Nov 10, 2021 | 4 min read

Amrit Robbins

Podcast #163 Climate Axiom

  

Making Cooling Systems Sustainable

 

In this episode, Ken Forster talks to Amrit Robbins, CEO and co-founder of Axiom Cloud, a Silicon Valley company transforming how the world’s cooling systems are powered, operated, and maintained. Axiom Cloud is Momenta’s latest investment!

Amrit views climate change as humanity's most important challenge. He is passionate about commercializing new technologies that align best-value decisions with sustainable choices.

 

He co-founded Axiom Cloud in 2020 to unlock multiple massive climate opportunities in commercial refrigeration: making the electricity grid more flexible/intelligent and reducing refrigerant leaks Axiom Cloud's apps help retail grocery chains solve their largest energy, maintenance, and sustainability challenges using AI and automation.

 

Prior to Axiom Cloud, Amrit was the CEO and co-founder of Axiom Exergy, a hardware company that commercialized thermal energy storage retrofits for grocery store refrigeration. Amrit developed the company's product-market-fit, helped build a world-class team, co-led early technology development, sold the first pilots to Amazon/Whole Foods and Walmart, helped develop a sales pipeline of over $30MM with multiple national cold chain companies, and led Axiom Exergy through multiple rounds of venture fundraising. He was included in Forbes' "30 Under 30" list in 2017.

 

Before Axiom Exergy, Amrit worked for Clark Energy Group, where he co-led the sales, development, and engineering of a $100MM energy efficiency retrofit project for a national supermarket chain. 

 

Amrit earned his B.S. in Atmosphere/Energy Engineering at Stanford University. He is also a jazz/reggae/funk/salsa/R&B trumpet player. 

 

Key Discussion Points:

  • What do you consider to be your ‘Digital Thread’?
  • Was your time at Axiom Capital Management a deliberate decision to launch your career, or was it purely coincidental?
  • What drew you to the CleanTech industry? What were some of your early influences?
  • What was Axiom Exergy's founding story? What problem did they set out to solve?
  • What sparked the idea for Axiom Cloud? What exactly is your value proposition?
  • Your company recycles cooling equipment. What impact do you expect this to have on climate change?
  • Do you find that it is CleanTech 2.0 that attracts clients, partners, and investors OR because you're driving efficiencies?
  • How do you know if a prospective client organization is ready to implement your solution? And what are some of the greatest practices you've seen in terms of them realizing the potential value?
  • How would you advise someone who wants to learn more about Axiom Cloud, specifically some of the onboarding programs you offer?

 

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TRANSCRIPT

 

Ken: Good day, and welcome to episode 163 of our Momenta Digital Thread podcast series. Today, I'm pleased to welcome Amrit Robbins, CEO, and co-founder of Axiom Cloud, a Silicon Valley company transforming how the world's cooling systems are powered, operated, and maintained. Axiom Cloud is Momenta's newest investment from our digital industry fund. Amrit views climate change as humanity's most crucial challenge. He is passionate about commercializing new technologies that align best value decisions with sustainable choices earning him a place on Forbes' "30 Under 30" list in 2017. Before Axiom Cloud, Amrit was the CEO and co-founder of Axiom Exergy, a hardware company that commercializes thermal energy solution retrofits for grocery store refrigeration. Prior to that, he worked for Clarke Energy Group, where he co-led the sales development and engineering of a $100 million energy efficiency retrofit project for a national supermarket chain. Amrit earned his Bachelor of Science in Atmosphere and Energy Engineering at Stanford University. He is also a jazz, reggae, funk, salsa, and R&B trumpet player. Amrit, welcome to our Digital Thread podcast.

 

[00:01:53]

Amrit: Thanks so much, Ken. I appreciate the opportunity to be here with you.

 

[00:01:57]

Ken: Yeah, I appreciate you taking the time as well. And I love it when people have these different vectors. You could make a whole conversation on this idea of jazz, reggae, funk, soul, R&B trumpet player, but- for the sake of today's discussion, we'll focus on what you're doing with Axiom Cloud.

 

[00:02:14]

Amrit: Yeah, I think there's much crossover between musicians and entrepreneurs. But we won't get into that.

 

[00:02:18]

Ken: Interesting enough, we could make a whole conversation on that because I used to run software organizations and did a couple of start-ups in the day. And I constantly remind people that some of the best software engineers come from a traditional liberal arts background, whether they actually went to university or sometimes not. And it's that left brain meets right brain that I think is where natural creativity happens. A personal conversation there. We call this the Digital Thread podcast, and it's very much about one's digital thread. In other words, the one or thematic threads that define their digital industry journey. What would you think of as your digital thread?

 

[00:02:57]

Amrit: I've always been highly interested in technology. I was a tinkerer as a kid. I would put off bedtime as a toddler by asking how things work and demanding very long answers from my parents, which they're happy to provide. And therefore, I went to sleep pretty late as a toddler. But since then, obviously, I turned that into more of a career. And what I realized in high school was that climate change was the issue that, first of all, boiled my blood but also made me extremely motivated to take action. And that's really what I've organized my entire- I guess, academic and professional career around is climate change. So digital and technology kind of took a backseat, honestly, to climate change. But those are still essential elements of who I am as a person and what's influenced me along the way. And ultimately, what it all led to was building a company that uses technology and digital elements as tools to help work on the problem that I care about most: climate change. And that's where I am today with Axiom Cloud.

 

[00:03:58]

Ken: Yeah, I like this intersection. We'll talk about it in a minute of digital and climate change coming together with often is referred to now as Clean Tech 2.0. I always like bookends in life. And I noted that one of your early professional experiences was at a new cleantech venture aptly named Axiom Capital Management. Was your time here a plan to career start or just simply fate?

 

[00:04:22]

Amrit: So that's a funny story. That was after my freshman year at Stanford, and I wanted to be in New York City. I had romantic ideas about what it meant to be a young jazz musician in New York City. That was kind of the Mecca of jazz, honestly. And I was able to connect with one of my jazz idols. Her name is Ingrid Jensen. She's an incredible trumpet player, and I convinced her to let me sublet her apartment when she was on tour that summer in Queens. And from there, finding that internship was honestly a little bit secondary. But what was remarkable was that I was able to leverage the Stanford network to find something related to cleantech and was on Wall Street and ended up at this group called Livingston Capital Management, which was part of Axiom. And perhaps that was part of the reason we named these series of companies after that.

 

[00:05:04]

Ken: Yeah, I love the story. It's funny, as you and I were prepping for this, you mentioned, my answer to this one could be pretty dull. And I think it's a neat, multifaceted answer there. One of our partners is a gentleman with the name of Ed Maguire. And Ed is a well-known jazz violinist in the city. So he lives in New Jersey but often performs there in the village area down there. And one of the most brilliant guys I know. And again, this right brain, left brain, if you will, all meeting together. So it seems like there's a similar story there.

 

[00:05:35]

Amrit: There you go. Another example of that intersection.

 

[00:05:37]

Ken: Sure. You went on to work in energy concerns across wind and solar, ultimately ending up at the Clarke Energy Group, which we mentioned at the beginning there. What inspired you to this cleantech space? And what were some of your early inspirations?

 

[00:05:51]

Amrit: This has become a bit fraught over the years, unfortunately, but when it first came out, the movie "An Inconvenient Truth" completely rocked my world and changed my worldview, and made me realize that it was something that I just could not live with. It didn't sit well with me that we were essentially ruining our planet for future generations. As kitschy as it sounds, that was my first introduction to climate change when I was still in high school. At that point, I had no idea it existed before then. It opened my eyes, changed my worldview, and inspired me to dig a lot deeper into space.

 

Initially, I was going to study political science. I was intrigued by the idea of using policy to solve climate change with the stroke of a pen was incredibly beguiling to me.

 

Ultimately, what I realized, when I got to Stanford and wanted to study political science, Stanford is a magical place. And one of the things that it taught me was that entrepreneurship is a powerful path and the tool to use to solve a lot of big problems in the world. And my big epiphany was, rather than using policy as a tool to force people to do things they don't want to do, I'm more interested in using technology and entrepreneurship to develop new solutions that will be organically and scalably adopted by folks who are just interested in making better decisions. So, in other words, people who are out there looking for the best value, or the cheapest, or the highest value solution, which also happens to be the sustainable choice that fight climate change. So I switched my entire focus to engineering and caught the entrepreneurship bug. And the rest is history.

 

[00:07:35]

Ken: I was lucky enough to be part of a working group that Al Gore put together through his ventures fund and met in London with a working session with the whole team, I would say back 2014 timeframe. The focus of this was really on how we could utilize digital technologies to drive or minimize the impact of climate change or prevent it. And it was a surreal conversation. You could say, in some sense, it is prescient for cleantech 2.0 because Al Gore was a great facilitator, every bit as impressive in person as he was on the stage. Al Gore had an excellent early sense that digital technologies can be the tool to drive sustainability. It was fun to be part of that!

 

[00:08:32]

Amrit: Absolutely, yeah. That co2 graph with the scissor lift - was seared on my brain. I'll never forget that. Very, very powerful. And yes, if there's anyone in the world who has seen and had front row seats and participated then on stage, even, for the last 30 or 40 years of climate leadership, it's Al Gore, for better or worse.

 

[00:08:49]

Ken: He established it, I think, in the public's mind. All of this culminated with you founding Axiom Exergy in 2014, the predecessor to Axiom Cloud. Tell us a bit about the Axiom Exergy's origin story. What problem did you set out to solve, and for whom?

 

[00:09:07]

Amrit: Backing up a little bit, I worked for an energy services company in Washington, DC, called Clarke Energy Group. And when I was there, our largest customer was a major national grocery chain. And one thing that struck me was that in an early part of that engagement with that customer, we were getting a handle on how this customer is spending their energy budget. Where's their energy going? And it blew us all away to find out that they're paying anywhere from 55 to 65% of all of their energy just to keep food cold in their grocery stores, just on refrigeration. And what then really kind of nailed this point home, how important this is, was when the customer came to us and said, look, refrigeration, it's there. It's a necessary evil; it's untouchable. Just ignore it. Let's focus on the other parts of the pie because there's nothing you can do for refrigeration. And that frustrated me a lot. And it made me realize that there's a massive opportunity here.

People view refrigeration assets as a necessary evil, as something that can't be changed, just an unfortunate reality of the cold chain of keeping food cold as you move it from the field to the table—and ultimately zooming out and thinking about this overall opportunity. In North America, there are over 50,000 large grocery stores, and in each one of those is an enormous heat pump. A refrigeration system is an enormous heat pump. And what we realized was these heat pumps are chugging away 24/7, 365 days a year, in a very flat, constant way. And so, therefore, they're almost baseload, if you will, on the demand side of the electricity grid—they just kind of chug along all the time, very costly. And what we realized is that right now, this is a very overlooked space. People have- you install it, you turn it on, and then you shut the door, and you forget about it for as many years as you possibly can. You just hope it doesn't break.

 

We realized that we could kind of unlock a lot of value if we could open the door to those 50,000 heat pumps throughout the country, and number one, transform them into something flexible. In other words, rather than just assuming they're going to run at a constant rate all the time, if we can modulate when those are running and the rate at which they're running- so in other words, have them consume more power on demand, and less power on demand based on the needs of the grid. Suddenly, that makes the equivalent of huge electrochemical batteries appear out of thin air. That was the core insight that led us to start the company called Axiom Exergy. What we were doing at that company was providing a hardware retrofit solution, which added thermal energy storage capacity to refrigeration systems in grocery stores. So put another way, we were adding salt water tanks that were freezing and melting to store refrigeration for later use and then release it on demand. And our product at that point was a hardware retrofit; it had the form factor of two 20 foot shipping containers. So very, very large, very kind of CapEx intensive hardware solution. And ultimately, we were able to go and deploy that as pilot projects with Amazon, Whole Foods, Walmart, etc., and prove out that kind of commercialized technology and prove it out with initial pilot projects. But we didn't get much further than that, unfortunately.

 

[00:12:17]

Ken: Sounds like you made some good impact, though, with the customers that you had at the time. It's an interesting solution. We'll talk in a moment about how this might differ from some of the other investments Momenta has made. But let's transition to Axiom Cloud then. What was the inspiration that led you to create this new company? And what is your value proposition?

 

[00:12:36]

Amrit: Yeah. Axiom Exergy, the former hardware company, essentially was not growing fast enough to justify venture returns. And we realize there are really big problems with our business model, the biggest one being that deploying 20-foot shipping containers is not trivial. Even if we completely productize our entire solution, deploying it at each new grocery store or each new site was still going to be a pretty massive lift. Each site was a snowflake in many ways and involved months, if not years of permitting and review cycles and design and engineering and drawings, etc. And what we realized is that that's not a scalable business as we had hoped, and costs are much higher than we had ever anticipated. And we ultimately shut that company down for some of those reasons I just outlined, but then there were also some reasons related to the market. Our biggest investor was an oil company, and there was an oil price war in early 2020. And then there was the other thing that happened in early 2020 too, which ultimately kind of was the final nail in the coffin for Axiom Exergy, and that was COVID. And finally, after that company shut down, I was not ready to stop. And I knew that I wanted to continue this journey. I learned a massive opportunity to generate value using this massive fleet of 50,000 heat pumps throughout North America. And we went to the market and probed the idea, would you be interested in working with us to implement a software solution to help with a lot of these energy flexibility type challenges, and also layer on solutions to operations and maintenance challenges using software and using what we call a digital twin model of refrigeration systems to enable a whole bunch of really exciting kind of cloud-based analytics tools to solve the largest energy maintenance and sustainability challenges that grocery stores have. And we got an amazing response from the marketplace. We were able to recruit a great team, recruit some great new investors. And we brought some of the old investors as well, which we're very excited about. And we're able to re-recruit a lot of our old customers from the former company.

 

Ultimately, what we're doing today is pretty much exactly that. We're applying this very proven playbook. The idea is to get data out of machines. In our case, get data out of refrigeration systems, send it to the cloud. Liberate it from the machines where it's been locked for years, if not decades. From there, use data analytics and machine learning, and artificial intelligence to transform that data into something useful, valuable, and actionable. And then, in our case, we take the next step as well of rather than trying to sell our customer a series of insights or to-do lists, we transform those insights and to-do items into actions using automation. Put another way. We're solving these problems for our customers automatically and visibly in real-time behind the scenes. And then, at the end of the month, rather than selling them a to-do list, we send them a report saying here's exactly what we did, and here's exactly how we provided you value and in what amount in dollars. And this is not a new playbook. This playbook has been applied in almost every adjacent industry, and refrigeration happens to be one of the last holdouts. And we view it as almost an inevitability that this particular playbook of kind of IoT plus cloud plus AI plus automation is going to come to just generally every industry, and I think that aligns well with Momenta's thesis as well. And yeah, that's ultimately what we're doing today is we're applying that playbook in a variety of different ways, which I'd be happy to go into if that's of interest.

 

[00:16:01]

Ken: Certainly. Since you mentioned Momenta's investments there- we've invested in several companies across the cold chain, really looking for manufacture out to retail presence. Companies like NanoThings that managed- or at least monitored cold chain in transit, and then Axino, which actually sits in the coolers itself and does core temperature measurements of the food there. So key use cases are key benefits, food safety, of course, labor reduction, and of course, minimizing energy. The idea is, keep the thermostats as almost warm as possible while still making sure you've got an adequate safety margin for the food that's in there. And then minimizing people having to come around and manually inspect the core temperature, which of course means you have to destroy the packaging in the food to do so. Yours is the first that I know of that is thinking very differently in that you're repurposing the cooling equipment. How big of an impact do you see this being in terms of climate change?

 

[00:16:56]

Amrit: Yeah, that's a really good question. I guess quickly, what we're doing, I haven't even told you specifically what it is we do. We offer three subscription-based apps today. The first one provides enterprise visibility really, for the first time for if you have 500 stores in your fleet of grocery stores, for the first time, now you can see what's happening across all 500 stores for the refrigeration systems. And then do fleet-level analytics to understand which stores are doing well, which aren't. The other two apps are basically- Virtual Technician is providing predictive maintenance. And with that, we're using our digital twin model and comparing what should be happening to the store to what's happening to predict failures before they occur. And then diagnose them, locate them, batch them, triage them, and in many cases, solve them automatically as well. And then, I think what you're referring to is our third app, Virtual Battery. Virtual Battery is probably- it's kind of the most fun to talk about. What that app does is it makes the equivalent of a battery appear out of thin air. We do that by transforming the ice cream, the frozen chicken, the frozen peas into a battery- into a thermal battery using the software. We're not adding any hardware. We're using the existing frozen inventory. And I think the word we used was- repurpose it to turn it into saleable inventory and a battery simultaneously. And the key insight here is that as long as frozen goods remain frozen, it doesn't matter exactly how cold they are. And to put that in perspective, if you go to a Whole Foods today, and you buy a tub of Ben and Jerry's ice cream, that's going to be around -5 degrees Fahrenheit. If you go down the street, go to Costco, and buy that same tub of Ben and Jerry's ice cream, maybe the supersize version, that's going to be much colder at around -15 or -20 degrees Fahrenheit. And you, as the customer, you probably never knew that. It doesn't change your quality of life; you probably don't care. But that's the hidden degree of flexibility that we unlock. As long as that ice cream remains frozen, it doesn't matter how cold it is.

 

And the Virtual Battery app, we charge our virtual Battery by driving the temperature of those frozen goods. We don't touch the fresh like the milk, the lettuce or anything like that. We're just focusing on the frozen. We drive the temperature of those frozen goods down by a few degrees, and that's how we charge a virtual battery. During that charging period, the store consumes more electricity because the refrigeration systems are running harder. And then, of course, we do the opposite. We're discharging the virtual Battery during load shed periods, and the temperature of those frozen goods is rising back up to their initial setpoint. And the store is consuming much less electricity during those periods because we're throttling down the refrigeration system. So that's how Virtual Battery suddenly takes what one of the least flexible categories of energy-consuming buildings on the grid- grocery stores, and transforms them into one of the most flexible energy-consuming building categories on the grid is. Because suddenly, we have this massive heat pump that we can modulate on demand based on the grid's needs and price signals. So that's one big way that we can provide climate impact. Making the grid more flexible and more intelligent enables the grid to accept essentially a higher penetration of intermittent solar, intermittent wind, intermittent electric car charging without destabilizing or without causing massive price swings and fluctuations. That's one of the key benefits on the climate side. However, there's another one that I want to pull out of the conversation: refrigerant leaks. Ken, are you familiar with Project Drawdown?

 

[00:20:20]

Ken: I'm not. No.

 

[00:20:21]

Amrit: Project Drawdown, it's a nonprofit, and they put together essentially a list of the largest opportunities for humanity to combat climate change, ranked by gigatons of greenhouse gas reductions. And they're updating that list every year. This year, refrigerant management is the number four item on that list. So, in other words, it is the fourth largest opportunity to reduce climate change impacts that humanity has at its disposal today. I want to highlight that refrigerant management, what that means is leaking less refrigerant. Refrigerant gas, the stuff that's in your refrigerator, at home, or in a grocery store, is an incredibly potent greenhouse gas. Anywhere from 1000 to 5000 times more potent than co2. Today, the average supermarket in the US is leaking 25% of its refrigerant per year, on average, across all 50,000 stores in North America. And so that has a pretty massive impact on climate change. The other factor that just absolutely floored me was that today, grocery stores and every refrigeration system doesn't have a reliable way of measuring how much refrigerant is inside of it at any given time. It's kind of like driving your car down the highway without a gas needle to understand how much gas is in your gas tank. And then suddenly you run out of gas or on the side of the road, and then you know, you're out of gas, but you don't know before that. And what leads to going back to grocery stores because they don't have that gas needle to tell them how much refrigerant is inside at any given moment leads them to leak massive quantities unnecessarily. We're doing at Axiom is we're helping grocery stores to essentially add a digital gas needle. Again, we use a lot of advanced modeling techniques to add that digital gas needle to the refrigeration system for the first time to detect leaks much, much earlier than they were, and definitely before the store runs out of gas entirely. So that's a big part of our climate impact, as well as catching those leaks early.

 

[00:22:14]

Ken: Yeah, I can see it's a brilliant model, and I can understand why you started that- I'll call it generally fleet management kind of predictive. And then you have these wonderful optimization models that I'd like to think of it as repurposing because it's not simply tuning how it operates; it's completely rethinking how it operates in that regard. We talked earlier about Al Gore, and this idea of digital technologies driving climate change is this next wave of cleantech. I hear some people refer to it as cleantech 2.0. Are you finding that your potential clients, partners, and investors are investing because of that cleantech 2.0 focus? Or because of the efficiencies that you're driving?

 

[00:22:55]

Amrit: Good question. I think that the majority of the investors that we talked to- they're interested in climate. But ultimately, the reason they're investing is that we're able to drive a compelling business case for our customers, and our customers are adopting our solutions quickly. I think it does come back to financial returns most of the time when it comes to investors. Another part of your question was why customers are adopting, and that's more of a mixed bag. We're selling to folks on the energy sustainability side; at the corporate level, the top 50 grocery chains are selling to folks on the operations and maintenance side. And we're also selling to folks who are in IT comply. And what's interesting about that is that each of those different stakeholders has a different set of concerns, goals, and constraints. I mean, the software is such a magical thing because we can use the cloud, use software, use cloud analytics, data analytics, and AI. We can use these models that we're generating to provide an enormously wide variety of value streams for different stakeholders. And I think the short answer is that the reasons customers are adopting are quite varied, depending on their specific goals. Another comment on this is cleantech 2.0- I find that label kind of funny because cleantech, at least, when I was fundraising over the last five or six years, cleantech was viewed as a dirty word. And it's been really interesting to see how cleantech 2.0 or 3.0, or however you want to define it, is now being rebranded as climate tech. And I'm excited about that rebranding. I think that it does represent what's happening in the space. And it also provides a little bit more of a clean break from some of the pitfalls of cleantech 1.0.

 

[00:24:36]

Ken: I think you hit it earlier; there's a triple bottom line element to it in terms of- certainly the economic benefits, call it the sustainability or climate benefit. And then really almost what you would think of as ESG goals in the sense of- you're providing more transparency, more governance of a lot of these systems as well. And IoT is an enabler, or putting sensors at the Edge and then assisting them with or empowering them with AI is helping provide better visibility and thus control and monitor these things, which gives you that triple bottom line benefit. And people have asked us, are we an ESG investor? And the answer is yes, but not because we set out to be an ESG investor. It is a byproduct of IoT and especially relevant IoT in industrial settings, like retail and such. And so, in some sense, cleantech 2.0 is at least that has been called. It feels like it encompasses that same pattern there, right? You know, digital technologies can drive many benefits, not just on the pure sustainability side, right? As somebody told me, it's not or, it's and.

 

[00:25:41]

Amrit: I completely agree. Yeah. And that goes back to providing benefits to so many different stakeholders with different concerns, one of which is sustainability, cost, operations, efficiency, speed, quality, etc.

 

[00:25:54]

Ken: Yeah. And it's funny. I get in these comments with- or these conversations with Xeno because they're trying to sell into many of the same groups within retail stores that you do. And you're right; every store, or every chain, I should say, seems to have a different structure about who's deciding what in-store technology looks like and who's making the decisions in it. But it's beautiful when you can resolve a wide set of benefits around all of those. So let me ask, given all those different groups, how do you know when a potential client organization is ready to adopt your solution, and what have been some of the best practices you've seen in terms of them being able to realize the potential value?

 

[00:26:31]

Amrit: Yeah, so we know a customer's ready when we get on the phone with one of those key stakeholders, and you can just hear the pain in their voice. And that happens. And interestingly, it's not about one of these really broad kinds of conceptual areas; it's usually about one specific thing that is just bugging the heck out of them and making their lives miserable. For example, when we talked to someone on the facility side, they just got a slap on the wrist from their CEO because there was a public refrigerant leak. That's a pretty major pain point. If you feel like your job is at risk, or you're not doing a good job, and you feel like you're getting pressure from above, suddenly, you're ready to move. But you're not ready to move on a broad IoT or digital strategy; you're ready to move on anything possible to solve that one pain point. And if Axiom can help solve that one pain point, then you're willing to start and try Axiom. That's typically how we're engaging with our customers. We work with these key stakeholder areas where we can provide a lot of value, and then we determine what that acute single pain point they're feeling right now is. And then we focus, put our blinders on, but the customer's blinders on, and focus just on that one thing. And that's how we begin to work with customers- get pilots installed and search for a product-led company. So we start with three pilots, three months, five stores for free. And then we kind of show them that we can solve that pain point, that one pain point, hopefully turning them into a champion, so they go and sell the Axiom apps within their org and submit budget requests, etc. And then also arm them with the data, the actual results from that pilot project so that they can effectively sell the Axiom apps internally to continue to provide more and more value across more and more storage within their organization every time.

 

[00:28:11]

Ken: If somebody wants to find more about Axiom Cloud, and specifically, some of these onboarding programs you have, how would you advise them?

 

[00:28:19]

Amrit: Yeah, check us out at axiomcloud.ai, or feel free to reach out to me as well on LinkedIn or email.

 

[00:28:26]

Ken: Perfect. In closing, I always like to bookend the conversation coming back to the personal side again- how do you find your inspiration?

 

[00:28:35]

Amrit: Yeah. I already mentioned "An Inconvenient Truth," and that's one that I always say- it's kind of a funny thing to bring up this far out. But that was the source of my inspiration that exposed me to climate change. And I want to. I want to give Al Gore his credit where it's due. Another one that is inspiring to me is this outlet that's around today called Canary Media. I follow them very closely. These are just really smart folks discussing the intersection between technology, markets, and climate stuff. And the fact that they're really smart folks, thinking about the problem and kind of amplifying it for a broader audience is really exciting, very inspiring to me. But perhaps for me, the most inspiring thing is other founders who have started companies with similar dreams and then built really big successful companies that have an enormous amount of impact. These are the folks who have it all, scalable businesses that also generate scalable climate impact. Elon Musk is a perfect example of this, times three. But then I could list ten other companies that have built a digital solution for a market and brought it to market and then ultimately were acquired by the market leader. And now their key is being incredibly broadly used, and it's transformed that entire space. Whether that's Nest that upended home automation or Aurora that upended aviation, or Blue River Robotics, which upended agriculture, etc. There are so many examples of folks bringing the digital playbook to industries and then transforming it into a fundamental and scalable way. So those founders are probably my most significant source of inspiration.

 

[00:30:05]

Ken: I appreciate the terminology used there. And I think like I should have him write our new tagline for Momenta's ventures next fund- at the intersection. Well, Amrit, thank you for sharing this time with us today and for these great insights.

 

[00:30:21]

Amrit: Yeah. Hey, I appreciate the opportunity, Ken, to reach your audience and am also excited to partner with Momenta and, ideally, learn from everything you've already done with all your other portfolio companies, so we don't have to make any of the same mistakes.

 

[00:30:34]

Ken: Perfect. Well, I think I've hit just about every one of the founders with a podcast. A good starting point is to listen to the podcast. And now we will start making introductions for you. You're in a very rich ecosystem of like-minded founders. Amrit Robbins, CEO and co-founder of Axiom Cloud, and a deep practitioner in aligning sustainable choices with best value decisions. Thank you for listening. And please join us next week for the next episode of our Digital Thread podcast series. Thank you, and have a great day. You've been listening to the Momenta Digital thread podcast series. We hope you've enjoyed the discussion. And as always, we welcome your comments and suggestions. Please check our website at momenta. one for archived versions of podcasts, as well as resources to help with your digital industry journey. Thank you for listening.

 

 

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Amrit’s Inspiration Comes From...

Amrit attributes his inspiration to the documentary film "An Inconvenient Truth," which introduced him to the topic of climate change. An Inconvenient Truth is a 2006 American documentary film directed by Davis Guggenheim about former United States Vice President Al Gore's campaign to educate people about global warming. 

Amrit also finds inspiration from Canary Media, an independent newsroom that covers the global fight against climate change from the commercial, technology, and policy perspectives.

Third, Amit holds a special admiration for Elon Musk, who is an incredible visionary and leader that has been able to operate a successful and influential corporation.

About Axiom Cloud:

Axiom Cloud’s mission is to use software and automation to transform how the world’s cooling systems are powered, operated, and maintained to generate significant climate and financial impact. Axiom’s team of refrigeration experts, data scientists, energy experts, and software developers solves retail grocery’s biggest energy and maintenance challenges by layering intelligence onto their existing refrigeration systems. Learn more at https://axiomcloud.ai/