In December 2015,Vancouver cleantech company Portable Electric was founded, creating clean, reliable and portable battery generators for the film and events industry. Fast forward to 2020 and the company has pivoted, temporarily dedicating their resources to supporting COVID-19 relief efforts.Their VOLTstackpower stations are now providing life-saving battery electric power.
The VOLTstack is the world’s leading industrial-grade portable power station that provides uninterrupted, clean power.A single unit can power multiple ventilators for 10 hours before needing to recharge, and fully recharges in just 2.5 hours. They can also charge and discharge simultaneously and act as an uninterruptible power supply.
When Portable Electric was just starting out, they took advantage of ourVenture Acceleration Program(VAP) through our partners at Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre. We sat down with Tom Bennett, Marketing Director atPortable Electric, to learn more about the company, their tech, and the impact the Venture Acceleration Program has had.
Q: How has your tech impacted COVID-19 relief efforts locally?
Tom: We’ve seen great interest in the product line from local health authorities and municipal groups. Everyone understands it’s an ongoing situation that needs to be monitored. It has definitely ensured peoples’ peace of mind that reliable, clean power is available for testing locations, pop-up health clinics, and existing facilities.
Q: What goals did Portable Electric have before entering the VAP and how did it help you achieve them?
Tom:The company’s goals at that time were straightforward, andwe knew the work wouldbuild the foundation of strategies to come. We had to understand our customer.
We used the Market Validation Training to kick that off. As much as a customer needs to fall in love with your product, you need to fall in love with them. We needed to know them intimately, otherwise a new, transformative product like ours would never have been accepted into the industries we work in.
The program helped set us in the right direction and gave us the valuable data we needed to get off the ground. This deep customer knowledge and the practice of learning and growing to understand them,has built and continues to be the foundation of our sales and marketing strategies.
Q: What’s next for Portable Electric? What are you looking to accomplish in the year ahead?
Tom: Right now, things haven’t really changed or slowed down. One of the strengths of a company like Portable Electric is that it’s agile, able to think outside the box and recognize new ways our product can benefit people. While we know that eventually things will return to normal and industries like film and events will be back in force – there’s a lot of exciting work towards new horizons in the year ahead. We’re establishing ourselves in new industries, like healthcare, building new partnerships and strengthening existing ones, and engaging new prospective customers who have come to us as they pivot in turn during this pandemic.