Donnel Baird & Cullen Kasunic: BlocPower

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Cornell Real Estate Seminar Series


Donnel Baird is the founder of BlocPower, a startup that markets, finances and installs solar and energy efficiency technology to help houses of worship, nonprofits, small businesses, and multifamily projects to slash their energy costs. Donnel spent three years as a community organizer in Brooklyn and one year as a voter contact director for Obama For America. He managed a national Change to Win and Laborers' International Union of North America campaign to leverage the Department of Energy's energy efficiency financing to create green construction jobs for out of work populations. He partnered with the Washington Interfaith Network to generate a $100M government investment in underserved communities in the District of Columbia. Baird has a B.A. from Duke University and an M.B.A from Columbia Business School. BlocPower is backed by Kapor Capital and Andreessen Horowitz.

Cullen Kasunic, BlocPower's head of finance, cofounded United Wind in 2013, the first company to successfully offer no-money-down distributed wind turbine contracts to the market. Later, as a consultant, he has guided Sealed, Energetic Insurance, and other energy companies in the development of their project financing programs, yielding in total over $90MM of project finance capital for clean energy startups in New York, including participating in two transactions with the NY Green Bank. Additionally, he has assisted project finance investors, including Generate Capital and NJ utility PSE&G in their investment evaluation. Kasunic has a B.A. in geography and urban planning from the University at Albany, and a technology-focused M.B.A. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


BlocPower is a Brooklyn–based energy technology startup rapidly greening American cities. Since its founding in 2012, the company has completed energy projects in nearly 1,000 buildings and delivers results ahead of schedule and under budget. BlocPower utilizes its proprietary software for analysis, leasing, project management, and monitoring of urban clean energy projects; its customers are saving 20–40% on their energy bills each year. The company is backed by the world's top investors, including Kapor Capital, one of Uber's first investors; Andreessen Horowitz, an early investor in Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb, and Lyft; the former Chairman of Google, and American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact.


The lecture will take place virtually via Zoom. If you would like to attend, please contact the Department of City and Regional Planning, via


About the Cornell Real Estate Seminar Series:

The spring 2021 edition of the Cornell Real Estate Seminar Series from the Cornell Baker Program in Real Estate invites 15 distinguished speakers ranging from various segments in the real estate industry. The speakers will discuss current topics, including changes in global capital markets to green city development, new investment opportunities, financing, and structuring strategies.

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