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Why we invested in Recurrent

December 8, 2020
Paul Straub
Screenshot showing electric vehicle EV battery health and vehicle value analysis, generated by Recurrent Auto

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Battery health is the new odometer

Details

Nearly 1.5 million electric vehicles are on US roads today, but they still account for less than 1% of all vehicles nationwide. In fact, the majority of Americans have never driven an EV or say they don’t know anyone who has. But automakers are scheduled to release dozens of new electric models over the next two years, and over the next decade nearly 20 million EVs will be on the road.

As that EV market growth explodes, so will the secondary market for used vehicles. This creates a challenge that’s familiar to the relatively few of us who have considered buying or selling an EV. How do you evaluate the health of the battery pack - the single most valuable component of the vehicle? Most questions consumers ask when purchasing a new or used EV relate to the battery. What is the distance on a charge, the battery life, the rate of degradation, the likelihood of needing a replacement, etc. Today that information is trapped in a black box, not readily accessible to consumers or auto dealers.

My wife and I recently debated buying our own car at the end of its lease. We know how we had charged, maintained and driven it, but we still struggled with these questions. So how would we answer these questions if we were buying from a dealer or a stranger? The conventional assessment of a used vehicle - condition rating and odometer - are not sufficient for the EV market.

Recurrent believes that battery health is the new odometer.  They’ve assembled a “virtual fleet” with thousands of electric vehicles nationwide whose owners receive regular battery health reports. They also offer dealers a rating they can use to assure buyers when selling EVs. Recurrent is committed to providing buyers, sellers and dealers with data that builds confidence around EV transactions. And it expects the same information will be valuable for other partners like insurance companies, service shops, and member groups like AAA.

When we first met Recurrent’s founders, it was easy to get excited about their mission, but it was the team that drove our conviction to invest. Both founders have strong product and startup experience. Scott Case managed product at Aquantive through its sale to Microsoft and then helped build EnergySavvy, a home energy efficiency software business, through its acquisition. Kyle Rippey has been an engineer and technical lead at several online marketplace startups including Avvo and Rover.

As we got to know the team, it was the “why” behind their experiences paired with overwhelmingly enthusiastic reviews from former colleagues that stood out. Scott for example, started Ada Developers Academy, a non-profit, tuition-free coding school for women and underrepresented minorities as a side project while building EnergySavvy because he was frustrated by the lack of diversity in software engineering. After a couple of successful exits, Scott felt compelled to do more on climate change, and so he dove in as an EIR at University of Washington looking deeply into challenges around batteries and electrification before landing on the idea of Recurrent. And it’s a particularly strong signal that two of Scott’s prior board members and investors were both eager to support him again in this business.

We are excited to lead Recurrent’s seed financing, joining Scott, Kyle and our fellow investors Pioneer Square Ventures, Prelude Ventures, Powerhouse, Vulcan and AAA. We believe that by increasing transparency and confidence in battery health, Recurrent can help accelerate a massive transition to electric vehicles over the next decade.

Founder

Scott Case

Themes

Transportation, EVs, Consumer

First Investment

Seed, 2020

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