Entrepreneur Journey / Consumer

Improving Planetary Health with Lyndon and Peter Rive and Elon Musk

Entrepreneurship was in the DNA of the founders of SolarCity (IPO in 2012, acquired by Tesla in 2016).   The company was co-founded by brothers Lyndon and Peter Rive in 2006, with their cousin Elon Musk serving as founding chairman. Lyndon, who served as CEO of SolarCity, is a unique entrepreneur.  A South African native, he started his journey in high school distributing homeopathic medicines, which gave him the capital to co-found his first tech company with Peter, Everdream, a desktop services management company, later acquired by Dell. A competitive national underwater hockey player, Lyndon flew to San Jose for a competition in 1998 and inspired by the vibe of the Bay Area, decided to emigrate to the US.  

When I met Lyndon in 2010, we had developed a thesis around energytech and a map of the entire value chain where big companies could be created.

At that time, SolarCity had established itself as the  leading end-to-end full service solar provider to residential and commercial customers and government organizations. The company had a vertically integrated product with turnkey solutions for system design, installation, financing, rebate processing and services. Its innovation on providing lease-based financing had lowered the barrier to adoption by customers and accelerated the growth of Solar PV systems. In a market of mom and pop energy distributors, the SolarCity brand stood for reliability and great service. We were honored to join Elon Musk, its largest shareholder and existing investors in a growth round in 2010.  

It has been a privilege to be associated with Lyndon, Peter, Elon and the entire team at SolarCity, who were inspired to contribute to improving planetary health before climate change made it an imperative.


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