Within the next few years, every operator of vehicle fleets will have a plan for electrification. Some already do. But even the most advanced fleets are still just beginning to put those plans into action. We’ve long believed that fleets would be the first segment of the vehicle market to electrify at scale. The economic argument is simply too compelling not to, and that was before the recent fuel price spikes and major net-zero commitments by Fortune 500 companies. The key barriers to electrification have been the lack of vehicles and the unique complexity of operating an electric vs. internal combustion fleet.
We’ve now seen significant recent innovations around vehicles, batteries, chargers, software and business models for electrification. So the startup landscape for electric mobility has gotten more crowded and there’s already been a wave of successful exits. Among those was Wireframe portfolio company Electriphi, an early leader in fleet electrification acquired by Ford Motor Company to power their Ford Pro division.
But the reality is that the market is still nascent. There are only a few thousand electric fleet vehicles on US roads today, less than 0.1% of the market. And the complexity of deploying and operating an electric fleet is still a significant barrier for ICE fleets to overcome. To realize the full benefits of electrification, customers need a software solution that is vendor-agnostic, integrates data across vehicles and charging infrastructure, and incorporates their specific operating priorities. We see enormous potential for any company that can provide that solution.
So when we first met the Synop team in the summer of 2021, we were already armed with first-hand experience, prior financial success and continued belief in this market opportunity. As a pre-seed investment, our decision was anchored around our belief in co-founders Gagan Dhillon and Andrew Blejde. They’ve been close friends since childhood with very complementary engineering and commercial skills. Their prior experience and close personal relationship allowed them to move very quickly to learn and build a product which stood apart from anything else on the market. They were also extraordinarily self-aware and transparent about their own capabilities and what they would need from a team they intended to build around them.
As part of our diligence process we made introductions to a number of prospective customers and partners. Every single one responded quickly with strong positive feedback and in many cases a desire to start working with Synop. The team was just getting started but their trajectory was clear and impressive. So we jumped at the chance to invest in their pre-seed round alongside Better Ventures in September 2021. And their momentum has continued over the past nine months. We’ve been impressed by their responsiveness to customers, their speed at building new relationships, and the rate at which they’ve translated market input into a great commercial product. So we’re thrilled to continue supporting them in their new $10M seed round led by Obvious Ventures with Congruent Ventures joining as well.
While EV adoption is still early, there are orders in place for tens of thousands of fleet EVs and clear signs emerging that fleets are ready to flip from fuel to electrons. We’re excited to continue working with Gagan and Andrew as they enable this transition by simplifying the work of deploying, charging and operating electric fleets.
Gagan Dhillon & Andrew Blejde
Software | Mobility
Pre-seed - 2021