Alex Liegl co-founded EV finance company Tenet in 2021 with the goal of combining financial technology and renewable energy to build a more sustainable energy network while enabling consumer accessibility to electric vehicles.
Liegl is driven in his mission by an entrepreneurial nature and a desire to create a positive impact in the renewable energy space, he told Auto Finance News.
“There’s a lot of volatility in terms of trying to build a business, but the motivation is you want to see your vision become a reality,” the CEO said. “You think you can make the world a better place, and because of that, you can make the economy more efficient and create something that pushes people forward.”
Tenet is working to build on that goal, he said.
“Energy consumption correlates with socio-economic wealth,” Liegl said. “The more energy a society is able to consume on average, the wealthier it is, but we have to do it in a sustainable way.”
Tenet continued to build its capabilities in 2023, adding commercial fleet financing, a bundled EV charging finance offer and a digital renewable energy platform that analyzes energy costs throughout the day and pinpoints the most efficient EV charging times.
The New York-based company has a typical consumer credit profile of prime and super prime with an average household income of about $180,000, Liegl previously told AFN. Tenet’s loan scale capacity is $100 million of warehouse facilities, and the loans are sold off about every two weeks to free up capital.
AFN spoke with Liegl about his career, his approach to leadership and his thoughts on trends in the auto finance industry. What follows is an edited version of the conversation.
Auto Finance News: What is your company goal in less than 10 words?
Alex Liegl: Build the financial fabric of the American energy transition.
AFN: What do you think is the most underrated lending trend?
AL: Nobody really thinks of EVs as a different — or new — asset class within the auto lending space, although they should be. EVs are batteries and computers on wheels. They have different residual values, government incentives, and different data and consumer behavior associated with them. We live in an auto lending world that is entirely populated by legacy lenders.
Auto lending is a mature industry that is slow to adapt to new things. EVs have been around for a minute, and the asset class was super small but now it’s quite meaningful. A million battery EVs were sold last year. Legacy lenders or financing companies are not technology companies. They can’t build data aggregation, novel underwriting or differentiated customer acquisition and financial infrastructure that cater more toward EVs being sold online.
There’s a blind spot that they have and they’re not able to adapt.
AFN: What is your favorite piece of leadership advice ever received?
AL: Reality is just a manifestation of other people’s visions. Things only exist because people pulled them into reality out of pure will and force of nature. If you’re not going to execute your vision, nobody else will. As an entrepreneur, you have a vision, and you try and pull it forward into reality.
AFN: Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
AL: My parents are always supportive. Since I was a little kid, I could have done whatever I wanted. I could be a yoga instructor today and they would have been supportive. Entrepreneurship has a lot of ups and downs. It’s helpful if you’re able to have a support base like your family who is going to be with you regardless; I couldn’t have done it without them.
AFN: What’s something your employees would be surprised to learn about you?
AL: A couple of people know this but I used to DJ, especially in college, and nearly dropped out of university to pursue a musical career at a label in New York.