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

Americans are going to wish a minimum of $450 billion to show their houses inexperienced in coming years, says entrepreneur

Hayes Barnard,

and he needs 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

and

Laurence Tosi

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

The 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 confused firm.

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

GoodLeap has turn out to be the largest 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 purpose is to duplicate inside just some years the modernization that took many years to unfold within the mortgage market.

GoodLeap provides lenders like banks, insurers and hedge fund managers software program that may monitor 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 distinct app to trace energy manufacturing, value financial savings and electrical energy gross sales to their native utility grids. The firm is on monitor to originate $5.2 billion of loans this 12 months, up from $3.3 billion in 2020, an individual conversant in the matter mentioned.

Many owners 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.



Photo:

nathan frandino/Reuters

Now Mr. Barnard needs to department out into house enhancements starting from warmth pumps to energy-efficient home windows and synthetic lawns, financing owners’ efforts to adapt to blackouts, warmth waves and pure disasters introduced on by local weather change.

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

Rocket

Cos. in August introduced a tech-driven push for “green home energy solutions” financed via loans.

“The company that wins is the company that bundles all the technology together,” mentioned Mr. Barnard, who peppers his speech with Silicon Valley patois like, “I want 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. Instead, 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 centered on large points like sustainability, Mr. Tosi mentioned. He invested in Mr. Barnard’s enterprise in 2020 and joined GoodLeap’s board of administrators this 12 months.

Property house owners 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 financial system. Photo: 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 more and more 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 via a public inventory providing.

A couple of weeks later, Mr. Dell positioned the most important order in an $800 million personal 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 mentioned.

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



Photo:

Richard Drew/Associated Press

One cause for the current capital elevate, Mr. Barnard mentioned, is that GoodLeap is trying 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 firm held annual occasions for 1000’s of staff in Las Vegas, culminating in an awards present the place Mr. Barnard carried out freestyle raps praising the winners.

But SolarCity borrowed to gasoline development, together with a expensive growth into photo voltaic know-how manufacturing, and its web 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 commenced shifting the agency towards photo voltaic panels. The new enterprise prevented SolarCity’s vertically built-in technique and as a substitute constructed a software-driven market connecting business members, analysts and traders mentioned.

“The magic of what they’ve done is they mechanized the whole process,” mentioned

Rob Camacho,

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

An IPO would have given GoodLeap entry to tons of of recent traders. Money raised by conventional IPOs, not together with direct listings or special-purpose acquisition firms, has already exceeded earlier full-year totals. Major inventory indexes stay close to information, 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 mentioned. Mr. Barnard turned to his mentors to assist resolve what to do.

Mr. Tosi texted Mr. Barnard: “Your company, your terms, your time, your way.”

Where Climate and Finance Meet

Write to Matt Wirz at matthieu.wirz@wsj.com and Corrie Driebusch at corrie.driebusch@wsj.com

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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