5 Questions with Polina Vasilenko, Founder of HelioRec for Paris Techstars Accelerator

Jul 07, 2022

Polina Vasilenko, Founder of HelioRec, Techstars Paris Class of April 2022

HelioRec’s vision is to be the leader in floating solar technology and to provide a clean, affordable energy source to people worldwide.

01. What is your background? Take us through the steps of becoming a founder

I am a passionate environmental entrepreneur, with two master’s degrees in chemistry and renewable energy (ocean) and as well a mentor in Women in Tech.

As an active traveler (68 countries) and scuba-diver (100 m), I saw many beautiful places ruined by negative anthropogenic impacts and based on my personal experience and internal feelings, I decided to change my career's path from "black" side of fossil fuel to "green" side of renewable energy. After a successful 14-year career in the oil and gas industry (ex-Schlumberger), I decided to make a fundamental career change and to do something useful for the planet. Both my training and vast working experience led me to found HelioRec.

02. What about Heliorec's team?

I am a solo-female founder of a hardware startup. It creates a lot of challenges.

03. What did you enjoy most about the Paris Techstars Accelerator’s program and what are your biggest learnings?

I like to be around like-minded people who continuously support me in professional and personal challenges. As well, it was great to see that this program ideally fit for me, Paris Techstars was focusing on female founders and cleantech and it is 100% me:)

I learned the most about negotiation and started to implement this knowledge in real life. As well to get an idea about fund-raising and how complicated it will be and what to do to be able overcome these difficulties.

I liked the idea of #givefirst and see how mentors are dedicated to our start-ups and help us without expecting anything back and I want to give back as much as you can to them, other start-ups and organizers and it is an internal feeling which appeared by itself, without forces.

04. What were some of the obstacles your company faced throughout the three months of the acceleration program?

The biggest obstacle is how to prepare the company for the next fund-raising round. Also, finding the right team members is very difficult.

05. How do you plan to measure the impact of your company in the next 5 years?

  1. 42000 tco2 saved by 2026.

  2. Happy hired people.

  3. Saved land space.

  4. Saved customer’s money on electricity.

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