Battery startup Joule Case lands $500K after making key pivot due to the pandemic – GeekWire
Joule Case, an Idaho-based battery tech startup producing stackable energy storage units, landed more than $500,000 in funding.
The infusion of capital has helped the 5-year-old company shift from a sales plan that, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, was going to target events and music festivals.
Now the startup is focused on residential and backup-power customers. That includes food trucks, campers and RV owners, and people looking for home energy backup for solar power and in the case of electrical outages.
“In the day-to-day of trying to keep your business afloat or selling stuff, you have to be flexible and determined to make it happen,” said CEO James Wagoner.
The startup had grown to 12 employees, but had to lay off staff working specifically on the festival-related products. The company, which now has five full-time employees, is hiring for product development and sales aligned with the pivot.
Using lithium ion and lead acid batteries, Joule Case has created a stackable system that can be added or subtracted to depending on the amount and duration of energy needed. The batteries can replace polluting, noisy gas generators.
Joule Case products are available from the company as well as Camping World and Northern Tool, and the startup recently closed a deal to provide the batteries to a network of more than 500 electrical wholesale distributors.
The latest funding is in the form of convertible notes, debt that can be turned into equity in the future. Investors in the round include Keiretsu Forum and Park City Angels. Joule Case previously raised nearly $1 million from angel investors. The startup says it plans to pursue a Series A funding round in the near future.
As the push toward cleaner energy continues, Joule Case is part of a larger trend to establish the Pacific Northwest a major player in the growing battery tech sector.
There are numerous startups in the space, including Woodinville, Wash.-based Group14, which is using nanotechnology in battery science, and ESS, an Oregon-based manufacturer tackling grid energy storage. Lavle, a Seattle-area company developing batteries for marine and other uses plans, reported that it’s increasing its workforce by more than 50% through the end of the year. Seattle’s Zin Boats is making waves in its pitch to become the “Tesla of the sea.”
The region is also home to institutional battery expertise at the University of Washington and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), and government agencies are purchasing batteries for transportation projects including Washington state’s plans to build the world’s largest hybrid-powered, auto-carrying ferries.