Autovolt Magazine

POD Point Open Charge Ditches RFID, uses Crowdfunding and Bonds to Raise funds

POD Point has announced the launch of a new crowdfunding round with a targeted goal of £1.75m. The charge point firm plans to use the funds for expansion and to finance the initial roll-out of its next generation public charging network, POD Point Open Charge.

In an innovative move the total will be raised from two distinct financial instruments with £1.5m of the target coming from an equity investment dubbed ‘Electric Equity’. The remainder will be sourced from a £250k crowdfunded ‘Open Charge’ bond. Both will be hosted on the crowdfunding platform Crowdcube.

The expansion planned by POD Point will go towards sales, marketing and all-new charge point hardware as well as upgraded software for existing units. Investors will receive shares in the company as reward.

POD Point Open Charge

The £250k bond finance is being used to fund the initial roll out of the company’s new Open Charge network of public charge points. Open Charge makes electric vehicle charging more accessible to plug-in vehicle owners with free-to-use web and mobile apps. Critically, the Open Charge network will no longer require the use of RFID cards.

The bond will pay 8% per annum (paid quarterly) in interest and will return the original investment after 3 years. This compares favourably to other, similar, fund raising activities including Ecotricity’s ‘Eco Bonds’ that has been used to pay for new wind turbines and solar farms.

POD Point’s ambitious target is to have a POD Point everywhere a driver stops for an hour or more. POD Point has grown from £1.9, to £4.5 to £6.5m turnover in the last 2 years. It has shipped over 20,000 charge points and supplied over 10 million miles of electric motoring. This rapid growth has earned the company a spot in the 2015 Sunday Times Tech Track 100 list of the UK’s fastest growing tech companies.

Erik Fairbairn - POD Point

Erik Fairbairn, CEO and founder of POD Point said on the news,

“We’re incredibly excited to be launching these two campaigns. We’ve always looked to do things a bit differently at POD Point and giving the public and those concerned about the environment a stake in the future of the electric vehicle market in the UK seemed the right way to go.

We’re keen to press on with our mission of providing facilities for electric vehicle charging everywhere the public stops for an hour or more. This new funding will bring that idea closer to being a reality.”

POD Point is no stranger to crowdfunding, having successfully raised £1.5m in 2014. At the time, it marked the second largest private company equity fund raise in the UK.

The funding allowed the development and launch of POD Point Open Charge and the business @Work solution, which are made up of next generation hardware and software. It also helped scale turnover from £4.5m to £6.5m and post a net profit for the year.

Fairbairn sees crowdfunding as a superior alternative to venture capital funding. He commented,

“Venture Capital normally carries a significant amount of contractual baggage and doesn’t have anywhere near the level of upside associated with having hundreds of brand advocates which you only get with a crowdfunding round.

It’s hard to see how traditional venture capital remains relevant in the crowdfunding world. We’ve seen crowdfunding initially replace friends,family and early stage funding rounds but now, headed by companies like POD Point, it’s beginning to move into the growth equity phase as well.”

Source; POD Point