Screenshot 2024-05-13 at 10.23.34 AM

How DiCaprio-backed SolarMente uses Carta SAFEs to leverage opportunities

Victor Gardrinier
Co-founder, SolarMente

Renewable energy



Carta products used

Cap table, SAFE financing tool

SolarMente empowers homeowners in Spain to make their own electricity with bundled solar equipment and software subscriptions. Co-founder Victor Gardrinier is an alumnus of startup accelerator Y Combinator, where he was introduced to Carta. 

Innovating on industrial hardware and deep tech can lead to rapidly shortening runways at critical junctures. That’s why SolarMente counts on Carta’s SAFE financing and cap table management solutions. These tools work together, updating automatically and providing modeling insights, so that Gardrinier can solve the challenges of scaling SolarMente.       

SAFEs made simpler 

With Carta, SolarMente creates agreements, collects signatures, and issues SAFEs to investors all on one platform. Self-guided workflows make the process as fast and straightforward as possible. 

Carta feels like it’s the standard.

Victor Gardrinier
Co-founder, SolarMente

“We raised almost everything on SAFE, even with European investors, so it’s been fairly easy in that sense,” Gardrinier said of the company’s recent seed round, which included actor Leonardo DiCaprio. “Carta is useful, because the brand is recognized. Investors will usually ask us, ‘Can you add me on Carta?’ and ‘Send me the signature.’ 

“If you use Carta, it feels like it sets up the agreement. Like, we use the same environment and we know what we’re saying. If we were to use another tool, I don’t know if investors would be as comfortable with it or if they would like it. Carta feels like it’s the standard.” 

SAFEs issued through Carta are funded faster than other offline options. Carta also automatically updates cap tables when SAFEs are issued so founders don’t have to slow down. 

This helps Gardrinier advance SolarMente’s research and development. For example, the startup is creating an artificial intelligence tool that connects multiple energy assets. It’s the first of its kind, so its timeline is uncertain. 

“There were moments where our runway was short, and it was very difficult, knowing that due diligence can take some time. But closing with a SAFE is usually extremely fast—from signature to wire, it can be 24 hours. There’s normally zero legal involved in the revision of the SAFE itself. 

“That can be very, very valuable for a company when you’re just starting and runway is short. Many things can happen, so Carta’s SAFE solution has been extremely important.” 

Strategic support in times of volatility

Gardrinier appreciates how Carta helps him leverage macroconditions, too. In Spain, the solar market underwent regulatory shifts that gave SolarMente opportunities–and earned it a place in Stripe’s annual letter–but then energy prices dipped, making sales and marketing more difficult.

“There’s also a lot of instability and supply chain issues, so you see a lot of our competitors going bankrupt or firing people. But in our case, we showed some traction with an innovative way to do energy transitions. Investors were interested in that, and we’ve been able to close fairly fast and onboard them on Carta.”

As a result, SolarMente was able to hire key people that might have otherwise left the industry, including a new COO. 

“With these kinds of decisions, if we had talked to him a couple of weeks later, maybe we wouldn’t have closed the deal. If we were waiting for an investment, he could have gone somewhere else,” Gardrinier said. “Sometimes, it’s a very time-sensitive issue.”

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