Richard O’Rourke obtained a University of Limerick honours degree in Industrial Chemistry in 1996. While an undergraduate he secured a year of experience with Loctite R&D (now Henkel) in Ireland and in the US in product and process development. After graduation Richard spent two years as a product and process development engineer in Taiwan with the American electronics firm General Semiconductor (now Vishay), helping develop several electronic products and new manufacturing processes. He then spent a year at the Swiss Polytechnic EPFL carrying out research into solid oxide fuel cells.
In 2000 Richard co-founded Kinematik and became its CEO. Kinematik was selected to participate in a business incubation programme sponsored by Cork BIC and went on to win the ‘Most Innovative New Product’ award sponsored by Ernst & Young. Kinematik subsequently raised substantial seed capital in 2001 and launched its product, eNovator, in 2002; securing its first major pharmaceutical customer in the US in 2003. In 2004 Richard successfully exited Kinematik and became an independent consultant specialising in technology commercialisation and start-up fundraising, based primarily in New York.
Since 2006 Richard shifted his focus back to energy, gaining a Masters in Sustainable Energy from UCC in 2007, and another in Environmental Policy from the LSE in 2008. In 2010 Richard joined EnerNOC in a business development role with its UK team. In 2012 he joined MITIE Asset Management, where his role was to interface with the client signing up to the energy supply agreement (ESA), and to project manage coordination between engineering, finance, and legal experts.
In 2014 Richard completed an MBA in Global Energy at Warwick Business School. His dissertation focused on green infrastructure finance and the securitisation of energy efficiency and distributed generation projects. After graduation, Richard contracted to Pure Leapfrog, a UK-based charity focused on the community energy sector, and then helped establish its trading subsidiary, Leapfrog Finance, becoming its MD. Big Society Capital invested to establish this fund, and subsequently increased its investment to £30m, enabling communities finance the acquisition of over 23 MWp of solar in the UK. Most recently, Richard has set up and become director of Kinetik NRG, a climate advisory organisation.