Before starting grad school, I took a year-long "sabbatical" and backpacked extensively through Southeast Asia (remember the book The Beach? yeah, kinda like that...)
I absolutely loved the people, food, landscape and culture. But the traffic and pollution was horrible. I spent waaay too much time riding in Tuk-Tuks breathing exhaust from a sea of 2-stroke motors.
This week's Startup of the Week is solving this massive problem with a really cool electronic solution- think of it as the "Tesla-meets-Uber of Tuk Tuks."
I present to you Startup #15: TalinoEV
In just one sentence, what does your company do?
TalinoEV’s smart lithium-ion battery packs enable workhorse electric vehicles for the world's 99% in dense urban megacities, through pre-pay, wireless technologies.
Briefly, what makes you unique / different / special?
We enable on-demand, urban, short-distance, transportation to a global market. Just like Uber.
To differentiate however, our products enable electric vehicles (EVs) to be used by the global emerging middle class in dense, urban megacities. These EVs provide necessary, clean, high-technology-enabled primary-use vehicles to a market of billions.
Our TalinoEV IoT device is attached to large-form lithium-ion batteries used for workhorse EVs. The device allows any EV manufacturer to decouple the battery cost from the cost of the vehicle, which is now equipped with a “brain.”
Rather than make the vehicle more expensive, the smart technology allows customers to purchase EVs at the same price as gasoline-powered ones.
Our cloud-based switching network communicates wirelessly with our EV and micro-charger devices, providing a seamless payments ecosystem. This replaces gasoline stations and vehicle financing intermediaries.
EV owners can now use the battery-powered vehicle on a pre-pay, pay-per-use basis, mimicking their former gasoline consumption patterns.
We derive long-term subscription income from the users; their operating costs are lowered, EV manufacturers can compete toe-to-toe on price with their gasoline counterparts, the environment is cleaner as more EVs are sold, and more livelihood income is created from servicing this new industry.
What is the one thing you love the most about running a startup?
My background is in finance, so I am used to staring at numbers and words on a screen. Creating and manufacturing a real, high-technology product that will be embedded in millions of electric vehicles (and that will help improve the quality of lives in dense megacities), is fascinating for me.
What is the hardest or most surprising part of running a startup?
Market opportunities are global – that’s why Uber, Twitter and Facebook get their great valuations. But try telling that to a local investor.
It does not matter how large the foreign market opportunity is, if it is not applicable first where you are (the U.S.), it is as if it does not exist.
The whole process of finding just the right investor, with just the right market understanding and global business experience, is hard. There just aren’t that many multi-market-focused investors that we have found.
Do you have any success stories (big or small) you would like to share?
The emerging middle class in dense megacities is acutely tuned to any new business opportunity – they are extremely efficient users of capital. So when we started limited fleet field trials for our pre-paid, pay-per-use electric vehicles, the news traveled far and wide very quickly. Mind you, Metro Manila has a population of 22 million!
Soon, we were getting orders for our lithium-ion powered smart battery packs from all over town, even before we were ready to accept them. And the funny thing was that the local equivalent of the DMV is still not able to register EVs. They had not yet fixed their registration system to accept vehicles with no information to enter for the question: “What is the displacement of your vehicle (in cc’s)?”
How, if in any way, has Foundersuite helped your company?
Nathan has been super cool about sharing his knowledge and information about the startup world. He has put together a great site that (originally) had startup docs before the paywall. I am thankful that I was able to access these (especially the financial models) before the freemium business model was erected. The new site looks fantastic and I hope to make more use of it in the near future.
Finally, what is your best tip, hack, or piece of advice for entrepreneurs?
Everything will cost twice as much and take twice as long. You should bake a generous amount of tolerance for ambiguity into your startup philosophy.