Movers & Shakers Interview with Benjamin Mull, VP Business Development at Tenergy Corporation.
Benjamin Mull is currently responsible for business development at Tenergy, but has previously had roles in sales, project, product, and engineering management. Benjamin brings more than 20 years of experience in tech industries, as well as a background in power generation and entrepreneurship. Prior to Tenergy, Mull worked at Ebay, Cisco, Regalix, and the US Navy. Mull started his career researching semiconductor manufacturing processes at SEMATECH, after which he joined the US Navy and designed nuclear power plants. From there, he moved into various roles including engineering management, program, project, and product management, marketing, and business development. Mull holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan, M.S. degrees in engineering from the University of Texas and Virginia Tech, an Economics degree from Virginia Tech and an M.B.A. from Wharton. Benjamin also received an Industrial Certificate in Nuclear Engineering from the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory.
Vishal Sapru (VS), Research Manager for Energy & Power Systems Group had an opportunity to conduct a Movers & Shakers interview with Benjamin Mull (BM), VP Business Development at Tenergy Corporation.
VS: Can you provide our readers a brief overview of Tenergy Corporation?
BM: Tenergy Corporation is based in Fremont, CA and was established in 2004. In 2009, Tenergy expanded to its 30,000-sq. ft. power technology center in Fremont. As a pioneer in providing total power solutions, Tenergy has enjoyed rapid growth by working closely with our customers to develop comprehensive battery and charger products. Tenergy serves a wide spectrum of industrial clients interested in NiMH, Li-Ion, Li-Polymer, LiFePO4 or NiCd batteries, chargers, power management and other emerging power technologies. Tenergy serves industrial, consumer products, storage, transportation, medical, communication, military and many other special applications.
VS: Please describe your product/technology/solution for our readers?
BM: The TenDura and TenFlex products are, respectively, single- and multi-module lithium-ion energy storage systems. These solution are durable, and easy to install, with high capacities that allow for a prolonged runtime. The 2U modular size is designed to fit standard computer server racks, and are easy to install. The products contain top quality Panasonic/Sanyo battery cells and a proprietary battery management system to jointly deliver safe and unparalleled performance.
VS: What are Tenergy Corporation greatest challenges and what strategy is in place to overcome it?
BM: Our greatest challenge is with customer education, although there has been a lot of recent interest in this market, which has helped. Having said that, this is a nascent market, with a few well-known names. We believe that our strategy of being close to our customers' and providing them with the most flexible, affordable and expedient solution is a compelling strategy.
VS: What is the unique value proposition of Tenergy Corporation and what are your key competitive differentiators?
BM: We provide a total battery power solution, with our key differentiators being speed, flexibility and price.
VS: What is your strategy in regards to offering best value to customer for the price, compared to similar offerings from competitors? if any?
BM: We are obsessively focused on our customers and take feedback to heart. We believe that our products have the right combination of features, and a compelling price. Based on independent testing we have conducted, we believe that we are well positioned for the markets that we are targeting.
VS: Continued innovation is the key to success in this growing industry. How is the process of innovation managed at Tenergy Corporation?
BM: We have two internal team set up to focus on and continually encourage innovation. The first team vets and prioritizes new ideas, along with establishing a budget. The second team executes on the idea. There are a set number of ideas that can be worked on at any time. For any new idea, a plan is first formulated, in line with business goals. Decision making is largely democratic in nature, whereas the execution phase follows more of a chain of command. Open progress meetings are held periodically to encourage continual feedback among and between all stakeholders. Finally, all innovations are tracked and monitored afterwards Alpha and Beta to verify success, or required adjustment.
VS: What do you want the company to accomplish in the next couple of years and how would you define success for Tenergy Corporation?
BM: We would like Tenergy to be successfully involved in enabling a distributed power grid.
VS: What is your key value proposition that provides your company a major competitive advantage over other players in the industry?
BM: We believe that our key values are tied directly with our strategy to provide our customers with the most flexible, affordable, and expedient total battery power solutions.
VS: Could you elaborate on the acceptance or adoption of your product/technology/solution in the marketplace and are there any positive client testimonials that can be shared with us?
BM: Our TenDura and TenFlex products have only been released for a few weeks, but we already received orders, and a lot of customer enthusiasm. We expect to have testimonials soon.
VS: Do you foresee the acceptance of your product/technology/solution in the marketplace to have an influence on the direction of the overall market going forward?
BM: We believe that the power market is inexorably heading towards both a renewable and a distributed energy future, and in some ways, those two things are intertwined. We believe that the TenDura and TenFlex will have a positive influence on that transition by easily enabling power storage.
VS: As a general conclusion, what do you think the future holds for such solutions and, more specifically, what role can we expect Tenergy Corporation to play in shaping the future of the industry?
BM: We are incredibly excited about the future. We believe that there is a transition in the way the world generates, uses, and stores power. We believe that Tenergy is well positioned to help in this transition and that products like the TenDura and TenFlex will have a positive influence on that transition.
VS: What are your company’s marketing and product positioning strategies? Do you plan to form any strategic alliances with other client companies?
BM: Currently, we are supplier and manufacturer of the battery products, and we are continually reassessing our positioning.
VS: What is unique about your company in regards to offering the best and differentiated service experience to customers?
BM: We are obsessively focused on being our customers’ most flexible, affordable, and expedient choice. For a variety of reasons, we believe that we succeed in delivering on our promise for the markets we are targeting.
VS: Please describe the importance and focus of your company towards building and strengthening the brand equity of your offering?
BM: We believe that a brand is a promise for what our company delivers. We feel that we build that brand every day with every interaction and transaction that we are involved with.
VS: What kind of customer feedback mechanism do you have in place to ensure that the product development and innovation matches market and customer needs?
BM: We have continual and ongoing with our Alpha and Beta customers for our new products, and work feedback directly into our product workflow and roadmaps.
VS: How do you compare yourself with top competitors in regards to offering Best-in-Class solution, with a full complement of features and functionality?
BM: There are a lot of really good competitors in the space, and a lot of really interesting technologies coming out. We believe that for the customers we are targeting that the TenDura and TenFlex will provide a good product in those markets.
VS: What is/are unique features of your product/technology that address unmet customer needs and competitors are unable to replicate and replace?
BM: The TenDura and TenFlex were built from the ground up with flexibility in mind, so we believe that we can effectively provide not just a solution, but a really good solution that will meet most if not all of a customer’s specific requirements.
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