard to pick one. We’re living in a pretty fascinating time.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I’m pretty focused on our US expansion and team in NYC. We’re planning on being in every major city in the NorEast US in the next few years and NYC is our first major push into the US market.
What advice would you give your younger self?
That’s a bit of loaded question. I’m not sure we can really contemplate the answer. If I did, I guess starting my next company I would make no mistakes.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Find new value to deliver to your customer and monetize. And Always look for how your business can fail. Don’t drink your own “kool aid”. It might sound counterintuitive to most of what you might have learned but have a healthy disregard for the impossible to happen in an instant. Be prepared for everything. Plan A, B and C.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I have a lot of experience in the energy field. I spent five years working for successful energy startups focused on generating new energy, with products related to portable solar gear and solar rooftops. By questioning how efficiently this energy was being used and if we had the right technologies to understand and manage it effectively, Parity took off.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Water quality tech. Something that can tell us precisely using an IOT device what I’m drinking. Water makes up most of the human body but we lack information on what we’re drinking in real time.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
There are several. Google calendar, Youtube , Slack – incredible utility, when used correctly.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Crossing the chasm by Geoffrey Moore. It’s a classic and applies to every business and product.
- Experience helps. I spent five years working for successful energy startups focused on generating new energy, with products related to portable solar gear and solar rooftops.
- Find new value to deliver to your customer and monetize. And Always look for how your business can fail.
- Encourage people to be creative in their thinking. Listen to great ideas, understand the purpose of it and if it brings value or solves a problem, get buy-in, build, test, get feedback, iterate and move forward or kill it quickly.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.