Enphase co-founder Raghu Belur had a fireside chat yesterday at the AlwaysOn GoingGreen Silicon Valley 2012 conference with Anand Kamannavar of Applied Ventures. Raghu talked about growing a cleantech startup into a global company to a room of almost 500 entrepreneurs, VCs, and fortune 500 companies.
When asked what has been the key to executing the business so well, Raghu said it came down to one word: “focus.” From the beginning of Enphase, he and co-founder Martin Fornage designed a microinverter system with hardware, software, and communications that would deliver a radically different approach to inverter technology. They kept their focus on the "system" approach and strove to deliver to all key product milestones. They also kept focus in the early days on the North American market – knowing that one day they would expand globally as 85 percent of the market potential for solar was outside North America.
Raghu also discussed the realities of expanding globally. His advice to aspiring global entrepreneurs is to know that it will take longer than you think, and it will require more money. It is also key to have “boots on the ground” because there are some things you can’t learn until you’re in the country. Lastly, he said that there will be mistakes. The goal is to learn quickly, be flexible in problem-solving, and find new ways to move ahead.