Alumni Spotlight, Kyle Cherrick '08
Feb. 28, 2019
Kyle Cherrick is a 12-year solar industry veteran with experience in both startups and industry leaders including First Solar, SunEdison, and Chint Power Systems. He leads business development for Pick My Solar including industry partnerships, growth strategies, and strategic marketing.
Cherrick graduated from the University of Arizona in 2008 with his degree in Marketing and Entrepreneurship. During his time at McGuire, his venture name was Renewabuilt and upon graduation, Cherrick joined a startup called Axio Power where he was a key project developer. In 2015, he founded his next startup which eventually merged into Pick My Solar.
5 Questions with Kyle Cherrick
Q. What is most surprising about being an entrepreneur?
A. How big of a rollercoaster it is, every time. You can go from certain doom to back on a rocket path in a matter of days, sometimes hours. This is why persistence is one of the most valuable entrepreneurial traits. Startups don’t die, their founders just stop trying to fix the latest problem or wall in front of them.
Q. What was the most important lesson you learned in the New Venture Development Program?
A. “A venture scalable business means it needs to be worth AT LEAST $50M in 5 years, otherwise, you are thinking too small.” - Jim Jindrick
Q. What impact has the New Venture Development Program had on your career or life?
A. Tremendous impact. The McGuire program helped me learn all the pieces which needed to come together to build a highly scalable, sustainable business model. And it was thanks to the McGuire program that I was able to explore business models in my field of passion, solar energy. They even paid for me to attend my first Solar Power International Conference in 2007. The learnings and connections from that event set me on a solar startup path for the next 10+ years.
Q. What do you consider your biggest entrepreneurial success?
A. Honestly, it’s probably in process at Pick My Solar. I was fortunate to join a startup in 2008 called Axio Power after graduating from McGuire. They had the same business plan which I had been writing, they had built similar companies in the wind industry and they had just raised a $5M Series A commitment, so it was a great place to learn and I was able to be one of the key project developers on over $400M worth of large scale solar projects which were all built after we sold the company to then publicly traded SunEdison. That used to be my biggest entrepreneurial success. In 2015, I was able to found my next startup, which I decided to merge into Pick My Solar. We’re on a path now to build the nation’s leading managed marketplace for home energy, helping customers across the country overcome the challenging process of a complex home energy upgrade like adding rooftop solar or energy storage.
Q. What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
A. Network like crazy, the faster you can build a big network, the faster you can secure resources for your next startup. Find the smartest classmates you can who are just a little crazy to work like hell to build something of unique value. You will grow far more than is ever possible in a traditional corporate environment. And you’ll have more fun too. There is only one good reason to start a company, and it is NOT to make money. The only good reason to start a company is to change the world, to fix something that is fundamentally wrong or subpar about the world. So have high standards for the world you want to build.