StoreDot has raised $76 million from leading investors like Roman Abramovich, Samsung Ventures, and Singulariteam. While the Israeli startup originally garnered significant buzz in the past two years for its development of a solution to charge cell phones in half a minute, it recently started to focus on automobiles.
CEO Dr. Doron Myersdorf founded the company with Prof. Simon Litsyn, formerly chief scientist at Sandisk, and Prof. Gil Rosenman. The most recent investment in StoreDot, $18 million, was part of a wider $50 million round of funding destined for their automotive division.
“The idea is to bring a strategic partner from the automotive sector to cover the last $32 million,” said Myserdorf of a unit currently consisting of only 3-4 employees.
“One of the things that has blocked the adoption of electric vehicles until today is the basic fear every driver has, like most smartphone users, that the battery will die when you’re out in the world. Every person who owns a Better Place vehicle needs to charge his car at home for eight hours. But what happens when you get home, your battery is empty, and your child calls you to be picked up while you’re charging? You’re in trouble because you don’t know whether you’ll make it back home.”
Myserdorf added, “Our vision is rapid charging, but I can’t promise to always charge your whole battery. We can’t put high-capacity chargers in every location. Not every gas station which could be a charging station for us will have a megawatt for charging. Not every place has the appropriate infrastructure. But even if I charge only half or a quarter of your battery in five minutes, you have that peace of mind.”
Asked about competitors, Myserdorf answers confidently: “Everybody is working on the idea of an electric car. Everybody is trying to improve the density of the battery and see how much energy they can squeeze in, but we haven’t yet run into a company whose entire focus is rapid charging.”
Myserdorf said their product should make it to market in the next decade. “Everything in the automotive industry takes a minimum of five years because it needs to be integrated into the production line. Even if we were already involved in a project it would arrive only in 2020. I believe we’ll see it out in the world in 2020-2021. I want to enter the design stage with a company that already produces an electric vehicle, and simply replace their existing, slow battery with our fast battery.”
The electric car and a fast-charging solution are an exciting new direction for the company, but the product that really interests most people is clearly the quick-charge solution for smartphone batteries.
“When I uploaded a video last April that showed a phone being charged in half a minute, we had three million views in 24 hours. We never expected that. We hit the soft underbelly of a real need with a team that looked serious, and it brought the right response.”
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on October 15, 2015
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