Go Farther With Fēnix Power

Blog Post

Building a Startup

Building a Startup

Hello everyone!

As the Founder of Fēnix Power, I thought I would take a moment to talk about what is going on behind the scenes here at Fēnix. I know many of you are excited about our progress, and we love sharing news with everyone, but unfortunately we can’t share everything. Instead I thought I could provide some insight into what it takes to do what we’re doing.

A quick bit of history, it has now been 4 years since I first started building Fēnix, and 3 years since I made my first investor pitch with a business plan. I learned a lot from that first pitch, and we haven’t stopped learning ever since then. While we knew we had an original idea that would certainly improve the EV space as a whole, we had to find the best place to prove our idea. That idea is our Battery as a Service solution, with it we address the high cost of the traction battery, and the high cost to replace it, along with effectively eliminating degradation concerns which in turn keep good cars on the road longer. We spent two years doing market, and customer research to find the right place to enter the market, one where customers truly need us. In that time, we had some successes, and we also had some failures. But those failures taught us more about our customers and the EV market as a whole, so we look at them as successes as well.

Our first pitch was to build EV conversion kits for Ford F-series pickup trucks, we saw a gaping hole in the available EVs and wanted to address that with our solution. But 3 years ago investors were skeptical that an EV truck was something people would even buy. However you, and I, know better! Just a quick look at EV news lately, with Rivian and the soon-to-be-revealed Tesla pickup, the demand is definitely there. So we took a step back and decided to focus solely on our battery solution, and tried to find a good product to launch with. We tried something much smaller than a truck, an EV “gas can”, a few kWh and a charger connection you can keep in your trunk for when you find that dreaded turtle on the dashboard. And we pitched a battery pack expansion solution that could fit in the trunk of a LEAF, and got some great responses and interest back, but investors thought the market was too small. (We’re still working on that expansion solution, customers who have our replacement pack installed will be offered that later!)

But the real winning solution is what you find here today: A replacement battery pack for aging Nissan LEAFs. We have had so many people reach out to us about it that it absolutely confirms we’re on the right track. And importantly, every reservation is proving to our investors that there is real demand for us in the market! Over the last several months, we have listened to each of you and your feedback on what we’re doing, and it all helps us fine tune our service.

Ok, so what does this all mean now? Where’s the peak behind the curtain? Well here is how all of that is important to our progress. I spend muchof my days contacting other businesses in the EV space, talking about what we’re doing and seeing if there are ways we can work together. I also reach out to investors to raise the capital needed to convert this growing startup into a full fledged business and all of the things associated with that: Supply chain, manufacturing, facilities, engineering, marketing, and everything else that makes a business function. In between all of those conversations, I’m working with our advisers and engineers to fine tune our solution and our business model. Modifying financial models, shaping our marketing plans, developing a social strategy, tweaking the physical and software architectures, and refining our message to each of you.

I want to look at that last point for a moment, refining our message. We have encountered a bit of confusion about our solution since it’s so different. So quite a bit of time is being spent on how to clarify it all before we begin a much heavier marketing push later. And if I could sum it all up into one key idea it’s this: We’re applying a Netflix model to your energy storage needs by building a cellular network for your batteries. This may sound strange, but for a moment, look at the device you’re likely using to read this post. Over the last decade we have turned phones into an amazingly powerful platform that enables new and exciting solutions and makes them available to everyone. We’re doing that with energy storage, making batteries smarter, and building the tools to take that data and make them work better for you. And like your smartphone that gets software updates, and every few years, hardware updates, so will your batteries. You’re not just buying a battery pack, you’re subscribing to a service that grows and improves over time.

We believe this is a very big idea in energy storage, one that goes beyond just packaging a bunch of cells into a box that fits in a car. To borrow again from that cell phone analogy, think of it like this: Batteries in EVs today are “1G” phones, the old flip phones that only made calls. We’re building a solution to bring the next generation and doing so in a way that more generations will follow. 2G, 3G, 4G, etc. So today it may look like we’re a LEAF battery business, tomorrow we’ll look like so much more.

Thanks to each of you who have reserved with us, and each of you who have subscribed to our mailing list or followed us on social media. It is YOUR numbers that are convincing investors that this vision needs to become reality.

-John Bysinger
Founder & CEO of Fēnix Power

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