“There’s nothing comparable to thinking about creating something and then making it a reality,” says Miguel Salís ’85, who founded Eolia Renovables — a major player in Europe’s renewable energy market — in 2004. (“Renovable” means “renewable” in Spanish and “Eolia” is derived from Eolus, the Greek god of wind.)
After a career in investment banking and executive positions at two technology start-ups founded by his longtime friend Martin Varsavsky ’85, Salís decided to play a trump card he’d held quietly for two decades: the degree in energy engineering he'd earned before coming to Columbia Business School. As a venture capital project, Eolia represents a fusion of Salís’s experience in finance, energy, and corporate management. The company aggregates dozens of small wind- and solar-power providers across Europe and in Mexico into a collective structure to minimize financial vulnerability. “Combining finance with capital-intensive sectors such as technology or energy is what I really know how to do,” Salís says.
With wind power estimated to grow at about 20 to 30 percent annually and solar power projected to grow even faster, the future looks bright for the company, which is already valued at more than one billion euros. “We have the luxury of being an important player in a high-growth sector,” Salís says.