Choose investors that you have a good relationship with!
‘Start-up Spotlight’ by Invested Investor, published in partnership with Angel News.
In partnership with Angel News, , we are delighted to publish this issue of Startup Spotlight where the President of the European Business Angel Network (EBAN), Peter Cowley talks to the co-founder of Vantage Power, Alex Schey. Vantage Power designs and manufactures technology used in hybrid powertrains for new buses, as well as a retrofit solution for buses already on the road. Vantage Power's most recent award came in the form of the 'Most Disruptive Tech' at the UK British Angels Association awards 2017.
In this interview, Peter and Alex chatted about how Vantage Power took shape and about the lessons learned as an entrepreneur!
1) What does your company do?
Vantage Power designs and manufactures innovative battery pack, control systems and telemetry technologies for electric and hybrid heavy-duty vehicles, with the aim of reducing harmful tailpipe emissions.
2) How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
Our technology has been applied to hybrid retrofit system for buses – a true first – and has been enabled by the unique technologies we have developed. Furthermore, this technology is more broadly applicable to the new vehicle market and off-vehicle applications as well.
3) What are the great stories of ‘rewards or satisfactions’ that you can share?
Seeing your technology in action on the road and carrying passengers after years of development is truly a great feeling of satisfaction and achievement. However, as an entrepreneur I take these satisfying moments with a pinch of salt – for every success there are many more fires that need putting out in the background, so I find it difficult to bask in the moment without feeling like I need to get back to the grindstone!
4) How do you characterise success?
On a business level I view success as building a great team, exciting technology, seeing this generate revenue, profit, and ultimately build shareholder value. On a personal level though, this is still one of the big items I am trying to work out.
5) How do you view your relationship with your investors?
We are so fortunate to have a highly supportive base of investors, without which I don’t think we would have made it to where we are today. Many of these relationships have become mentorships and friendships. The value to the business and me personally can’t be overstated.
6) How would you choose your investors?
I would only choose investors that I can have a good relationship with. The assumption must be that one day the business will go through challenging times, and you may either need support from your shareholders or you may come into conflict with them. The relationships you have with your investors will either help resolve these difficult situations or make them immeasurably worse, so it’s really important those strong personal relationships can be relied on.
7) How do you maintain a work/life balance?
In the early days I didn’t, and that was a mistake. Nowadays I try to finish work at a reasonable time (although rarely earlier than 7pm) and take at least 1 day off on the weekend. In that down time I choose to spend quality time with those closest to me, and I find this helps me stay focused and happy.
8) Who inspires you and why?
Elon Musk. He has taken two of the hardest industries (automotive and space) and completely reinvented them. In doing so he has created some of the strongest brand loyalty on the planet, and sparked the imagination of millions. Whether his businesses succeed or fail in the long run, I think he will be seen as a true visionary for many years to come.
9) If you could offer an entrepreneur one piece of business advice, what would it be?
Your business is just a part of your life, but it can’t be your entire life. Your physical and mental wellbeing needs more than what a business can provide, and it’s important that this is looked after for both you and the business’s sake.
If you’d like to hear more from Alex about his journey, listen to the podcast interview between him and Peter Cowley HERE
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