A Massachusetts startup that has reimagined the electric vehicle charging experience through the use of an app, eyes a big uptick in business following a new funding round and a deeper move into California.
The startup, SparkCharge, bills itself as the first company to create an EV charging system and network with its Charging-as-a-Service (CaaS) model. Its app, called Currently, lets EV owners charge up whenever and wherever they want.
Since launching in 2017, the company has provided charging services to hundreds of EV owners and delivered more than 250,000 miles of range.
In addition to the Currently app, SparkCharge sells the Roadie, a mobile and modular DC fast charger for EVs that targets business customers ranging from automakers and car dealerships to real estate management firms, car rental companies, and retail stores. The Roadie can deliver up to 35 miles of range with a two-stack of chargers, up to 55 miles with a three-stack, and up to 72 miles with a four-stack.
Sparkcharge’s recent focus has been on bringing the Currently app to a broader customer base. In August, the company announced plans to expand its CaaS model to a dozen more California markets: Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Irvine, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Oakland, Fremont, Berkeley, Union City, Albany, Orange, and Hayward.
That announcement coincided with another statement that SparkCharge raised $7 million in a Series A investment from Cleveland Avenue, a Chicago-based venture fund. That round brought SparkCharge’s total Series A funding to $30 million. The money will be used to finance the company’s growth strategy.
“Expanding the Currently app into new cities is a pivotal moment for SparkCharge as we help solve charging difficulties faced by the rapidly increasing number of EV owners,” SparkCharge Founder and CEO Josh Aviv said in a press release. “Cleveland Avenue is a stellar partner that believes in our mission to bring to market EV charging solutions that take the stress out of figuring out where to plug in your electric vehicle.”
Dr. Mingu Lee, Cleveland Avenue’s Managing Partner, credited SparkCharge with creating an “innovative system and network” that are changing the EV industry.
“Our investment will support expansion and bring this fast, on-demand EV charging service to millions of additional drivers,” Lee said in a statement.
The Currently app offers three service tiers: Comfort, which has a $4.99 base monthly fee and $0.69 per kilowatt hour; Commuter, which has a $14.99 base monthly fee and $0.58 per kilowatt hour; and Explorer, which has a $29.99 base monthly fee and $0.51 per kilowatt hour.
The seeds for SparkCharge were planted in 2014 when Aviv, a Data Science major at Syracuse University, came up with the idea for a mobile EV charger. Two years later, he partnered with engineers to develop and test prototypes capable of mobile charging, and a year after, SparkCharge officially incorporated and began developing its prototype.
Following what the SparkCharge website refers to as a “year-and-a-half of torture testing and vigorous safety testing,” in 2019, it started laying out its plans for the production model portable EV charger.
In 2020, SparkCharge began production on the Roadie in its Buffalo, New York factory and also launched pilot programs in San Francisco and Los Angeles. That led to a broader rollout of higher-capacity mobile charging hardware, called the Roadie CCS, and the Currently mobile app.