Checking in with Leyline’s Chief Financial Officer Jay Modi
In May 2021, Leyline Renewable Capital welcomed Jay Modi as our chief financial officer. Jay offered the diverse skill set and experience needed for the role, and we were thrilled to bring him on board. Now eight months into his job, we sat down with him to learn what he’s been working on and tell readers why this is such a critical position.
Q: Tell Us a Bit About Yourself
I have been in the renewable energy industry for many years, and each year, I learn something new. A month after joining Leyline, I moved from San Francisco, California to Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina with my wife Prati and our 17-month-old son Max. We love the lower cost of living and great schools here in North Carolina. I used to play tennis and ping pong, but over the last couple of years, my hobbies have changed to cooking and playing with Max.
Q: Why Did You Decide to Focus on the Renewable Energy Industry?
After completing my MBA in finance and enterprise resource planning from Missouri University of Science & Technology, I joined Bloomberg as a business analyst, where my first assignment was to build a database of all U.S. oil and natural gas storage facilities. I saw the disconnect between the number of conventional vs. clean energy facilities in the United States and decided to use my skills in the renewable energy industry.
Throughout my renewable energy career, I worked in functions, such as accounting, financial planning and analysis, mergers and acquisitions, and product development. I have been part of an initial public offering as well as a bankruptcy; I sold a division within a company and launched a new company; I received an investment grade rating three years after a company was founded; and I built a corporate finance team and helped to raise nearly half a billion dollars during the pandemic. This industry has allowed me to see and do so much, I can’t imagine working in another sector.
Q: What Were Your Main Responsibilities This Past Year at Leyline?
A: Leyline is growing rapidly; in fact, our headcount doubled over the past two years. As we grew, the company’s internal processes were either outsourced or entirely lacking. I sought to change all that and build the structure to manage our growth. For example, I brought the accounting function in house and created the human resources, financial planning and analysis, and treasury functions. A new human resources information system made our recruitment, onboarding, training, and performance review process run smoother. Our new annual operating plan will help us track the record number of deals we closed in 2021.
Over the last few months, we spoke with several investment banks about our lending platform and business model. Our hope is to raise additional capital from these institutions through a revolving line/letter of credit to meet our evolving capital needs.
Finally, we are currently hiring a vice president of technology & innovation to oversee more efficient onboarding of new developer clients, an improved underwriting process and deal flow, and better handoff between cross-functional teams. Our hope is to have that person on board in the first quarter of 2022.
Q: How Do You Fit into the Leyline Narrative? What Excites You About Working with Leyline?
When a company is growing, it needs smooth operations, efficient processes backed by functional systems, and ongoing capital. I enjoy finding the technology-driven solution that binds the internal process with the finance function and capital. I have grown into my current role by putting structure to all these things.
There are two things that attracted me to Leyline. First, I have been part of almost all the business models in the renewable energy industry except a development-stage lending platform like Leyline’s. This is a great opportunity to expand my professional horizon. I want to help Leyline become a forerunner in the renewable energy industry—and this company is already a mover and shaker. Not a lot of companies are doing what Leyline is doing with its niche development-stage capital. Second, I was highly impressed by Leyline’s team during our initial conversations. This is one of the best teams I have worked with, because they bring a wealth of knowledge and passion to their roles. I’m excited to learn and grow along with the company.