Congratulations to The 9 Challenge Cup Finalists!
Having already won $50,000, 9 startups will compete tomorrow for the global Challenge Cup title and its $100,000 prize. Here's a breakdown of each company.
–This story originally appeared in Challenge Cup news at the 1776 site–
As the number of electric vehicle owners increases, so does the demand for sufficient charging stations–especially in multi-unit buildings. EverCharge, a Tesla-recommended charging provider, offers a solution to EV owners who live and work in buildings that don’t have enough charging services available. Beyond the standard charging system, EverCharge provides everything from insurance to maintenance to billing services for users.
Six states have already mandated the right for electric vehicle charging in multi-unit buildings, and EverCharge CEO, Jason Appelbaum hopes that more states will incorporate that policy—making it a nationwide mandate. The startup itself recently started venturing out of the San Francisco Bay Area and is working to provide its maximizing, efficient and smart charging service to cities across the nation.
After competing in and winning the transportation and cities category at the San Francisco Challenge Cup, Appelbaum shared the lessons he has learned through his experience targeting this unique market.
What does EverCharge do?
EverCharge provides a charging service for condos and apartments; any multi tenant building would be a good fit for EverCharge. We provide a fully managed charging solution, all the way from install to daily service. We provide the billing services so that the building is compensated for the power that they use, insurance and any maintenance.
What made you see the need for this charging service?
This company was created to service the needs of EV owners in multi-unit buildings. Right now, there isn’t anything in the landscape that currently services all the different needs that uniquely come up in a multi-unit building. For example, buildings find it an okay solution to provide a community charger. Community chargers are great if you’re the only one with an EV, but the second you have a line to charge your vehicle, it starts to become an issue, because then you have to worry if you’re going to get a charger every night.
At EverCharge, we install in dedicated parking spaces. Users aren’t going to have to worry about where they’re going to charge their vehicle because it’s in their dedicated parking space or we provide enough stations in their apartment complex so there’s a one-to-one ratio between electric vehicles and stations. The founding members of this company all ran into this problem, and we decided that we needed to change this.
How does the service you provide differ from other similar companies’ products?
EverCharge is specifically designed for condos and apartments. Our competitors don’t offer insurance, and they don’t install dedicated spaces. The actual products that they provide are far more expensive, and they don’t provide our power management technology which expands the building’s capacity by up to ten times.
For example, if you can support two community charging stations from our competitor, you can support 20 charging stations from EverCharge. (On average, the buildings) we run into can support around four charging stations from our competitors. Well, we can put 40 EverCharge stations in, and in a building of 200 residents, covering nearly 25 percent of the population is a very good step forward as opposed to covering next-to-no percent.
What have you learned through this process of working with property managers and building owners? What was the most helpful takeaway from your experience?
Every day is a learning experience in this business because you encounter a lot of challenges. As a startup, we’re faced with new challenges every day, and finding creative solutions in a timely manner is very important.
What we’ve had to learn about buildings is we had to take questions that have been asked over our history and prepare an overabundance of information for these buildings so that they can feel comfortable with our solution.
I’ve done startups before, I’ve done software, I’ve done hardware before and they were more commodities. So, it’s an app or it’s an alarm clock or it’s a coffee maker or whatever it is, it’s a thing. When that customer no longer wants to use that thing, they’ll remove it from their phone, give it to Goodwill, and it’s some cost of anywhere from free to $100 or whatever. With EverCharge, we’re installing principle infrastructure into the building so it’s more of a long term, sustainable solution…It’s been a shift to transition my mind from sort of just get it out the door and get a million downloads to let’s change people’s lives for the better. You know, let’s make sure more people are driving EVs and it’s not a short-term thing. We want to make sure we’re delivering a solution that is really set up, not to be used for six months and be done with, but to be used for the next 10 years.
Which cities have you noticed have the highest demand for your EV charging service?
In the world of electric vehicle charging, there are hotbeds—the Bay Area being one, Los Angeles (another). The big ones for us are going to be (cities) like Miami, DC, and Texas is coming up, Chicago as well. Those are sort of hotbeds that we’re looking at. We see more growth in those areas than most others.
Condo density is where we’re looking. You can pretty much determine where our chargers are going to be popular by locating a major city with high condo density.
What’s next for EverCharge?
EverCharge is going to continue to expand our install base, and we have a next generation product in the pipeline. We’re looking to make everything smaller, better, cheaper, faster—following your standard technology curve a little bit to develop a better product, but at the same time maintain our older customers. We need to make sure whatever we do is backwards compatible, and we’ve got to go 10 steps forward while looking back all the time to make sure that we’re not messing up what we have.