Electric vehicles are on the rise and owners are anxious about running out of power on the road. Worry no more, as SparkCharge created the Roadie, the first portable charger for electric cars. Founders Chris Ellis and Josh Aviv pitched it on Shark Tank and bagged a deal with Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner. As of 2023, SparkCharge is worth $30 million.
About the Founders
Chris Ellis hails from Boston, Massachusetts and has two associate’s degrees related to engineering science from Onondaga Community College. He attended UC San Diego for a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.
Joshua Aviv is from Somerville, Massachusetts. He went to Richland College for an associate’s degree in liberal studies. Then, he enrolled at Syracuse University to get a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in information management.
While in his college dorm, Aviv and his professor asked themselves what happens to EVs when they run out of power in the middle of nowhere. With this, Josh set up SparkCharge in 2017.
He hired Chris Ellis to serve as the startup’s chief technology officer. Together, they developed the world’s first mobile charging tool for electric vehicles and called it Roadie.
Roadie quickly became popular because it could charge one mile’s worth of power in one minute. The two gentlemen raised $3 million from venture capital firms and $2 million from grants. By 2020, the firm was on track to make $1 million.
Shark Tank Appearance
SparkCharge appeared on season 12 of Shark Tank, asking for $1 million for 6% equity. Chris and Josh’s company was struggling to meet the demands of a booming market and needed to scale production.
They only made 50 units at the time, which were only given to roadside stores. No consumer models were available yet. It was clear that the product could do better in terms of sales.
Daymond John backed out early because he didn’t know anything about the industry. Lori felt the same but couldn’t pass up on the opportunity. Lori teamed up with Cuban, agreeing on a deal for $1 million for 10% equity with 4% advisory shares.
After Shark Tank
The deal with Mark and Lori closed after the episode aired. SparkCharge’s appearance on Shark Tank also attracted a lot of attention from other investors.
In 2022, the company raised a whopping $30 million from Series A funding led by Pendulum and Tale Venture Partners. They also received investment from Silicon Valley Bank, and Cleveland Avenue, as well as from celebrities like Summer Watson and Pusha T.
SparkCharge is slowly expanding its locations and now operates in San Francisco, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Jose. The company announced in August 2022, it will be launching the on-demand services across 12 new cities in California.
SparkCharge are now the industry leader in the space and single-handedly created Charging-as-a-service (CaaS). They are growing rapidly and are looking to hire more engineers. At some point in the future, SparkCharge will need to IPO if they don’t become profitable. The business makes an estimated $5 million to $8 million in annual revenue.