2022 Letter from the CEO

Christopher Cederskog
Christopher Cederskog, CEO of Sunhero

Dear friends,

2022 has rushed right in and we are busier than ever. But while the momentum is here, I want to pause and reflect back on 2021 - our very first year in business - and share with you our outlook for the future.

I started Sunhero together with my co-founder Stefan Braun exactly a year ago. Stefan and I have worked together for 4 years helping US companies build out international operations. In this time we developed a joint belief that technology and innovation will help our society resolve even the direst climate challenges. Joining forces came as a natural next step for both of us.

We conceived Sunhero in the times when the world has been navigating a global pandemic, a climate crisis, and political calamities all around. These last two years have been a defining moment for us as a society – and at Sunhero we are very clear on the dent we want to make. At the core of what we are set to do is our mission: to satisfy a growing demand for energy in a new way; to make it easy for people to power their homes with solar energy. Clean, cheap, and sustainable.

Building the company in times of pandemic has been business as usual for us. From our home base in Berlin, Germany, we built strong and committed Sales, Operations, Marketing, and Product teams in Spain (our first market) - without a doubt, our biggest achievement to date! We saw our team embrace our founding principles and grow with new challenges. We treasured the rare moments we had face-to-face. But we made Remote work, not only in ensuring effective communication and stable operational processes but also in honoring the new reality: accommodating childcare, education, health, and personal circumstances of our team members.

2021 has also been a year of firsts for us: we closed our first customers, designed the first systems, and acquired the first licenses; we built the first digital tool; we secured our first technician partners and built the first installations, and helped out our first customers produce clean energy. Through all of our firsts, we focused on setting a springboard for a high-growth, scalable solution for residential PV (photovoltaics, i.e. solar panels).

During our first year in business, one thing became prominently clear: the market opportunity is even bigger than we thought. In Spain, the PV market is at an inflection point and market growth in 2021 far exceeded expectations:

  1. Demand: the number of potential customers interested in receiving offers is steadily increasing, making intent-based marketing even more efficient and dominant than we expected.
  2. Market players: there is no clear market leader that has emerged thus far and customers are looking at multiple offers at the same time.
  3. Opportunity areas: the combination of a relatively immature installer market and high growth lead to construction challenges.
  4. Talent acquisition: our team is extremely well set up to succeed in the market, but hiring will continue to be a challenge and a growth opportunity.

We are seeing similar trends in other South European and international markets. So we know that we are in the right business and on the right track.

Looking into 2022, the market in Spain will continue to grow rapidly. Given our stage at Sunhero, we will focus our efforts in the first half of the year on seizing that opportunity and building a stronghold in the Spanish market before expanding further:

  1. Team: we will build our leadership team to help reach growth targets in Spain. In doing so, we will continue to focus on building a diverse, inclusive team and culture, in which all voices are heard and in which commitment to our mission is the main driver.
  2. Technology & product: to enable scale, we will build tech solutions to automate our offer creation, shape the customer experience, and build technicians’ support.
  3. Market landscape: over the course of the year, we will see some players raise a lot of money to charge the expansion. We, of course, will aim to be among those companies.
  4. Growth obstacles: we see two principal challenges in the current market environment. Firstly, there’s a lack of qualified technicians. And secondly, PV as a consumer product is still in its infancy, making for a difficult purchasing decision. Our ambition is to help our customers find the right solution and to guide them through the process.

Through our customer challenges to find a more affordable, sustainable, and clean energy alternative to traditional utility providers we get reminded every day that our work has a real-world impact: social, economic, and environmental. But as a CEO of this business I also took to heart the validation from the investor community in the words of Larry Fink, the Chairman, and CEO of BlackRock from his 2022 annual letter to the CEOs:

“The next 1,000 unicorns won’t be search engines or social media companies, they’ll be sustainable, scalable innovators – startups that help the world decarbonize and make the energy transition affordable for all consumers.”

I want to wholeheartedly thank our team, customers, and partners for their trust, commitment, energy, and all the hard work.

We are proud of the business we are in and of the progress we made so far, but we know that the real work is just starting. So stay tuned!

Truly yours,

Co-Founder & CEO at Sunhero