Ricky Hill, country manager at EV charging business Monta, shares his life and business lessons.
Monta is the new EV charging technology platform that has recently entered Ireland to create an open, accessible network of charge point infrastructure while improving the EV driver’s charging experience.
In his current role, Ricky is responsible for overseeing electric vehicle charging platform’s regional growth and partnerships with local charge point manufacturers, wholesalers, operators, installers and businesses.
“Whilst starting a business in the pandemic was easily the most challenging part of my career so far for many reasons, it also drove the most growth professionally”
Ricky joined the company in August 2022 and came to the position from a background in managing mergers and acquisitions and tech.
Tell us about your background, what journey did you take to arrive at where you are?
I started my career with KPMG Dublin as part of their audit graduate programme, working and studying to get the Chartered Accountancy qualification. It was a great introduction to the business world, working with great people on well known, interesting businesses, and overall it gave me an excellent grounding to build my career from.
As soon as I completed my contract with KPMG, I knew I wanted to try something different. One of my colleagues at KPMG, moved to London the year before and worked in mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Having spoken to him, it sounded like something I wanted to try. I started then with PwC London M&A, focusing on Insurance and Asset Management deals. Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I ever made.
I look at my time with PwC London as such an important and critical time in my career. I absolutely loved the exceptionally fast pace, the quality of people I worked with, the complexity and scale of the deals that I worked on. The hours were very heavy but I quickly got into the rhythm of the work and I learned so much.
Then, my wife and I had our first child and we made the difficult decision to move back to Ireland to be closer to our family.
I was facing a career change as Cork, where I’m based, is not exactly known for its M&A activity.
I then joined Dan and Linda Kiely’s Voxpro, the global tech outsourcing company, as Chief of Staff. Voxpro was a fantastic company, growing rapidly globally and the founders were seeking an exit, which fit really well with my M&A experience. If anyone has been part of a business sale and an earnout, they will know it is a rollercoaster ride and Voxpro’s sale to Telus was exactly that. A completely new and different experience for me again, as Voxpro was acquired and integrated into Telus, whilst the company grew 3x in a little over two years.
Once Voxpro was fully acquired, I moved into the start-up world just before the pandemic so the timing was not the best. Whilst starting a business in the pandemic was easily the most challenging part of my career so far for many reasons, it also drove the most growth professionally. That concluded for me in the summer 2022, and I joined Monta to head up their expansion into Ireland, as their Country Manager.
Why are you doing what you are doing? What need are you meeting? What’s your USP?
At Monta, we believe that we can accelerate electric vehicle (EV) adoption and the path to a more sustainable future by providing better solutions to the EV industry. Monta is an EV charging platform that is looking to revolutionise EV charge point infrastructure globally. By providing an EV charging app for car owners and a management system for charge point owners, Monta connects drivers, site owners and charge installers to supercharge electric vehicles and create an open, accessible network of charge point infrastructure.
“Some things may not always work out as planned but the more you try, doors open and the pieces tend to fall into place. In today’s world, you need to grab opportunities rather than waiting for them to just happen”
What are your growth plans?
Monta has raised €50m today, from investors including Headline, Creadum, byFounders and Energize Ventures. Monta is currently focused on meeting the demand in Europe but is preparing to enter the US and other global markets in the coming years as the demand for EVs and associated charge points grows.
What are your key skills and qualities that set you apart?
I’m a very positive person and try to bring that into everything I do. I’m also quite rounded and adaptable given my varied work experiences, so I’m very comfortable taking on complex and challenging roles / projects.
What (or whom) has helped you most along the way? Who was your greatest mentor/inspiration?
A combination of being open minded and willing to jump into the deep end of new roles and seeking out incredible mentors that have invested their time into me and continually pushed me out of my comfort zone are massive drivers of where I am today.
What was the greatest piece of business advice you ever received?
Put the work in, be responsive.
What circumstances/qualities/events can mark the difference between success or failure in life or business?
For me, having the mindset that you need to make things happen is key to success no matter what you do. Some things may not always work out as planned but the more you try, doors open and the pieces tend to fall into place. In today’s world, you need to grab opportunities rather than waiting for them to just happen.
“We’re not only creating a digital platform and enabling the digitalisation of energy, we also believe in empowering our employees to use technology to optimise their workflows”
What was the most challenging aspect of either starting or growing the business?
At Monta, our culture is key to our success to date and will be going forward. We are growing rapidly with people across a number of countries, and replicating and maintaining that incredible culture created at HQ in Copenhagen is a challenge and will continue to be given the speed that we are scaling.
How did you navigate your business through the pandemic and what lessons did you learn?
Monta was founded in the December of 2020 in Denmark, so as a company we were always open to remote working and flexible, output led work from the beginning. As we’ve grown and expanded to new markets, this way of working has allowed us to embed new employees into our strong company culture even when they’re fully working from home.
“The more you work in adversity or challenging situations, the better you will become over time”
How has digital transformation been a factor in your scaling journey and do you believe Irish firms are utilising digital technologies sufficiently?
Monta is a tech-first company, innovation and technology are at the heart of everything we do. We’re not only creating a digital platform and enabling the digitalisation of energy, we also believe in empowering our employees to use technology to optimise their workflows. Ireland has a huge amount of tech companies that have made their home in the market, and Monta is proud to be one of those companies.
If you were to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Not a lot as I don’t really believe in regrets. Even very difficult experiences have ultimately been very positive for me.
Who inspires you in business today?
I actually find a lot of inspiration internally in Monta. Each week and month, we are imagining, building and delivering solutions to industry challenges, from making the installer integration experience seamless to helping the national grid with imbalances. We are pioneers in the industry and I find that incredibly inspiring.
What advice/guidance do you give new hires and how do you nurture talent in your organisation?
Find a mentor that will invest their time into you and help push you. Also, don’t be afraid to try new and different things. The more you work in adversity or challenging situations, the better you will become over time.
What business books do you read or would recommend?
I’m more of a podcast person and love ‘Diary of a CEO’. His interviews are very insightful and interesting.
What technologies/tools do you use personally to keep you on track?
At Monta we’re always encouraged to use tech to optimise our time. So I use Notion, Slack, and G-suite for internal documentation and tracking. Then I manage sales through Hubspot. We use a lot of tools like Loom, ChatGPT, Figma internally for creative collaboration and information sharing. At some point we’ll probably have to consolidate and standardise what everyone’s using, but right now Monta encourages us to use whatever tool works best!
“We believe that digitalisation and decarbonisation go hand in hand. New tech advancements are needed to achieve decarbonisation goals and limit the effects of climate change”
What social media platforms do you prefer and why?
I’m not massive on socials but I’m a fan of YouTube and I spend a lot of time on LinkedIn given the business aspect and the opportunities for networking.
What are your thoughts on where technology overall is heading and how it will apply to business generally and your business particularly?
We believe that digitalisation and decarbonisation go hand in hand. New tech advancements are needed to achieve decarbonisation goals and limit the effects of climate change. I think that companies like Monta will prove critical in the coming years to help both businesses and consumers understand their carbon impact and make improvements.
Finally, if you had advice for your 21-year-old self – knowing what you know now – what would it be?
Don’t worry, it all works out well in the end