Episode from the podcastDealMakers

Gene Berdichevsky On Being Employee Number 7 At Tesla And Building A $1B Business That Makes Your Phone Or Car Run Longer

Released Monday, 29th July 2019
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Gene Berdichevsky is the CEO of Sila Nanotechnologies Inc. which is a chemicals and materials company making next-generation Li-ion battery materials. The company has raised $295 million from investors such as Bessemer Venture Partners, Matrix Partners, Sutter Hill Ventures, Next47, and 8VC. Prior to Sila, Gene was also employee number 7 at Tesla.

In this episode you will learn:

The essential ingredients for raising money
Gene’s top piece of advice for his younger self and new founders
How to grow as a leader when your team is growing at 92% in two years
His approach to solving strategic problems

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About Gene Berdichevsky:

Gene Berdichevsky is the Co-Founder & CEO of Sila Nanotechnologies. Prior to co-founding Sila, Gene was the seventh employee at Tesla Motors where he served as Principal Engineer on the Roadster battery, leading the development of the world’s first, safe, mass-produced, automotive lithium-ion battery system.

Gene holds two degrees from Stanford University; an MS in Engineering with a focus on energy and materials, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering. He has co-authored 42 patents and 4 academic publications. Gene has been named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list, the MIT Technology Review 35 Under 35, and was a recipient of the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans.

Connect with Gene Berdichevsky:

Website
Linkedin
Twitter

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FULL TRANSCRIPTION OF THE INTERVIEW:

Alejandro: Alrighty. Hello everyone and welcome to the DealMakers show. Today on the show, we're going to have someone that I think we're going to be learning quite a bit about batteries. He was one of the early employees at Tesla, and now he's building a unicorn startup. Without further ado, I'd like to welcome him on the show. Gene Berdichevsky, welcome today.

Gene Berdichevsky: Yeah. Thanks for having me, Alejandro.

Alejandro: So, Gene, originally from the Ukraine. You were born in the Ukraine, and then you were raised in Russia. How were those years growing up?

Gene Berdichevsky: Yeah. They were great. I bounced around a little bit. Ukraine, on the Black Sea, and then spent actually five years of my life north of the Arctic Circle in Murmansk, and a few more years in St. Petersburg. Then when I was nine, my family came to the States. It was a great time when I was a kid there.

Alejandro: Where in the states did you guys relocate?

Gene Berdichevsky: We landed in Richmond, Virginia. I lived there through high school. Then I came out to Stanford for my undergrad studies.

Alejandro: Got it. Richmond is quite beautiful. Was this like your parents were teaching, or what would you say drove the move?

Gene Berdichevsky: Yeah. My dad's also an entrepreneur. He had some small businesses that he built there. They both became software engineers. Back in Russia, they were nuclear submarine engineers. Then when they came here, they both became software engineers. He had a beautiful place in Richmond, and I grew up in a little suburb there, much like many suburbs around the country. 

Alejandro: So, engineering. At what point did you start developing this love for solving problems?

Gene Berdichevsky: It's funny. When I went to Stanford, I think the one thing my parents really wanted me to do was be a software engineer. So,

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