Lauren Romer is Uplight’s General Counsel. As Uplight partners with utilities, a new position for Uplight, but a critical one as Uplight continues to grow.
Learn about Lauren’s background, what she brings to Uplight, and why she chose to be a part of our mission.
First of all, Uplight has a big mission- to be the technology provider that enables utilities to transition to clean energy. Tell me about what factors influenced your decision to come to Uplight.
As we all know, Uplight has fantastic people I met during the interview process and I was excited to join the team. The particular stage that Uplight is in was also a key factor.As I learned more about the company and where we wanted to go in the next few years, I thought my background could be helpful. At my last tech company, where I worked for over 10 years, we went through several rounds of VC financing, a private equity transaction, and an IPO. Having lawyered through those stages, I thought I could provide some value as Uplight navigates the next several years. And I liked the challenge of figuring out how to do all of this in an industry for which I had little background.
What does a General Counsel do at a technology company like Uplight? Why is this role important?
I think there are several key roles a General Counsel can play at a tech company. From a pure legal standpoint, the role helps ensure that we’re contracting in such a way that balances our business and financial goals with our risk profile. This role also works cross-functionally to put in place processes that allow us to scale efficiently – a General Counsel spends a ton of time working, for example, with sales and product to make sure the business units are not operating in a vacuum and everyone is aligned on our selling motion. I also spend a significant amount on corporate governance items – interacting with our Board and Investors in an appropriate manner to meet their expectations as well as those of management.
You’ve been at Uplight for about 5 months. What initiatives did you pick to work on first and why?
My primary focus for the first few months was trying to gain a good understanding of how we sell our products and the areas of the company where I think we have the most risk. We are currently undergoing a cross-functional project focused on restructuring how we contract with our customers with a focus on quicker revenue recognition opportunities. I also took on the Security organization, so I spent a bunch of time the first few months looking at how we handle and store customer data across our business units and where we can mitigate associated risk.
You have a wealth of experience in corporate law and governance. How do you see your experience helping Uplight better partner with energy and ecosystem providers to power the clean energy transformation?
I have a lot to learn about this industry and I’m the first to admit it! However, I do believe that there are transitional skills from my last tech company that I can bring to Uplight. I truly believe that successful legal departments can and should be facilitators in transactions versus serving as a roadblock, and that partnering in advance with the business can lead to successful outcomes. And, at the end of the day, we want to be viewed as a technology company and I believe my background with licensing and commercial transactions will hopefully help us with that.
What’s next for your and your team at Uplight?
I feel very positive about the Legal and Security functions and our plans for growth. We have consolidated certain functions under this Pillar such as compliance and vendor management which will help the Legal team partner easily with Security as we increase our partnership opportunities with third parties. This Pillar has a lot of big rocks to move as Uplight grows but I’m confident we have the right team members in place to make it happen. Our focus will be on scalability, efficiency and pragmatism.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share?
I’m excited to be here and want to thank everyone for a warm welcome.