Friday, August 12, 2022

Be very clear what you are trying to achieve

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Sabine Elsässer
Sabine Elsässer is founder and chief editor of the StartupValleyNews Magazine. She started her career at several international direct sale companys. Since 2007 she works main time as a journalist. While that time she learned more about the Startup Scene, what made her start her own Startup Magazine the StartupValleyNews.

Silver Power Systems battery analytics for all types of electric vehicle, from cars to commercial vehicles

Please introduce yourself and your startup Silver Power Systems to our readers!

Silver Power Systems are a team of experts leading the way in real time, advanced performance-enhancing battery analytics for all types of electric vehicle, from cars to commercial vehicles. Our battery monitoring and analytics capabilities have one overall goal: to improve the performance of electric vehicles and prolong the life of their batteries.

We work with everyone from large vehicle fleets who are increasingly exposed to the asset-related risk of ageing batteries, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) who are exposed to risk around battery warranty and automotive Research and Development (R&D) departments who are developing the next-generation of electric vehicles, who need the very latest in analytics expertise.

How did you get the idea of Silver Power Systems?

We have been working with Li-ion battery systems for over 10 years in critical power applications for telecoms and developed a cloud hosted network management system for monitoring them along with partnerships with leading cell suppliers like LG Chem and Panasonic. As Li-ion batteries began to be deployed in automotive applications we saw the opportunity to develop technology to support this rapidly growing market and founded SPS to bring that automotive focus

Why did you decide to start with Silver Power Systems?

Pete:  I started Silver Power Systems because I could see that there was a huge opportunity to take our battery and energy management expertise, developed in the competitive but mature telco sector, into a new industry sector which was undergoing rapid change due to the transition to EVs. 

Prior to starting SPS I had already been approached by a number of large well known UK vehicle manufacturers asking if we could support them,  as they had such limited expertise on electric powertrains. Founding SPS allowed us to take on some initial research projects,  and through innovation funding we were able to quickly partner with other players and establish some credibility,  The fact I’d set up a company meant I was also able to quickly assemble a core team of experts to work with me, people who I know and trust.

What is the vision behind Silver Power Systems?

Not all batteries are born equal – our technology and tools can put insights about an electric vehicle’s battery into the hands of our clients – everything from state of health to how the battery is being used/charged throughout the vehicle’s life. 

Our vision for the company is to scale our business by being the  best battery analytics company in the EV industry, and offering tangible, useful insights to our clients. We’re passionate about improving the performance and prolonging the lives of EV batteries so that drivers can continue to travel sustainably for longer, and help the world transition towards net zero.  

How difficult was the start and which challenges you had to overcome?

The biggest challenge was how to gain traction in the automotive industry given the large number of incumbent suppliers. Whilst EVs brought in a technology inflection point it is still very difficult for a new tech company to gain the attention of the vehicle manufacturers. We were fortunate to win a grant award and  be supported and mentored by the Advanced Propulsion Center which was invaluable in refining our development strategy and gaining credibility.

Who is your target audience?

We work with fleet owners and operators for all types of electric vehicles – from taxis, to vans and buses – providing vehicle type agnostic battery data collection and analysis which optimises fleet operations now and maximises battery value in the future We also work with anyone interested in the overall operation of EVs – such as vehicle developers, battery manufacturers, insurance providers, transport authorities and local councils. 

What is the USP of your startup? 

Liam Mifsud

When fleets buy new EVs we believe they don’t currently have enough insight around the current health and future degradation of the batteries – we want to change that. There are many things set us apart but perhaps one of the most important is that we provide independent analysis of electric vehicle batteries 

Can you describe your typical workday?

Our days are never the same as week-to-week we’re always looking at new opportunities and potential new projects. Although most people have a free rein to work how they like and, these days,are  mostly at home, we do find some structure helps us to keep track of priorities and deliverables.  

So our typical day starts with a 9am Skype call, when everyone calls in and talks through their priorities for the day, any assistance they need from anyone else,  or shares some news of interest.  We use the Monday call  to identify any resource bottlenecks and will often decide on the call whether, for example, fixing a new, just found,  software bug is a higher priority than a planned development task on a project plan. We might arrange follow-on calls that day if something requires particular attention.

After 30mins or so we each get on with our day and that would be a mix of planned software or hardware development tasks , business planning and management, or dealing with queries and questions from partners or customers. Often these will spark conversations on Skype or phone, so even though we are all remote, it always feels like we are working as a team.  At 5pm we have another whole team call, but this is a voluntary one and people only join if they have something specific to ask or report, or just want some social contact!

Where do you see yourself and your startup Silver Power Systems in five years?

In 5 years we expect to be moving into the next phase of our growth, from a small number of high value customers to more volume and potentially international customers.  We will almost certainly be looking to or have moved to a larger premises to accommodate more staff, although given the tendency for home working , this might not be a full time office but maybe  a space we rent for a certain number of days per month.  Our day to day activities will have grown to include significant operations and customer support functions, and given the rapid evolution of the EV industry in the UK we may by then be part of a larger company. Either way the passion for interesting and innovative technology projects will remain.

What 3 tips would you give to founders?

Be very clear what you are trying  to achieve – this allows others to follow and efficiently help you get there, but also……..

Be prepared to change direction fast to seize opportunities or adapt to challenges. Often the most useful output of a project is not what you originally set out to achieve.

Lastly, business is about people – look for people to join you who share your vision and energy level, and network widely in your industry. ‘Give to receive’ – develop trusted connections with people who can help you in the long run.

Thank you Pete Bishop and Liam Mifsud for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

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