June 7, 2022

Moving Towards Energy Abundance with Christy Cardenas, Managing Partner Grit Ventures


Infrastructure is one of the key issues impacting Austin’s rapid growth. Whether it’s water, roadways and transit, or power, we must ensure that we have the resources to handle our growth. Today, we focus on power… Joining us is Christy Cardenas Managing Partner Grit Ventures.  Grit Ventures focuses, in part, on new energy sources, distribution systems, and transportation.  We talk about the current energy situation, how we make a transition to new sources while working together with traditional producers, what does innovation look like with abundant energy, and finally where does Austin fit into all of this.

We need the lights on to see...What's next Austin?

Podcast Production Services by EveryWord Media

Our music is “Tech Talk” by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under Creative Commons 4.0 License 

Episode Highlights:

  • Deep tech is a growing field for venture capital being driven by horizontal technologies like robotics, AI, and energy that really span across the industrial value chain
  • They are looking to energy solutions, that allow us to repurpose the enormous legacy oil and gas infrastructure
  • The EIA projects that by 2050, we still will be using natural gas and coal for half of our power generation
  • To achieve any sort of decarbonization we need to build bridges to the legacy energy industry
  • Nuclear is an underappreciated asset for this future and some cool stuff like the big fusion laser at UT is happening here in Austin
  • Texas has a huge potential as a leader in advanced manufacturing with our cheaper land, cheaper electricity, huge engineering talent, expertise in structuring capital intensive projects, and building sophisticated industrial infrastructure
  • 30%-40% of the Texas state budget comes from direct tax from oil and gas receipts
  • What’s next Austin
    • “The Texas technopolis…a step into the future and I think Austin is at the helm of it”

 

Transcript

Michael Scharf: Austin is the new innovation powerhouse, not the next Silicon valley, but the first Austin, we are adapting to the future. In real time.

Jason Scharf: I'm Jason Scharf, a biotech executive, and early stage investor.

Michael Scharf: And I'm Michael Scharf advisor and board member for multiple private companies.

Jason Scharf: You can call us optimists, abundance minded up wing, and even solutionist.

We see a bright future ahead that can be achieved through innovation and entrepreneurship.

Michael Scharf: In this podcast, we explore Austin superpowers, the people in companies driving our growth. And the macro and micro trends that come together to create Austin today.

Jason Scharf: This is Austin Next

Infrastructure is one of the key issues impacting Austin's rapid growth, whether it's water, roadways, and transit or power, let's ensure that we have the resources to handle our growth. Today. We focus on power joining us as Christy Cardenas, managing partner Grit Ventures. Grit ventures focuses in part on new energy sources, distribution systems and transportation.

Christy an early stage builder in the real asset and infrastructure space. She focuses her time on clean energy and logistics. In addition to AI and data platforms prior to grid ventures in large-scale private equity, she invested with first reserve and Arroyo energy and the ongoing clean energy revolution across energy and power infrastructure sector.

Her focus spans the value chain, including solar wind, biomass, energy efficiency, hydrogen fuel cells and transportation among others. Christy started her career in energy investment banking at Citi during the last credit crisis, working on a variety of M and a IPO and debt issuances across the upstream midstream oil field services and petrochemical sectors.

Chrissy has also enjoyed roles at mercury fund and ecliptic capital continues to serve in an advisory role to both from. She's intimately familiar with both economic and technological transformations, investing throughout the ongoing energy revolution across capital markets. She's investing in similar transformations across many sectors, Christy is intimately familiar with both economic and technological transformations

investing throughout the ongoing energy revolution across capital markets. She's investing in similar transformations, across many sectors, all in support of a better future

Christie. Welcome to the Austin next podcast.

Christy Cardinas: All right, guys. Thanks so much for having me.

Jason Scharf: So let's start off a little bit with your background. How did you get involved in startups and venture capital?

Christy Cardinas: You know, good question. I'm not a traditional venture capitalistic sort of came from the other direction. I started in investment banking at Citi right around the last credit crisis. You know, speak of the devil then moved into large scale, private equity and energy infrastructure and power. So doing really big construction projects, we had like 30 billion under management and there's just only so much you can do in the later stages.

And there was so much changing around me and I just, I got sort of swept in by this. You know, promise of building a better world. You know, long story short, I moved from big infrastructure into venture capital in Austin, honestly, and it happened quickly.

Jason Scharf: So why don't you walk us through grit ventures and kind of the thesis behind the firm.

Christy Cardinas: Yeah. Sure. So grit ventures is about grit, shockingly enough, you know, the, the kind of extra magic it takes to do things that are difficult. And that's really where we focus. And then a couple of different veins when we're early stage investors. Kind of first money in where the going gets tough, the tough get going.

The, we do hard tech and deep tech, which is what, where we believe the largest opportunity is, but it's also, you know, notably difficult. We focus on new and diverse founders and, you know, grit. My partner is a woman out of Menlo park where I think it's sort of. And like a wink to the underrepresented, you know, it takes a little something extra and that's really how we focus early stage deep tech, new and diverse founders, emerging hub.

Creating new real value and you know, an impact orientation trying to, you know, save the world.

Jason Scharf: So one of the things that I've noticed, if you go back, I don't know, five, six years, the number of deep tech VCs was a very, very small group. I feel like that's changed and that there is a, a more of a focus on that.

And then of course, it's funny. We use deep tech, hard tech frontier to the lots of different kinds of terms in there. So one, how do you define that? Why do you think that's, it's now a moment that people are starting to focus more on it.

Christy Cardinas: Yeah.

I definitely think that I am seeing more deep tech investors.

And even from the big VCs, their rhetoric has kind of changed towards deep tech. The way that I define it is more kind of technical risk as opposed to deep market risk. So, you know, we look at. Horizontal technologies like robotics and AI and energy and power that really span across the industrial value chain.

Whereas, you know, a lot of VC is to, you know, e-commerce or consumer are very healthcare, you know, very kind of single industry, single market focused with a business model innovation. You know, I think that these huge there's kind of a macro pull going on in labor shortage. I mean, we're. We're short 10 million workers.

That's the size of the state of Michigan, the 10th largest state. We, this, you can't avoid the supply chain disruption. It's everywhere. The energy situation, which we'll talk a lot about is a mess. Gasoline prices are sky high inflation is sky high. There's these very real problems that are rooted in the physical world.

And in order to solve them, you really have to go kind of revert to value and. Go to these deeper technological innovations. That said the majority of capital is still in software and e-commerce and consumer, and kind of just the stuff that we've been doing for the last 30 years, you know? And that's playing out in the markets.

Michael Scharf: Now there's a bit of a mess out there guessing you're seeing that indeed.

Christy Cardinas: There is.

Michael Scharf: I want to start off in terms of talking about background, we have. Energy issues that are ranging from Europe to California, to here in Texas. How does, how do you look at that? How do you see what's going on? And where's grid ventures playing in that space?

Christy Cardinas: Yeah, good question. I think is this is a, from a crazy moment in history, you know, just when it comes to energy, the markets had really run up Russia and aids Ukraine. Europe is so heavily dependent on Russia for energy. I think it's a big. Why Putin invaded Ukraine. So oil and gas prices go sky high, and you have this situation where money institutional money has committed to fossil fuel divestiture in mass, like 40 trillion, which is the size of the S and P 500 market cap.

It's, you know, huge amounts of capital. And they really can't go back at this, you know, they've made commitments and there is. Underlying technology risk when it comes to resources, like we saw it in coal, like shale technology really changed the game for coal. It died almost overnight, you know? And the same thing is in the process of happening with natural gas and renewables and oil and electrification.

And it just, we're still dependent, but this kind of root risk that it could die overnight, I think is, is scaring a lot of money. So we're in this very difficult situation of the reality of having very high gasoline prices and high inflation until we solve this with technology. And that's really where we're focused is, you know, what are the right technologies and how do you bring those to market more efficiently than people have done in the past?

Michael Scharf: What are those technologies that we need to bring to market?

Christy Cardinas: Well, there's a lot out there, you know, I mean, we haven't really been focusing on energy innovation for as the, from a venture capital perspective for the last like 30 years, you know, since clean tech one 1.0 know burst. And so there's a lot of early, early tech out there.

We're looking at new forms of storage. You know, there's a lot, that's not sustainable about lithium ion and there's no standardization in the battery market right now. You can't, you can't easily transport it. What's nice about oil as a store of energy, is it flows, right? You know, you can. So we're looking at different kinds of fuels, different batteries that are pumped by fuel.

We're looking at hydrogen it's early. You know, that's another kind of storage mechanism. We're looking at reuse and recycling and waste and circular economy, and just better ways of getting the job done, you know, more efficient motors stuff that allows us to reduce demand as well as you know, manage the supply side more cleanly,

Michael Scharf: Storage has always been an issue I've been interested in.

I've had clients when I was an IB that had Non lithium-ion safe batteries, but a megawatt of storage was the size of half an acre kind of thing. I mean the most spectacular clean storage I've seen was the hydro where you'd pump it up at night and then let it fall and let gravity turn it. Turn your your generators.

Where do you see storage going? Are we going to be able to have this storage revolution that we need for that side of the equation? Yeah,

Christy Cardinas: I think things are going to change. Definitely. I mean, lithium ion is old tech, you know, ran right out of UT Austin, but it was discovered like in the seventies, you know, and so we we've just gotten the prices down, but they're the, the minerals and mining requirements.

Is not sustainable. The batteries aren't dense enough. They're not good enough basically is, you know, for the extent of what we fully need. I mean, I'm really focused on you know, like, and I say, fuels flow, there's a flow battery that I'm looking at. That's funded by the department of defense. I mean, I really liked that because it's easily transportable.

And not only that. So I'm looking for transportable solutions that improve on the qualities of lithium ion that are organic and sustainable, and also have the potential to be standard, you know, like oil or a commodity or, you know, something that we could really do throughout the value chain and potentially even integrating.

The enormous legacy infrastructure that we spent billions and billions on oil and gas infrastructure, and we need to be able to repurpose it.

Michael Scharf: I've always joked with folks that one of the reasons why we still have telephones is instead of being a hundred percent mobile is because of all the gigatons of copper, we have buried in the ground.

And so that the energy infrastructure is much the same. How do you look at some of the other areas of the energy infrastructure, like distribution and load balancing and those parts of it?

Christy Cardinas: Yeah, I think there's a lot you can do with digital solutions, you know, like AI and improved routing and efficiency and smarter allocation.

The utilities are tough. I do think that, you know, I mean, that's an understatement. They go to market and energy is complex and that's a big part of, you know, we have all this tech when you really have to figure it out, how to get it to market. We're looking at new forms of power generation, which is a bit more spry.

You know, you don't necessarily have to engage with the utility for power generation. You can contract it independently and do things a bit differently. You know, the transmission and distribution system, the grid is just so heavily regulated. But that said huge opportunity. Like if you look at how much EV just EV alone, we need like four to five times the grid that we have today, you know?

I mean, there's just some crazy stats out there.

Michael Scharf: I, one time heard that I'm a manager of a large public utility said, if we had to have. 20% or 30% of our cars being EVs. We'd literally melt the current grid and it's just not going to happen without some massive infrastructure improvements. I, you know, we're looking at moving to a much different environment for energy, and I guess the question is.

What do we do between now? And then, I mean, we've heard talk of clean coal, fourth generation nuclear power and storage and micro grids and, and all these things, but to get to that abundancy, how do we, what what's going to get us there?

Christy Cardinas: Yeah. I mean, one, I think recognition of the reality of the situation that we do have a dependency on oil and gas.

That's real life. Like I drive a gasoline car. I want to save the world with clean energy, but like, I am totally dependent on the petrochemical complex, you know, and I actually just started my career coming from Texas. I started in oil and gas and I don't think villainizing that industry is going to do us any good.

I think in fact, we needed to build bridges. And that will make things go more quickly because they have, the legacy industry has so much economic power. You need de-carbonization. So, you know, like the EIA projects that by 2050, we're still going to be using like natural gas and coal for like half of our power generation, which is a ton.

So like, clearly we're going to have to decarbonize that, but there's not a lot of tech out there that for decarbonisation. Oh, it's in one big piece that I see that's neglected. We need better storage. We need more efficient generation. We need new forms of generation that aren't fossil fuel dependent, and it's gonna depend heavily on infrastructure solutions and the government.

I think the government is a huge part of it, honestly, because they have a big problem with themselves. Yeah. I mean, climate change certainly, but gas prices being so high as is an exposure you don't want, you know,

Michael Scharf: true. And of course, there's one of my favorite answers to the distribution issue is micro grids.

We have micro grids for water. Why can't we have micro grids for power?

Christy Cardinas: Totally. I do think that just distributed solutions. Generally are going to that's the future clearly like community oriented and distributed solutions that you know, more efficiently allocate resources. Yeah.

Michael Scharf: How do we convince policy makers that this is not a one election cycle issue that we're not going to decarbonize the entire.

by, oh I don't know, 2025, 2040

Christy Cardinas: It's a complex situation. Getting humans to make long-term decisions in their best interest. You know, I that's true of the public sector, but also the private markets. I mean, it's a challenge that I see and deal with on a day-to-day basis. I think the question is not, do we need to solve this?

It's more, how do we need to solve it? And how does that affect our. Our geopolitical global standing. That to me feels like really the biggest lever, like, okay. So if you look at China, you know, China doesn't have the natural resources that we as America has. And so they have a bigger problem on their hands to solve.

And so they're, outspending us on energy transition, two to one, you know, they have over 50% market share in. Electric vehicles, solar wind, and lithium-ion battery equipment. And I think there, there is this fear of just China's control over the global manufacturing complex, and that really, you know, extending into energy and disrupting fossil fuels is a very real risk that.

We need to be aware of and meet head-on and I, you know, I'm sort of well, I'll try not to preach to you guys about this energy technology, but I just, I believe it's the key to the future. It, you know, it's so energy dominance is so critical. To geopolitical power. It's like everything. And we're at this sensitive moment in time.

Jason Scharf: Well, and to your point, you were bringing up kind of, you know, you said that China doesn't have the same natural resources that we do except for rare earth. So the one element that we want to definitely shift from a geopolitical away from,

Michael Scharf: Wait, let's not forget the other country that has all these minerals Afghanistan,

Jason Scharf: right?

Yeah. Yeah. We need stuff we can make here. I think that's another big thing we need domestic American.

Yeah. And so, you know, as we talk about, we want to make these kinds of transitions and you know, how the government is, or is not involved. You know, we haven't spoken a ton about nuclear, but an interesting comment that I heard on a different podcast a little while ago was the, the nuclear regulatory agency, whatever the proper three letter acronym is, which is supposed to be, you know, hasn't actually approved a new nuclear plant in 30 years.

I'm not sure that that is actually something that is there for innovation. If you're going into that and you haven't done it, you haven't said yes, in 30 years, I'm thinking that it's not going to help with any sort of transition, right?

Christy Cardinas: Yeah. This is another complex human problem. You know, there's a lot of fear with nuclear.

People are freaked out. They, those are a big disasters when we don't manage it appropriately. People who are taking. Because it's people are taking different approaches because it is in a lot of ways, a really nice power source, you know, it's efficient to it. Doesn't have the same kind of challenges it's clean.

The so I'm seeing a lot of small scale nuclear and a lot of just efficient, you know, renewable driven reaction processes. Like there's a big fusion laser at UT Austin. There's like some cool kind of next level stuff going on that you'd probably be surprised by people are getting out there.

Michael Scharf: Not surprised, but happy.

Christy Cardinas: Yeah. Yeah.

Jason Scharf: So on that note, let's bring it a little more local into, you know, into Texas and Austin, obviously when we think Texas, you think energy, right? So how would you describe the actual new in energy innovation that is being both invented here and actually deployed.

Christy Cardinas: Yeah. So I see this whole situation as a massive challenge and opportunity for Texas.

I think it's the opportunity of a lifetime. Honestly, anytime things change so rapidly, you know, like really a lot of this is triggered by COVID, like oil prices went negative. Everybody has their hair on fire. The world has changed. Okay. We need to handle things differently. So we have a couple of things going for us...

A lot of new people, like new talent that has flooded in a lot of them were really impact oriented, you know? And that, that means clean tech entrepreneurs. And I feel like in Austin, I'm like tripping over clean tech entrepreneurs. You know, I think that's going to be a real strength for Austin. As far as the rest of Texas, I am seeing there's some clean tech.

There's some there are other industrial applications that I think are also. Positive for energy and sustainability, but are not necessarily not necessarily energy. Like robotics is a good example. Like if you look at the oil and gas economy, a big chunk of that is services and machine fleets of machines, and there's a whole body of expertise that knows how to do that stuff.

Like. Major robotics, hub forming here, you know, advanced manufacturing, like basically the potential for Texas to solve some of these big labor and, you know, domestic manufacturing problems in a tech forward way. That allows it to leverage it's industrial company, you know, cheap land, cheap, electricity, lot, a huge force of engineering talent, all sorts of expertise associated with structuring capital intensive stuff because of oil and gas and a super sophisticated industrial infrastructure, you know, I mean, and, oh, we're global.

Central we can import export. I mean, there's just so many things that are moving in that direction and clean energies is going to be a big part of it. And UT Austin honestly has a lot going on there. You know, like the big chug chunk of what's happening at UT is there such a strong petroleum engineering group, what does that turn into? And it just logically you immediately go to decarbonisation, which there's not enough of. We really need it. Geothermal these very direct adjacencies to oil and gas, I think will be something that Texas is really good at. Yeah.

Jason Scharf: I actually saw something recently that fracking technology may be what helps to unlock geothermal.

Christy Cardinas: Yeah, that's right. I mean, you're drilling holes in the ground. It's there early. I mean, all of this stuff is pretty early. Like we're sorting it out, but there are a lot of these oil field services companies are racing after geothermal, you know, they're trying to figure it out. What does it make sense for us to be doing with all of the talent and expertise and resources that we have?

And in a lot of ways, clean energy outside of technology, more like renewables, like solar and wind, this stuff is low risk, low return. You know, it sits there, it soaks up the sun, there's it doesn't do much. You're getting like eight to 10% returns off of it. Whereas oil and gas. This is like heavy CapEx, high risk, high return.

We're talking 30, 40% plus returns. And so I think it's kind of a difficult shift for these oil and gas guys to look at renewable electricity, which is a totally different universe and say, oh yeah, I want to get in. You know, and so the question becomes, well, what is this big economy that we have going to turn into?

And I think it's more, you know, part of it it's clean energy. Definitely. And I think it's more tech forward stuff, but then there's these other pieces that'll have to be part of it.

Jason Scharf: So one of the interesting things I think about Austin is the sector convergence. We do have all of these different sectors and you can learn a lot from them.

And it was interesting because you had mentioned in the beginning, right? So people are going into hard tech, which has much more technical. Risk associated than necessarily product market fit and business model. And what I found interesting. And obviously I come from, you know, the healthcare background that we've tended to focus on that it's all been very technical risk product, you know, it's, you have to take a therapeutic.

If I can make a new oncology drug that works, I don't really need to worry about necessarily the product market fit. It's all technical risks. If it works, people will buy it. But what I'm seeing now in the innovation side actually has been more on business model. We haven't focused enough on, I mean, you look at like something here locally, like Everly health, what's the big innovation, the big innovation is taking e-commerce to lab testing, right?

Like that it was more of a business model innovation than a product innovation. And so I wonder in this case, right, while we are shifting now in energy to doing a lot more of technical innovation, you know, new ways of generating energy, new distribution, What do you see the opportunity for business model innovation in the sector?

Christy Cardinas: Yeah. Good question. And it's honestly, I mean, I think energy is a really capital intensive, complex value chain and is because become more complex with clean energy and electricity, you know, it's like, that's just another layer and the technologists that are able to figure out these innovations don't know how to deal with the business models.

And if you can't figure out how to make money with it, it will never go anywhere. You know, I mean, I think that is something I'm laser focused on is bridging that business model gap, which is definitely there. I think the big opportunity is taking the business models that we've matured in oil and gas.

Over the last hundred plus years and applying them efficiently to these new sectors. There's because you're already dealing, you've already figured out how to structure stuff. That's capital intensive, that allocates risk across several party parties. It's very complex from a financial engineering perspective and oh, we have the talent that knows how to do that stuff.

You know, and, but, but there's a kind of a network bridging challenge there where like you've got the clean technologies and the types of people that are doing that stuff and know how to do the tech. And then you've got the people that in the older school industries that know the business models and there's a, a matchmaking that needs to go on in part, because of just, you know, one figuring out the business models, but to.

The, you know, having the trust relationships that you need to get industry to adopt this stuff.

Jason Scharf: That's another giant piece of it.

So in the medium term, my understanding of the way the Texas budget is set up high oil and gas prices of things that are produced here actually can provide a spike in state revenue.

How should we be thinking about this opportunity? Obviously on a consumer side, it's, it's very negative. So there's a kind of a balance actually that without necessarily going and picking winners and losers, we all saw the, you know, the clean tech bust from whatever 10, 15 years ago, you know, the Solyndra et cetera, where we pick the winners and losers.

And frankly, the government is not really good at that.

Christy Cardinas: Oh, sure. So I guess the first part. Yes, Texas has levered to oil and gas., like very levered. We, you know, I it's 30, 40% of the state budget is direct tax receipts from oil and gas. We're talking our schools and our roads, you know, like that's a big reason we don't have income taxes.

And so I do think there's this, you know, Longer term existential threat that if oil and gas does die, you know, we have a big, giant problem on our hands whenever, whenever that does happen. And we don't know when, you know, and so I consider it kind of this unusual blessing in disguise for Texas, that oil prices are high right now.

So we have some cash to spend, you know, and we really have an opportunity to see the future. In a major way, but we need to be smart about it. And I think you're right, that you can't, you don't want to necessarily make early you know, specific kind of execution bets. You need to make market bets like, okay, what are the big markets that are going to be the, you know, stronghold, Texas industries of the future?

And to me, it seems really, you know, it's robotics, it's advanced manufacturing and it's clean energy. And, it's health care. I shouldn't, it's not my focus area, but it's it's, it should, it's clearly important. But, and then you focus on seeding those industries. You, you build public private partnerships to organize the industries you fund.

Fund managers that are seeking new startups in those arenas, you know, you take a more distributed approach to fueling the economic clusters that make sense for Texas. And then just by nature of taking a market approach, you will have winners. You know, and, and at worse, you're just building up the talent base and expertise space, and the type of people that know how to do this stuff.

That's going to equip you for the future. Anyway.

Michael Scharf: Well, let me ask you a question, obviously, in all of our exports of oil and gas, we are basically exporting high density, energy storage materials. Is it now time for us to look at. Actually exporting the finished product is now the time for Texas to interconnect with the east and west grid.

And in essence, sell electricity purely. I mean, California, most of their electricity is, comes from out of state. Is that going to be the replacement?

Christy Cardinas: Oh, good question. I mean this, you know, I don't necessarily have an answer on the grid interconnected. That's a very, you know, that's like a political firestorm there.

I do think that I think that the import export capability is a massive benefit, you know, like, you know, we're, we're right in the middle of the globe and we have a port, a couple of 'em like what a blessing, you know? And and I do think that, that we need to diversify. Yeah, that it can't just be liquids.

I think when I look at the depth of the market pull of this labor stuff, it's like the world is going to need robots and oh, humans, shouldn't be doing this stuff anyway. You know, and they don't want to, and they're not willing to, you know, it's, I mean, that to me is not a problem. That's going away. If you look at demographics and, you know, women are having, like, the birth rate has fallen by like 20%, since 2007, it's like, there's some of these numbers are crazy.

And it's a global thing. And you know, I also think that a more diversified economy. It's a better thing, you know, it's like we can kind of see into the future right now, but to your point, I mean, just in speaking of imports, exports, like you need the government to focus by and really make some moves.

To set us up for the future so that we're not, you know, Michigan in 2009 and autos crashing around us or, you know, that kind of existential crisis we can get in front of.

Michael Scharf: Well, we are becoming one of the major hubs for manufacturing, automobiles. They just happened to be EVs

Christy Cardinas: and Tesla. Is a big part of this whole thing, you know, like they're part of this whole robot.

I mean, at least auto, you know, you can think of a car is like the first. Almost it's like you drive it around it's you're in control of it, right? Like and all the same reasons that Tesla moved to Texas are true of the broader industrial base, you know, you've got so we have these problems with China.

We can't, you know, that is not going to be a labor source for. Necessarily going forward, not when we want it to be depend on, but we have a close relationship with Mexico, you know, they, I mean, and oh, here we are. We're right next to him, but there's just so many different pieces of it. That makes sense.

Michael Scharf: Of course, China with the one child per family policy is now seeing the negative impact of that and will for the next 40 or 50 years.

Christy Cardinas Yeah. Yeah.

Jason Scharf: Generally speaking, I think we're optimists. So I know we're facing challenges now, but I'm pretty comfortable in saying that we're looking at a future of abundant energy coming at massive scale more than we've seen going currently that leads to dramatic change in innovation. What do you think happens to innovation when energy let’s call it essentially free, but cheap enough that it's not really something that you think about.

Christy Cardinas: I love this big dream question. I think it's cool , the I think it's everything. I, you know, we call it the clean machine revolution and it's really rooted in the need for machines.

Like the example that I like is You know, , the advent of the laundry machine, how that changed the lives of women everywhere, dramatically, you know, just that one single unit of automation. And right now you have a situation globally where. And even billions of people don't have access to electricity.

The billions of people don't have access to the internet. Like we're moving in one direction. We need more automation and more machines, and it really will have the potential to set humanity free. Like if you don't have to spend that time doing rote manual labor, you can enlighten yourself. You can gain knowledge.

You can. Do anything, you know, and enlightened, enlightened the entire society. I mean, it's, to me, it's like this rise of the creative class is sort of the dream that we're chasing after, but. To, you know, the key to this whole thing is clean and affordable energy and it's, it's like the golden goose.

There's no way to deal with it without it, but I do think it will change, you know, everything.

Jason Scharf: Christie, this has been great. We always like to end on the same question. What's next Austin.

Christy Cardinas: The Texas technopolis you know, a, a step into the future. And I think Austin is at the helm of it.

Jason Scharf I love it. Christie Cardinas grit ventures. Thanks for joining.

Christy Cardinas: Thank you so much.

Jason Scharf: So what's next Austin. We're glad you've joined us on this journey. Please subscribe on your favorite podcast. Catcher, leave us a review and let your colleagues know about us. This will help us grow the podcast. We'll continue bringing you unique interviews and insights.

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