After selling AAA Galvanizing in 2005, Vinay’s grandfather began his next business venture. With alternative energy on the rise, Vinay and his grandfather set out to learn the ins and outs of the industry. At the time, the goal was to choose the next best gas alternative: electric, hydrogen, or biodiesel.
Tesla was in their infancy at the time, having just released the Lotus – a high-priced sportscar. Unfortunately, the batteries used in vehicles like this prevented cars from being fast (hence the small, lightweight body of the Lotus). Meanwhile, many major car companies already offered hydrogen cars… but they didn’t appear to be gaining much traction. Hydrogen was ultimately the cleanest source, but required a whole new infrastructure to get it to the people. Biodiesel, on the other hand, was relatively underrepresented and required a suitable area for massive soybean and corn production in order to be successful. Luckily, the midwest has an abundance of crops! Having made his decision, Vinay’s grandfather invested his AAA Galvanizing money into biofuel, and Midwest Biofuels was born.
Focused on medical school, Vinay would spend weekends with his grandfather to help with the family business. Although it was going well, Vinay’s grandfather struggled to take on a reasonable share of the consumer vehicle market. In an effort to scale his business, Vinay’s grandfather took on huge investments from Wells Fargo and JP Morgan (who also invested in Tesla). But because Midwest Biofuels was the largest biofuel producer in the US, it was still seen as a threat to electric cars – resulting in both Wells Fargo and JP Morgan pulling their investments. In exchange, they offered Vinay’s grandfather shares in Tesla.