Electric cars are great and all, but internal combustion engines (ICE) have one thing going for them: comprehensive, well-oiled infrastructure that means you can add 300 miles of range to your car, in 5 minutes, at any of 65,000 or so gas stations. Compare that with the one-hour stop at only about 6,000 high-speed charging stations (1,900 or so of which are Tesla-only chargers), and it quickly becomes obvious why solving EV charging is one of the biggest challenges in the world of EVs. Loop just raised $60 million to solve part of that puzzle, offering turn-key EV charging station networks.
With as many as 230 million electric vehicles expected to be on the road by 2030, the demand for affordable and reliable EV charging infrastructure is extremely high. The part where Loop is trying to help is by adding smart, affordable EV charging products for at home, at work, and in other locations. The company also has high-speed direct-current (DC) chargers that compete with other high-speed charging networks such as ChargePoint, EVgo and Tesla’s supercharger network.
The cool thing about the chargers is that they can be individually metered; if you have a single parking spot with charging across a number of units or houses, the person using the power will be paying for their own charging. It also opens the door to sharing charging with neighbors or even, potentially, strangers who need to top up their car.
“At Loop, we believe the transition to clean electric vehicles will only move as quickly as the EV charging infrastructure that is there to support it,” said Dustin Cavanaugh, co-founder and CEO of Loop in an interview with TechCrunch. “Loop is streamlining this transition by making next-generation EV charging infrastructure solutions for property owners that are uniquely affordable and provide the lowest total cost of ownership on the market.”
To date, Loop says it has sold more than 7,000 charging stations worldwide through its partner program consisting of over 750 electrical contractors. The company’s next-gen EV charging solutions are currently being adopted by both national and international municipalities, as well as commercial, retail, multitenant, fleet and hospitality businesses.
The fundraising round comes in two parts — a $40 million Series A led by Fifth Wall, and a $20 million line of financing to fuel operational growth.
“It’s no secret that electric vehicles are the future of the transportation sector,” said Peter Gajdoš, Fifth Wall partner and co-lead of its Climate team. “Loop’s vision is to completely transform the delivery of turnkey EV charging networks through an end-to-end, cost-effective solution which enables property owners to passively offer EV charging services to their tenants, employees or customers.”
Loop’s growth is driven by the desire to build a broadly available network of EV chargers to stay ahead of the growth curve of electric vehicle roll-outs.
“I am driven by the opportunity to help solve our generation’s energy management problems with novel, actionable solutions. Technology has always fascinated me as a means to help simplify and automate manual tasks, so from an early age I took an interest in a career building custom software applications to help make businesses operate more efficiently,” says Cavanaugh. “However, it wasn’t until I started to learn about sustainability initiatives and clean energy technologies did that passion turn into purpose. I learned that multitenant buildings are some of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas production, largely because the majority of them operate extremely inefficiently.”
As the transition away from gas-powered vehicles to battery electric vehicles has emerged as the next great global climate initiative, the company quickly recognized that the biggest challenge facing widespread EV adoption was going to be access to affordable and convenient EV charging infrastructure. The company’s CEO believes that property owners are the gatekeepers to EV charging solutions at scale, and he decided to leverage his energy management expertise to this industry. He saw an opportunity to create and introduce a new EV charging solution to the market that makes actual business sense and incentivizes the property owner.
“This company is important to me because we have the generational opportunity to create a better planet by helping accelerate the transition from traditional vehicles to battery electric vehicles, while also redefining the refueling experience by providing next-generation EV charging infrastructure solutions that make financial sense for the market,” says Cavanaugh. “Gone are the days of having to go out of your way to refuel; instead, we can prioritize convenience, as electric vehicles enable a driver to charge virtually anywhere the energy is there to support it. As such, up to 90% of polled consumers prefer to charge passively — that is either at home, at work, or on the go — where they are already spending the majority of their day. This means that property owners of apartment complexes, office buildings, hotels, retail centers, etc. will all have to invest in EV charging infrastructure if we are truly going to effect scale and redefine convenience.”
In stepping into its journey, the company discovered that virtually all gen 1 charging solutions were over-engineered, too expensive and ultimately didn’t work out the way they were intended for property owners.
“This round of fundraising is co-lead by Fifth Wall and Agility Ventures with support from B. Riley Financial as our investment banking partner. It was very important to us that we worked with strategic investors who have a track record with sustainable infrastructure investments,” Cavanaugh explains, highlighting the alignment between his investors and the overall direction of the company. “Beyond capital, both of these companies are providing significant strategic value in helping Loop advance our company goals. Fifth Wall is the largest proptech VC in the world and their fund consists of limited partners that also happen to be made up of REITs, property owners and managers that could benefit greatly from Loop’s next-generation EV charging solutions. Agility Ventures, a subsidiary of Agility Logistics, is one of the leading investment firms in global transportation and supply chain technologies. Together, they are helping introduce Loop into different market segments where our turnkey EV charging solutions can be a significant value-add.”
Loop has a vision for the medium to long term, too, that puts EVs firmly in the driving seat.
“Gas-powered vehicles will no longer be in production,” Cavanaugh predicts, when asked about a world one decade from now. “Electric vehicles will make up over 30% of the vehicles on the road and the world will have made a social and economic paradigm shift in approaching energy infrastructure by prioritizing clean, sustainable energy resources. Investment into these initiatives will have a significant positive impact on the world economically, environmentally and socially.”