WATTS Battery a portable home energy storage
Please introduce yourself and your startup WATTS Battery to our readers!
My name is Yuriy Vlasov, and I am a founder of WATTS Battery, a portable home energy storage. My team and I have been working on this project for over 4 years, and we are proud to present it on the global market.
How did you get the idea of WATTS Battery?
I initially came up with the idea for it while working on one energy service project. I came across the fact that energy storages provide great opportunities to improve the efficiency of electrical installations. In the process of research, I began to look for where to get the storages, what they are, and at some point, I saw a presentation by Elon Musk, where he introduced Tesla Powerwall.
I discovered a new market and devoted the next 6 months to studying it. There was no point in making another Tesla Powerwall — so I came up with an idea to combine a stationary storage system for home, like Tesla Powerwall, and mobility of a generator.
Why did you decide to start with WATTS Battery?
Since childhood, I have been interested in the question of how to make a person’s life independent of electric networks. We all know that there is an independent source of electricity — a generator. I realized that if we manage to combine the stationary part and the mobility and simplicity of generators in one product, we can globally present the product in a competitive environment. With this idea, the project of creating portable energy storage began.
What is the vision behind WATTS Battery?
WATTS Battery is making life easier for people. They no longer have to depend on electricity networks and can take the device with them everywhere they go.
As cleantech technologies in engineering and construction of new buildings and zero carbon emission ecosystems are getting more and more widespread, we foresee the households and small businesses (SME) with Watts Battery as distributed electric energy accumulation and generation units. Major power plants will continue to supply large energy consuming industrial outlets and other infrastructure, while households and SMEs in suburban areas equipped with WATTS Battery smart storage system will supply cities’ downtown districts, smaller commercial and service outlets and the like with electricity. In the not-so-distant future, your office will be powered by electricity generated at your home while you are at work.
We are proud to be a part of the B Corp as well as a part of the Solar Impulse Foundation. These organizations share the same values as I do: they care about the impact a business makes on the community, including its partners, employees, clients, etc. They also help assess whether a company helps solve social and ecological issues or creates new ones. I am happy to build a sustainable business that takes care of these issues.
How difficult was the start and which challenges you had to overcome?
Our path was long with a lot of fun and drama. But if I had to go through it all over again, I definitely would.
We had a fast start: the idea originated in August 2015, and in 2016, we registered the company and made the first MVP of WATTS Battery. We presented this model at Startup Village in Moscow, Russia, and at Slush Helsinki, Finland, received great feedback and found our first investors.
By April 2017, we had a finished device, which we demonstrated at TechCrunch in New York and CleanTech in Helsinki. After CleanTech, we took the device to a certification laboratory, but did not succeed in certification. The device was not optimally configured, and this did not allow to meet the requirements of regulations to approve for CE mark. For us, this became a crisis of the project, because everyone worked a lot, and we ran out of money.
Because of this, we parted with a partner, whom I invited to the project in 2016, and the guys went to do their own project. I continued to search for investments, found a new partner, we restructured the project with him and in the fall we attracted angel investments in a sufficient amount to complete the product.
Throughout 2017, the team did not stop working, even when we did not have money for 2–3 months. We eventually raised money in October 2017, and in January 2018 we managed to present a rebuilt prototype at CES, which is similar to what we are currently selling.
Who is your target audience?
We started as B2C targeting end-customers, but faced an issue that there a very few early adopters who are ready to buy our product from the shelf. So we made a pivot in 2019, and today we are addressing alternative energy system integrators who are making end customer solutions for residentials and small commercials.
What is the USP of your startup?
For business partners who want to offer smart renewable energy and storage, WATTS Battery offers a power plant that fits inside a briefcase that is connected to the cloud and requires zero programming and unlike our competitors who require deep technical expertise and hours to implement we connect faster than it takes to plant a tree.
Because WATTS Battery is like personal power plant the size of a suitcase. It provides smart, portable energy storage which combines all the functionalities of a the large, stationary energy storage system in one modular case.
Can you describe your typical workday ?
I get up at 6:30, do morning exercises from 7:30 to 9, then go to the office. I work with my teammates until lunchtime at 2 pm, and then have meetings or calls with partners, clients, investors, up to 6 pm. From 6:30 to 8:30 working on my personal to-do list, and by 9:00 pm I am usually back home, spending time with my family. I usually go to bed at around 12am.
Where do you see yourself and your startup WATTS Battery in five years?
WATTS Battery is top 5 global company providing products and solutions for sustainable dwelling. In 6 months I expect Elon Musk to tweet about Yuriy Vlasov. I hope we become friends, share ideas and work together to bring sustainable future for people.
What 3 tips would you give to founders?
The main thing is to sell your idea to someone other than yourself and your parents. At the initial stage, it is especially important to find people who will believe in your idea and will be ready to invest money in it.
You can’t do the project alone – one person will not go too far. You need to gather like-minded people into the team who close competencies that you don’t have. In addition to your money, the project should include the money of those people who do the work with you. Then you can control each other and do not make a huge number of mistakes that people make alone.
Even if you have a sophisticated technical product, avoid the pursuit of excellence. It always seems that you can do better and postpone the release. Do not fall for it – you will never achieve an ideal. You should try to give the product to the user as quickly as possible and improve further as you get the feedback.
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Thank you Yuriy Vlasov for the Interview
Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.