Q&A with: EnergyX Founder Teague Egan
Coined the next Elon Musk, Teague Egan is powering the future for generations to come
At just 32 years old, Teague Egan wants to change the world. And he has the vision, science and moxie to make it happen.
After graduating from USC and working in the entertainment industry, the Fort Lauderdale native was preparing to pivot his career path and follow a more meaningful mission. "While entertainment may have an impact on people’s lives, it’s a different type of impact that I [was] striving for," Egan recalls. Excited about the possibilities in renewable energy since investing in Tesla back in 2012 when it was a mere $7 a share, Egan's sustainability interest piqued during a trip to South America three years ago when he toured Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni, the largest lithium deposit in the world. With big dreams and a world-class team of scientists and engineers behind him, Egan founded EnergyX, which today is leading the way in lithium extraction technology with lithium acting as the most essential material in the batteries found in electric cars to iPhones to one day powering your entire house (as predicted by Egan).
Nicknamed "the next Elon Musk" by many, Egan is looking towards the next generation of consumers to further EnergyX's sustainability promise. The founder teamed up with friend and influencer Logan Paul to give away Teslas to two of Paul's 18 million Instagram followers and reinforce Tesla and EnergyX's shared vision of transitioning from oil to electricity for the long haul.
Currently stationed in Puerto Rico, Egan is both impressively accomplished in his career while still having a "long way to go" on transforming consumer accessibility to positively impacting our planet. But thanks to EnergyX, a commitment to sustainability doesn't have to mean buying a Tesla, although it's still certainly a stylish option.
Read my Q&A with Teague below as he weighs success, failure and the ubiquitous, unrelenting demand to better our world and power the future.
What was your vision when forming EnergyX? How has that vision shifted? [I wanted] have an impact on the world in the renewable energy sector. I think that anything you can do to impact the lives of millions of people is worth pursuing. When you’re building a company, you have to start really small, right? You have to have a big vision and really have big dreams. But at the same time, it’s only me starting the company and we’re still only a few people now. The founder needs to have big dreams but really go step by step. Those small steps in the beginning can’t be taken for granted. My goal was to just figure out how to produce lithium more efficiently and that still is the goal.
Why is lithium extraction essential to securing a more habitable climate? A lot of these [energy] companies work backwards in terms of what’s the overall mission for the company. SpaceX for example, their mission is to start a colony on Mars and they work backwards for how they’re going to accomplish that. For Tesla, their mission is to create a fully sustainable energy future and they work backwards from that and [manufacture] electric cars and other products that are a means to that end. Our overarching mission is [to power] a completely sustainable energy future. And the way we are approaching that problem is making lithium—which is one of the most important battery materials—more accessible and more abundant. Lithium is like the new oil. Oil and gas currently power our energy infrastructure. When batteries take that role, lithium will be one of the most important natural resources. If we can drive down the cost of the natural resources that go into batteries—mainly lithium—then batteries will be less expensive and more accessible. And that’s when you really start to see this shift towards a completely renewable energy future.
How can people invest in the future of sustainability? It’s a huge, huge movement; I think general awareness is the best answer. Millennials and Gen Y people care about this climate change movement and the movement towards sustainability and things like the Paris Agreement. The demand is absolutely massive; they can’t make electric cars fast enough right now. We just launched a crowdfunding campaign with NetCapital so people can invest as little as $98. It’s a pretty unique opportunity because we’re still not a public company but this crowdfunding platform allows people to buy stock in high growth private companies before they go public.
What does it feel to be called "the next Elon Musk?" It’s good marketing! He's certainly one of my idols and I think he's a lot of people's idols. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished but I recognize there’s a long way to go and I think it's safe to say that he thinks there's a long way to go. It's an interesting characteristic in people like us—we set our goals so high that they’re almost unreachable. I heard somebody say, “Happiness is the comparison between your expectations and reality.” If your expectations are way up here and your reality is lower than that, then you’ll never be happy. So I’m never happy with my results but that just drives us to do more. So if Elon’s goal is producing a million cars and he makes 300,000 then he can’t be happy with that and it just drives him to push harder. For me, my expectations are extremely high, but happiness needs to drive from within.
How did that mentality play into the Tesla giveaway? My goal was to have a million entries into the Tesla giveaway and I think we're probably going to hit like 100,000. I didn't hit my goal, but I'm happy for the opportunity itself and we changed two people's lives. [Next time], I would still set my goals extremely high—probably higher. You learn from your mistakes and do better. That doesn't only apply to the giveaway, but everything in life.