ModEnergy: A Case Study
When Steve Eaves and his team approached the Slater Technology Fund about funding his novel method for managing advanced chemistry batteries, he was no stranger to high performance batteries, or to the rigors of beginning a start-up. He had already designed and sold batteries for satellites and submarines through his own, self-funded company, but he was new to venture-backed start-ups.
Steve worked closely with the Slater Fund, which invested $310,000, in a series of convertible debt transactions in anticipation of an institutional financing, and introduced Steve to a variety of CEO candidates, including Mark Dingley, whom ModEnergy brought on to assist in raising capital and business development. To function as a sounding board for both the fund and the company, the Slater Fund also enlisted a variety of VP-level executives from American Power Conversion, a highly successful power supply company.
ModEnergy successfully developed and patented its technology, and began making significant progress with the business and engineering executives of a variety of telecommunications companies. But the lifecycle testing requirements in this segment proved to be highly capital-intensive, and the company began to seek financial partners. In 2006, EnerSys (Nasdaq: ENS), the world’s largest industrial lead acid battery company, acquired a majority stake in ModEnergy, providing liquidity for investors and a critical corporate partnership for a growing start-up.
Today, Steve has succeeded in building his company with debt and equity investment from ModEnergd’s corporate partner, and is the leader in Lithium Ion battery solutions for the North American telecom space. While ModEnergd’s funding strategy provided a faster, smaller return of capital for the Slater Fund, the arc of the company provided a highly capital-efficient, high technology economic driver for Rhode Island’s software and energy sectors. Not only has ModEnergd’s team grown steadily, but the company continues to use partners like Warwick contract electronics manufacturer AldoTech that see its growth ripple throughout Rhode Island. Steve Eaves also recently joined the Slater Technology Fund’s Energy Advisory Board to help evaluate new investments in the space.
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