Zero Mass Water has developed a proprietary solar-powered system that draws on vapor in the atmosphere to produce drinking water as a standalone home-scale unit that is deployable practically anywhere, independent of all established infrastructure. The company’s business strategy is global and its humanistic mission addresses environmental sustainability. Consequently, it has attracted substantial funding from double-bottom line investors and forged major strategic alliances with global governments and industry. Zero Mass just closed a substantial C round led by Bill Gates’ fund, Breakthrough Energy Ventures.
Cody Friesen, Founder and CEO of Zero Mass Water, had raised $100 million in funding from marquee double-bottom line investors, including Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and Bill Gates, to realize his humanitarian vision of democratizing access to clean drinking water. Cody asked Occam to find a Chief Operating Officer and, shortly after, a Chief Revenue Officer, to help scale manufacturing, instill operational discipline, and introduce commercial savvy into this inchoate organization with grand ambitions.
While Cody is a formidable evangelist and fundraiser for Zero Mass, the company’s location in Arizona and its novel product without precedent made for a challenging recruitment sell for C-level candidates, many of whom would have to relocate from hub cities in the Northeast or Silicon Valley. The new hires also needed to have wide-ranging experience, from renewable energy and manufacturing to consumer electronics.
Joining Zero Mass as its new COO was Vinayak Gupta, who had previously run operations at SolarCity, a renewables firm that was acquired by Tesla.
Vinayak brought immediately applicable experience to the position, with a background in scaling a renewable product’s manufacturing process to hit a viable price point. With the subsequent placement of new CRO Rob Bartrop, the company gained someone with a global frame of reference and deeply relevant domain expertise in sustainable energy and capital markets.