Printable Solar Panels- A reality

​​Today I would like to introduce you to a futurist –  Jonas Karles. He is the co-founder of Epishine, a pioneer company which is into the manufacturing of printable solar cells. He is also pursuing his masters degree in Chalmers school of Entrepreneurship and Business Design. 
Tell us something about yourself and your work.
Ever since I was 4 years old I liked the concept of realizing ideas and bringing them into reality. I started selling fish in my neighborhood for 4 Kr each at 4 years. I was the cofounder of four other companies and finally ended up here at Epishine. Me and my team at Epishine are developing printable solar panels. The prototypes of which will be used on Chalmers windows starting June this year. 

Why do care about sustainability?
I think we are harvesting too much resources from earth and at the same time we need to double the amount of energy within 10 years, that’s a lot. This energy will come from different energy sources, hopefully fossil free. you would need hydro, wind and solar sources. Solar is going to be the most important source I believe. We are working on organic polymers which mimics solar cells, for which we need additional solutions like availability of silicon, transparent materials big-small, light-heavy materials, different efficiencies etc, we need to consider all these requirements and make the best of it. 

What ignited the spark in you to start Epishine & why Chalmers?
 I started in Chalmers because I would like to go back to my technical background. I was studying at school of economics and I would like to go back to where I come from which is the technology side. I wanted to combine business and technology into something. A friend of mine showed me the entrepreneurship school at Chalmers which works with early stage technology and bringing them to market. And it was the perfect education. So I applied and got in. “My motivation is to search for a scalable technology that will impact as many lives as possible.” And this product is scalable and really affordable. 

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in starting Epishine?
Basic problem was to bridge the innovation gap “the valley of death”. To go from academia to the market. We also needed someone to buy our product in a very early stage without knowing how our product will work. We needed someone who is eager to take this product to reality and help us by taking a big risk. So they are taking high risk in buying a product that’s not been tested before but on the other hand they are doing something unique and they can also benefit from that.

What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur? 
I think its almost the same thing as I felt when I was 4 years old. Taking an idea in my head and bringing it to reality. Like go to work the next day and work on bringing your ideas into reality. I think its about developing to care about the team. Realizing ideas with a team and see how the team and the individuals in the team can learn and conquer new areas, together and as individuals. That’s my biggest motivation.

What are your ideals?
Recently I got inspired by a quote in a conference by technoport in Trondheim which is “you cannot predict the future but what if you could create it”, which is similar to the slogan of Chalmers ventures which says” what if you could create the future” To make your ideas come true in future my ideal is create like a god, command like king, work as a slave. When you are in business you need to marry your team and be with them through good and bad times.

What three pieces of advice would you give to college students.
i) Search for the unexplored. You don’t need to go through the main road. You can find your own way and if you find your own way within entrepreneurship I think you should start with- what you are, who you are and who you know. 
ii) You can start with something very small, which will work on to become a complete solution. 
iii)You should really sell those things you could sell. For example, if  you want to build a computer but you only have the keyboard, then sell the keyboard. Sell what you have, because selling is the key of understanding your customer. Start selling early.

Compiled by Akshay Nataraj

Page manager Published: Tue 22 Mar 2016.