ChargeLab, a Toronto-based startup that creates software to operate and optimize electric vehicle charging equipment for fleets and commercial customers, raised a $15 million Series A round. The round was led by King River Capital and notably includes participation from strategic investor ABB E-Mobility, a spin-off from technology company ABB that focuses on electric mobility and the construction of charging stations.
As part of ChargeLab’s commercial agreement with ABB, the two companies will launch a bundled hardware and software solution for fleets, multi-family buildings and other commercial EV charging use cases, according to Zak Lefevre, founder and CEO of ChargeLab. While the partnership with ABB will certainly give ChargeLab the resources it needs to develop and evolve its enterprise software, Lefevre noted that ABB’s interest in ChargeLab stems from the company’s need for a better off-the-shelf software in North America.
“The reality is that ABB has a device that can connect to the internet, but they haven’t built these back-end services to connect it, manage it, do billing and payments, schedule and manage the diet and all those things,” Lefèvre told TechCrunch. “So we’re in this transition phase where everybody’s getting their devices ready to connect to the cloud, but these big hardware companies haven’t necessarily thought through all the second-order consequences and all the other systems that the chargers are going to use. need to plug in, whether it’s a parking management system or a demand response system on the network.
ChargeLab’s flagship product is its cloud-based charging station management system that provides apps for electric vehicle drivers, dashboards for fleet managers, and open APIs for third-party system integration. The hardware-independent software, which runs at the edge and in the cloud, also includes features such as automated charger monitoring, pricing and access rule management, payment processing, and load balancing. electric charge, according to the company.
The startup’s latest funding round, which also included existing investors such as Construct Capital, Root Ventures, Highline Beta, Third Sphere and Maple VC, will help the company move from its startup solution of connecting loaders and controlling them in the cloud to more advanced milestones.
“Is this going to be SOC 2 compliant? Will it scale to hundreds of thousands of devices? said Lefevre. “ABB sells to the biggest fleets and the biggest companies in the world. Will we be able to come together with ABB and meet these needs? »
(SOC 2 is a voluntary compliance standard developed by the American Institute of CPAs that specifies how organizations should handle customer data.)
ChargeLab’s software is built into the chargers, which helps ensure that these chargers are not only secure, but also efficient and work flawlessly on the back-end, co-founder and chief technology officer Ehsan Mokhtari told TechCrunch.
“And that ties into the security side of things. Electric vehicle chargers will be the target of cybersecurity attacks because they are connected, so we are very active and in front,” said Mokhtari. “We have already trained the InfoSec team within the company ChargeLab, as well as advanced techniques to manage the offline behavior and self-healing of these chargers. It is therefore really a priority for us to create products and market them with our partners.
In addition to ABB, ChargeLab works with Manufacturers of electric vehicle chargers such as Phihong, United Chargers, Siemens and Tritium. The startup’s technology is also labeled white by charging networks such as Girardin Energy, TurnOnGreen and EVStart. Lefevre says ChargeLab’s software is currently inside thousands of devices in North America, but has yet to surpass the 10,000 charger mark. That said, Lefevre says the electric vehicle charging industry is growing exponentially, which means the market opportunity is huge.