Impact & Climate Investing – Spark EV
Updated: Jan 23
In the next instalment of our Sustainability Focus we chat to Justin Ott, CEO of ACG portfolio company, Spark EV.
Can you summarise Spark EV Technology’s mission in a couple of sentences?
Founded on a mission to accelerate electric vehicle (EV) adoption, Spark EV Technology believes that accurate journey predictions can remove anxieties around EV range and charging time, enhancing vehicle trust and helping more people make the switch to electric. Spark EV Technology’s AI (artificial intelligence) based prediction system has been a developed by a team made up of experts in automotive systems, artificial intelligence, engineering, and clean technology, with a wealth of experience in developing and commercialising technology across industries.
When speaking to potential investors did you find that they were particularly looking to invest in companies with a focus on sustainability?
Sustainability is so important for future investment, both for the environment and to meet future regulations. Within automotive, moving toward zero emissions is a huge part of this goal. This global shift to electrification, following regulations, incentives and environmental targets needs both support through investment, but also through trust and demand from drivers around the world.
In addition to sustainable products, investment is also important in sustainable ways of developing the products. We are working to transform how machine learning and AI technology is utilised in the automotive sector, and this is all linked to our mission to progress mobility sustainably towards zero emissions of all sizes – whether that is for two-wheel vehicles, cars or large commercial vehicles.
During our investment process, our investors typically look for scalable software innovations that solve or facilitate the acceleration of zero emission vehicles.
How do you think the early-stage investment community can influence the drive to net zero?
There are many innovations that could help make the world more sustainable, but they need backing from the start to be in a position to make a real impact. Often these innovations can have a place in an existing industry, but the challenge of being able to demonstrate the potential impact at the very early stages can be a barrier to progress. For example, Spark EV Technology was born from a recognition that a lack of vehicle trust was hindering the EV revolution. When I created Spark EV Technology, nobody was addressing this market. People didn’t see inaccurate range predictions as a problem. We showed the industry how important this was – and that we could help them overcome the challenge, using AI to deliver personalised, accurate predictions.
We could see the problem, and we could find a way to fix it – investment gave us the platform to do it. By having the support from investors, we are now in a much stronger position to progress to the next stage to be able to make a difference and help accelerate EV adoption.
Do you think that VCs and Angel Networks could do more to focus on and encourage climate investment?
Climate investment, particularly in the technology space, is increasing rapidly in the UK and around the world. With the right support, progress can happen fast, and it has to happen fast when you can see the rate of climate change. However, from what we can see in automotive, change cannot happen at such a fast rate – the only way to counter this is to involve disruptive start-ups and innovators at the early stages in the development process – that is where VCs and Angel Networks can help, by showing their support and influencing the industry to embrace innovations that advance the drive to net zero.
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