Kevin O'Toole is an Irish businessman who is serving as the CEO of Exergyn. For those who are curious, said company offers a solid-state shape-memory alloy that could replace refrigerants, thus reducing the greenhouse gas emissions from the use of those refrigerants in the process. O'Toole and the rest of Exergyn leadership have managed to make recent news by raising $35 million in a Series A funding round.
1. Grew Up in Dublin, Ireland
O'Toole grew up in Dublin, which would be the capital of Ireland. Officially, the city was founded in 988 because of the Gaelic conquest. However, that very fact should make it clear that Dublin existed in some form before that point in time. Regardless, the city is now a center of various things, with an excellent example being its status as one of the most notable tech hubs in the whole of Europe.
2. His First Job Was Being a Shop Assistant
As he tells it, O'Toole's first job was being a shop assistant at a nearby garage. He doesn't seem to have enjoyed the experience very much, seeing as how that was what convinced him to seek out a career that was both challenging and otherwise enjoyable for him.
3. Family Man
Speaking of which, O'Toole has said that he is prouder for having a happy family than he is of his professional life. He further supported this point by stating that his desire to succeed was driven by his desire for his family members to have the best lives possible. For that matter, O'Toole likes to relax by spending time with his wife as well as his children.
4. Stresses the Importance of Empathy
It is interesting to note that O'Toole has stressed the importance of empathy. Apparently, the best piece of advice that he has ever been given is that everyone is the center of their own universe. As a result, O'Toole believes that it is a good idea to try to see things from other people's perspective whenever he interacts with them, which provides him with insight into their beliefs as well as ways for both parties to work together. Having said that, empathy is just empathy. O'Toole is well-aware that not everyone can get along with one another, meaning that he is willing to move on when that happens.
5. Uses Passion to Encourage Employees
Exergyn's work seems to be something of a passion project for O'Toole. Furthermore, he has stated that a lot of his employees are motivated by that sense of passion as well. To be fair, this makes sense. After all, they are working on new technology that could have a meaningful effect on greenhouse gas emissions, which are one of the major problems of the age. Of course, O'Toole does use other methods to keep his employees motivated as well, with an excellent example being providing them with increased freedom and thus increased ability to self-actualize.
6. Used to Be Involved in Prosthetics
O'Toole hasn't always been working in the same sector. After all, he became acquainted with shape-memory alloys when he was still in the biomedical sector working on prosthetics. At the time, O'Toole had a vague notion that shape-memory alloys had serious potential for other uses in other fields. However, he didn't get the idea for what would become the basis of Exergyn until he had a conversation with a colleague named Dr. Barry Cullen, who thought that they could fill a gap that he had pointed out in the energy sector.
7. Had a Hard Time Raising Funds
Exergyn leadership seems to have had a hard time raising funds. In part, this is because shape-memory alloys weren't very well-known. As a result, they had to educate potential backers on what these materials were as well as what these materials could do before trying to convince those potential backers to take a chance on them. However, it should also be mentioned that Exergyn was working on experimental hardware, which made fund-raising even more difficult because of the increased risks from not one but two separate sources. At one point in time, they actually ran out of funding, though they managed to restore their funding stream fast enough that they were able to keep their team togetther.
8. Believes in Balance
O'Toole believes in balance when it comes to his personal life and his professional life. As far as he is concerned, no one can continue working at 100 percent for 100 percent of the time. For that matter, considering O'Toole's fondness for his family, it seems safe to say that he wouldn't even if he was capable of such a thing. In any case, he believes that taking regular breaks is important for preventing people from becoming burned out. On top of that, O'Toole has stated that solutions can often come from unconscious thought processes while resting, which is something that a lot of people should have experienced at one point or another.
9. Not a Natural Extrovert
Curiously, O'Toole has mentioned that he wasn't a natural extrovert. As a result, he had to train himself to become capable of communicating well as well as projecting a sense of confidence while out in public. Something that was necessary because his status as a founder of Exergyn meant that he was a face of Exergyn. O'Toole believes that this is something that every entrepreneur should be prepared to face because it is hard for them to just hide themselves away.
10. His Product Could Eliminate the Need for Refrigerants
The reason that O'Toole's company has received so much interest is that its shape-memory alloys could eliminate the need for refrigerants. If this proves to be the case, that would mean huge shake-ups for HVAC, refrigeration, plus a wide range of other industries. Of course, refrigerants come with serious costs, with an excellent example being their greenhouse gas emissions. As such, if Exergyn can live up to its promise, that could mean very beneficial results in that regard as well.
Written by Allen Lee
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