Holaluz at IESE: A Case Study Comes to Life

What a treat and privilege to have met Oriol Vila – one of the three founders of Holaluz at IESE! The school frequently hosts inspiring business leaders, but this event had a twist: the students thought it was just a standard class. One minute we’re discussing an unknown renewable energy start-up in 2012 and debating whether it’s possible to value or grow this tiny loss-making business. And then we find out this ‘hypothetical’ company is none other than Holaluz – Spain’s first online green electricity supplier that’s about to go public and is valued at €160m!

Once Oriol came on stage the class exploded with questions. We had spent hours studying the energy market and Holaluz during 2011-2012, so we understood the financial, operational and even managerial challenges the business had been facing at that time. This meant we could dive into topics that are typically off-limits, for example cashflow and relationship management. Our professor Edi Soler had been CFO at Holaluz during this early growth phase, so the atmosphere was very open and informal as they both shared their perspectives and experiences.

Here are some highlights:

  • Being an entrepreneur means making ‘mistake after mistake,’ so you need to reframe how you think about ‘failure’ and embrace it as part of the process.
  • Right from the start the founders’ goal was to create a green energy company that would facilitate industry transition towards renewables. This core shared value is key, as it allows the founders to focus and align even when they disagree on other matters.
  • Objective financial valuation is impossible when you are creating a new business model in a new market, since any such valuation is based on many assumptions. All you can do so is find people that share your vision of the future. They are the ones most likely to share your assumptions about how to get there.

Thank you Edi and Oriol for sharing the story of Holaluz at IESE! It was truly inspiring.

We are looking forward to learning about other innovative energy businesses at IESE Global Energy Day on March 27 2020. If you are interested in these topics – come and join us!

Holaluz at IESE

Co-Founder of Holaluz Oriel Vila on stage at IESE