Tech Moguls Back GoodLeap’s Green Housing Push With $12 Billion Valuation

Individuals are going to want at the very least $450 billion to show their houses inexperienced in coming years, says entrepreneur

Hayes Barnard,

and he desires to get it to them.

Mr. Barnard, a former high government at SolarCity Corp., raised greater than $1 billion previously 10 months from tech investing luminaries like

Michael Dell


Laurence Tosi

to develop his finance firm GoodLeap LLC. A September funding spherical valued the corporate at $12 billion.

The brand new capital has made the low-key Mr. Barnard into the “billionaire-next-door” in his Austin, Texas, neighborhood, based on an individual who is aware of him. It additionally marks a comeback for the 49-year-old, who resigned as chief income officer at SolarCity in 2016 when

Tesla Inc.

took over the financially stressed company.

The U.S. photo voltaic business has been stricken by false begins, however growing demand for energy-efficient housing—and for eco-friendly investments—has turned the tide, Mr. Barnard stated.

GoodLeap has turn out to be the most important rooftop photo voltaic financing firm in lower than two years by creating new know-how to attach lenders, customers and the distributors that set up the panels, based on bankers and traders. The intention is to duplicate inside only a few years the modernization that took many years to unfold within the mortgage market.

GoodLeap affords lenders like banks, insurers and hedge fund managers software program that may observe the funds and buyer satisfaction of every borrower. An app connects installers to lenders to get mortgage approval whereas on gross sales calls to owners, who can use a unique app to trace energy manufacturing, price financial savings and electrical energy gross sales to their native utility grids. The corporate is on observe to originate $5.2 billion of loans this 12 months, up from $3.3 billion in 2020, an individual conversant in the matter stated.

Many householders have turned to putting in photo voltaic panels to embrace cleaner energy sources and to adapt to blackouts and different disruptions linked to local weather change.


nathan frandino/Reuters

Now Mr. Barnard desires to department out into house enhancements starting from warmth pumps to energy-efficient home windows and synthetic lawns, financing homeowners’ efforts to adapt to blackouts, warmth waves and pure disasters brought on by climate change.

Mr. Barnard and GoodLeap President Tanguy Serra—additionally a SolarCity veteran—are racing to develop earlier than more-established monetary establishments flip their consideration to the area. Mortgage firm


Cos. in August announced a tech-driven push for “inexperienced house vitality options” financed by way of loans.

“The corporate that wins is the corporate that bundles all of the know-how collectively,” stated Mr. Barnard, who peppers his speech with Silicon Valley patois like, “I need to double-click on that.”

GoodLeap wants cash to remain forward and, for now, Mr. Barnard is steering away from public inventory markets and their scrutiny and reporting necessities. As a substitute, he’s courting elite know-how entrepreneurs.

Mr. Tosi, an investor and the previous CFO of

Airbnb Inc.,

met Mr. Barnard in 2018 at a snowboarding occasion in British Columbia organized by enterprise capitalist

Antonio Gracias.

On a hike, Mr. Barnard impressed Mr. Tosi together with his curiosity in constructing an enterprise targeted on large points like sustainability, Mr. Tosi stated. He invested in Mr. Barnard’s enterprise in 2020 and joined GoodLeap’s board of administrators this 12 months.

Property homeowners within the windy and sunny components of the U.S. are pushing again towards large-scale renewable vitality growth, opposition that researchers say may gradual the transition to a cleaner economic system. Picture: Aaron Yoder/WSJ

Mr. Barnard linked with Mr. Dell after he moved to Austin, a metropolis Mr. Dell has lengthy referred to as house and that’s increasingly attracting Silicon Valley émigrés like Tesla founder

Elon Musk.

This summer time, Mr. Dell and Mr. Barnard took a stroll alongside Lake Austin to get to know one another. They mentioned a possible funding in GoodLeap, the corporate’s charitable affiliate, GivePower, and the relative deserves of elevating capital privately or by way of a public inventory providing.

A couple of weeks later, Mr. Dell positioned the most important order in an $800 million non-public sale of GoodLeap shares. That funding spherical valued the corporate at $12 billion, up from $4.4 billion in December and $1.5 billion in March 2020, an individual conversant in the matter stated.

A current funding spherical led by Michael Dell valued GoodLeap at $12 billion.


Richard Drew/Related Press

One motive for the current capital increase, Mr. Barnard stated, is that GoodLeap is seeking to merge or purchase different solar-financing firms.

Mr. Barnard is aware of the perils of itemizing publicly. SolarCity’s inventory greater than tripled to round $85 from 2013 to 2014 as the corporate dominated set up of photo voltaic panels, which it leased to clients. The corporate held annual occasions for hundreds of staff in Las Vegas, culminating in an awards present the place Mr. Barnard carried out freestyle raps praising the winners.

However SolarCity borrowed to gas development, together with a expensive growth into photo voltaic know-how manufacturing, and its internet loss roughly doubled in 2015 to $769 million, based on the corporate’s annual report. The inventory fell to about $20 earlier than the Tesla takeover that triggered Mr. Barnard’s departure.

Mr. Barnard, who was raised in Creve Coeur, Mo., by a single mom working three jobs, regrouped round a mortgage firm referred to as Loanpal and started shifting the agency towards photo voltaic panels. The brand new enterprise prevented SolarCity’s vertically built-in technique and as a substitute constructed a software-driven market connecting business individuals, analysts and traders stated.

“The magic of what they’ve carried out is that they mechanized the entire course of,” stated

Rob Camacho,

co-head of structured credit score at Blackstone Inc. The agency has purchased greater than $500 million of loans by way of GoodLeap, an individual conversant in the matter stated.

An IPO would have given GoodLeap entry to lots of of latest traders. Cash raised by conventional IPOs, not together with direct listings or special-purpose acquisition firms, has already exceeded earlier full-year totals. Main inventory indexes stay close to data, and funding funds are awash with money and keen to purchase into rising, worthwhile firms.

This summer time, banks pitched GoodLeap a possible IPO valuation far exceeding the $12 billion it reached promoting inventory privately, folks conversant in the matter stated. Mr. Barnard turned to his mentors to assist resolve what to do.

Mr. Tosi texted Mr. Barnard: “Your organization, your phrases, your time, your approach.”

The place Local weather and Finance Meet

Write to Matt Wirz at [email protected] and Corrie Driebusch at [email protected]

Corrections & Amplifications
GoodLeap’s charitable affiliate is known as GivePower. An earlier model of this text misnamed the charity GoodPower. (Corrected on Oct. 13.)

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