Halcyon showed me that the work that we're doing is worth it, that we really are getting somewhere, that we have huge potential, and that we are being change-makers.
“Colombia is a country with a lot of needs. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, but I wanted to have an impact. Before we began BATx, I worked in Colombia’s Special Jurisdiction for Peace, which is our court that deals with the worst crimes that have happened in the country throughout the decades. So, that really opened up my eyes to the things that have to be done, and that’s something that stayed with me through this new stage of entrepreneurship. In the end, we aren’t just a startup that is focused on growth, but we want to also keep the side of giving back to our country and to our community.
Alejandro, my Co-Founder, and I have been friends since childhood. We had a very, very close relationship throughout our lives. We went to the same university, but not together. I was studying law and political science, and Alejandro was studying physics, engineering, and finance. But since we’re so close, we knew what each one of us was up to.
He had been researching everything that he could on battery development—he was very, very interested and curious about the matter. After some time, he began to see that it was actually possible to reuse batteries, because they were being sent to waste before they were actually depleted. After a couple of years, he came up with a way of how to diagnose them and properly reuse them.
One day while walking through the cafeteria, he told me: “Well, I’ve been really looking into it and business wise and on the technical side, it’s feasible. However, I can’t do it alone. I need a teammate—do you want to join in?” I said, “Yeah!” and from that moment on, everything began.
There are limited resources, so we can’t just exploit them forever—oil is going to run out. It’s an imperative to be more efficient in the way that we use. By reusing a battery, we are replacing the need to manufacture a battery that is equivalent. If we’re recycling, reusing or recycling them, then we’re going to hopefully one day reduce dramatically the need to extract them from mines, and instead just use what’s already out in the open.
And then the other thing is how to manage them when they reach the end of their life. These batteries are being used, essentially, like single use plastic; they were used for a couple of years and thrown away, no matter if they still had a remaining useful life. Columbia and third-world countries don’t have the means to process this electronic waste, even in the U.S. it’s a challenge. So, by reusing them, we’re buying up time to build up the capacity to deal with them when they are truly depleted. That’s the other side of the public good impact that that is achieved when we reuse batteries.
Halcyon showed me that the work that we’re doing is worth it, that we really are getting somewhere, that we have huge potential, and that we are being changemakers. I felt renewed when I suddenly found myself amongst all these very talented people from other countries and from the Halcyon team. I was flabbergasted to see that I was networking with people from such important companies, from the U.S. government, and they were talking to me one–to–one like peers. It showed me that we aren’t just a small startup local, that we are at this level, and this is the level that I aim to be at. It really helped me believe in myself and what we’re doing, and that’s the biggest part of it. Now I consider myself an impact entrepreneur, a changemaker, and an ambassador of sustainability. And it’s all very much thanks to Halcyon.
The world of entrepreneurship is very driven by measures, and scale, and growth, and revenue, and ROI, and all of these business indexes. And most of the time, it’s truly blinding us to what is really important. A lot of startups have all the potential in the world to scale, to be profitable, and receive investments, but when you go into the depth of what they actually do, they don’t really create a change that the world needs right now. They’re a profitable business, yes. But are they, are we, addressing what we as a generation have to address?
Halcyon is doing precisely that. It’s ensuring that the startups, the ventures, and the projects that have positive business prospects, but at the same time—and even more so—cause a positive impact on society and the environment, have a better chance of succeeding and therefore multiplying [their] impact in the world. I think this is astonishing and it’s very important. There has to be more of this in the world. They’re not just doing it for profit, they’re doing it for impact. They’re doing it in the places in the world that need it the most.”