Farid Dibachi likes to do things differently.  That approach has served him well in building Simpl Global.  One is his technical approach.  The other is his way of funding growth.

An electrical engineer, Farid founded the company in 2018 based on a very clever—and simple–way to provide modular battery storage behind each solar panel on a home rooftop.  This was a departure from the usual way of having one big battery bank somewhere in a garage or at the side of a house.  As a side benefit, his architecture improved the net output from the array of panels.  That turned out to be a very popular product.  In the next five years, he added load management, commercial scale storage, a thermostat that serves as a network gateway, and a monitoring system.  All embodied his simplified approach and his customer base has grown as a result. 

But Farid’s ideas on funding a company are even more interesting.  Because of some bad experiences in a prior company, Farid was determined to avoid bringing in multiple equity investors at an early stage.  He was determined to grow his company solely by plowing his profits back into the company—or “bootstrapping” it.  This choice has two big consequences.  First, you need a substantial profit margin on each sale to generate growth capital.  Most small companies have to be content with a small initial profit margin that grows over time.  They run short on cash before they can grow significantly.  Farid made sure he had a healthy profit.  Second, investing only earned profits into the growth of a company restricts the rate of growth in almost all cases when making a physical product.  One has to be content with allowing competitors who can grow faster with outside money to take market share.  The risk is that if the competitor can get established in the market, they could marginalize your product.

Simpl

Farid’s notion is that if he grows slowly and uses the time to improve his products, he could develop a great reputation in the market and develop a fiercely loyal set of customers.  Then it might be time to bring in outside money, from carefully vetted sources, to get to the scale needed to secure a significant market share.  

Many aspire to building a company without outside investment, but few have the conditions to make that possible.  So far, bootstrapping is working for Farid.  Yet there will be a point where he will have to take a bolder step.  But Farid wants to be sure, when he reaches that point, that he has a very strong hand in negotiations with investors.  

That’s a luxury most don’t have.  But that’s an advantage of doing things a different way.

Gary Simon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gary Simon chairs the CleanStart Board, bringing with him a wealth of experience from over 45 years in business, government, and non-profit sectors. Gary applies his deep understanding and experience to support the growth of clean energy initiatives and startups. His work is instrumental in guiding the organization towards achieving its goals of promoting sustainable energy solutions.

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