Photo: Better Place
Paper Valuation of the Company: $1.25 Billion
There's always been a kind of chicken & egg problem with electric cars. Many people will be able to charge them at home most of the time, but what about when that's not possible? What about people who don't have a garage or a reserved parking spot? The lack of charging infrastructure needs to be overcome before EVs can go mainstream, and that's the challenge that Better Place has decided to tackle. Progress has been steady, with an automated battery swapping station demonstration a few months ago, and now a new successful round of financing to the tune of $350 million.
Image: Better Place
Better Place wrote:
This Series B equity financing round features participation from new investors including HSBC, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, and Lazard Asset Management. These investors will join existing Series A investors including Israel Corp., VantagePoint Venture Partners, Ofer Hi-Tech Holdings, Morgan Stanley Principal Investments, and Maniv Energy Capital, among others, as shareholders of Better Place. For HSBC, which led the round with an investment of $125 million, the deal represents one of the largest financial investments of its kind by HSBC.
As part of the deal, Kevin Adeson, HSBC Head of Global Capital Financing, will join the Better Place Board of Directors, and HSBC will own approximately 10% of the company's shares.
Better Place certainly seems to be ahead of its competitors, but things are still uncertain, so that might not matter much. They've been putting a lot of effort into battery-swapping technology, but will car makers make EVs that have swapping capability? Some already seem to be on board, but others are less enthusiastic.
Breakthroughs in battery technology could also reduce Better Place's advantage. If fast-charging batteries become more common, or hypercapacitors with bigger storage capacities can be made, battery swapping might go the way of the floppy disk. Better Place might still have a business in regular charging stations, but that kind of expertise is much easier to copy for competitors...
Via Better Place
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