Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Hi there, my name is Spiffy, I’m an interplanetary journalist hanging out on Planet Earth. Today I’m interviewing Parinda Darden, the co-founder and CTO of Wildgrid who works in climate action and renewable energy.
Spiffy: Hey there, Parinda! Welcome to the blog. What challenge are you addressing through your Wildgrid?
Parinda: Thank you for having me, Spiffy! Every person on the planet deserves affordable access to renewable energy. Your income, race, or homeowner status should not stop you from adopting solar. Sadly, this is not always the case today. Switching to solar energy is not only good for the planet, but a way for you to save money and build wealth. Our mission is to cut through the confusion and make it simple for anyone to find the best solar option for them.
Spiffy: That's very cool! What motivated you to do it?
Parinda: I tried to go solar and was surprised by how hard and confusing it is to get the right information. I was appalled by the aggressive and antiquated sales tactics a lot of solar companies apply. There is a bunch of misleading information about going solar on the internet. A lot of websites are just trying to get your personal information to sell to solar companies, leading you to get a ton of unwanted calls, voicemails, and texts from unknown numbers. I wanted to use my software engineering skills to good use and build a startup that cuts through all the noise and makes it extremely easy for anyone to go solar.
Spiffy: How are you and Wildgrid working towards a more equitable world?
Parinda: Wildgrid allows everyone, including renters and homeowners without private roof access, to go solar. We connect people to their local community solar farms and pre-vetted residential solar installers.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organizational milestone or initiative. What impact does that make on your community?
Parinda: In addition to helping people easily switch to solar, Wildgrid provides educational content on renewable energy, sustainable lifestyle, and the Solarpunk movement on our blog, Instagram, and TikTok accounts. Wildgrid aims to provide quality educational contents that are accessible and easily digestible. We believe that the more informed consumers there are, the more likely they are to make adjustments to their lifestyle to help slow down the process of climate change.
Spiffy: Please share an experience when you faced failure and didn't give up. What did you learn from it?
Parinda: Fundraising for Wildgrid was very hard. My co-founder, Krystal Persaud, and I got a lot of rejection from venture capital funds in the beginning. But we truly believe in our mission and that the world needs a company like Wildgrid, so we never gave up. We persisted and eventually got funding to grow our business.
Spiffy: That’s awesome, and inspiring! Thanks for speaking with me today, Parinda—it’s been an honor!
Parinda Darden is the co-founder and CTO of Wildgrid. Parinda has held senior software engineer positions at a variety of NYC startups including Atoms, Ellevest, and more. Working in climate tech is one of the most urgent and exciting spaces to innovate in, and fighting climate change is her way of meeting this moment in history. (First published on the Ladderworks website on January 19, 2023.)© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Anushree Nande. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.