Getting to know Persefoni: Meet Will Fang
1. And you may ask yourself, "Well... how did I get here?" (Tell us your journey?)
For the first ten years of my career, I followed the conventional path of the overachieving, restless Millennial: starting out in investment banking, making the leap to the tech industry, and ending up at a series of startups in search of some elusive combination of validation, financial security, and meaning. Then Covid arrived, the world changed overnight, and like many others, I was forced to look inwards and question some key assumptions that had underpinned my life. What is important to me? How am I spending my time? Who do I want to be? Towards the end of this soul searching, I was introduced to Kentaro by a mutual acquaintance. And after one conversation, the fog of anxiety and indecision that had plagued me for the better part of a year suddenly lifted — I knew that helping build Persefoni into a generation-defining company was what the next decade of my career would be about. The climate clock is ticking and Covid showed us how ill-equipped we are as a species to deal with existential crises, so if there’s even a tiny role I can play to improve our odds, I want to be part of the solution.
2. And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile. (What do you do at Persefoni?)
I’m VP of Corporate Development at Persefoni, which means that I — alongside my team — am responsible for accelerating the company’s mission through M&A, investments, partnerships, and other inorganic growth opportunities. Our team analyzes the competitive landscape, develops and evaluates business cases, and sources, structures, and negotiates strategic deals that can supercharge Persefoni’s growth trajectory. Persefoni is a young company charting a course through unexplored territory, and figuring out how external collaborations can complement internal efforts will be crucial to our success as a company, an industry, and a planet.
3. And you may ask yourself, "Where does that highway go to?" (What are your hopes for your time at Persefoni?
While my path to the climate technology space was not the most direct, the experiences I’ve had along the way have taught me a lot about building a product, creating a category, and scaling a company in a rapidly evolving industry. I hope I can put these lessons to good use at Persefoni and earn my place as a leader in the company. Additionally, something I’ve realized over the years is that I derive a ton of purpose and fulfillment from building, developing, and coaching a team (which needn’t be big) of people who are willing to go above and beyond for me because I've done the same for them. I hope I can live up to this premise as we build up the Corporate Development function at Persefoni.
4. And you may say to yourself, "My God! What have I done?" (Why is Persefoni a great home for you?)
I knew Persefoni would make a great home for me when I heard about the company’s Operating Principles, and especially OP4: Act and invest like an owner. I've been at enough startups of different sizes and stages to recognize this as the single most important factor in determining a company’s fate. When there’s just the founding team and a few early joiners, this mentality is so obvious it almost doesn’t require articulating. But as an organization grows, keeping this principle alive becomes ever more difficult yet never more crucial. Once people stop feeling and behaving like owners, the battle is lost. No amount of OKR setting, incentive scheme design, or managerial oversight can motivate a team if its constituents aren’t invested in the whole. And once apathy takes hold in one corner, it will spread with frightening swiftness into every part of an organization. Since joining Persefoni, I’ve been struck by how brightly the flame of ownership burns inside every team member. We all want Persefoni, and each other, to succeed, so we do everything in our power to make that happen.
5. And you may find yourself in another part of the world... (Tell us about your life/hobbies away from work?)
I have three great hobbies that I — in the ‘before times’ — loved to combine: aviation, travel, and photography. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than partaking in the miracle of flight, exploring new cultures, and capturing the journey with my camera. But when the world closed down after Covid’s arrival and as I became more conscious of my carbon footprint, I had to learn and adjust. I still look forward to visiting new places and training my lens on new sights, but I’m now more aware of my impact on the planet when I do so. This internal tension is also a big motivation for my joining Persefoni: I don’t believe humanity will deprive itself out of the climate crisis; we need to use our ingenuity, drive, and collaborative spirit to develop technologies and policy solutions to this great but surmountable challenge we have created for ourselves.
Meet other Persefonites!
“Once in a Lifetime" is a series of articles designed to help our customers and partners learn more about Persefoni's truly passionate team. We're not just building award-winning software ... together, we're helping to decarbonize our planet.