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The Fund Founder Spotlight Interview: Kameale C. Terry of ChargerHelp!
The Fund is a founder community and early stage fund, by founders for founders.
Welcome to The Founder Spotlight where we highlight the incredible people behind the companies we’ve backed at The Fund. This week the spotlight is on Kameale C. Terry, CEO and co-founder of ChargerHelp!,a platform that trains, connects and dispatches technicians to fix networked electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and ensure that no station is left offline.
Electric vehicles are the wave of the future, but it’s going to require a sufficient number of charging stations to keep electric vehicles on the road and owners happy. In addition to having enough stations, they also need to be working. Today many charging stations are out of commission due to non-electrical issues with no technicians to repair the broken facilities. Kameale C. Terry spent three years in the industry before co-founding ChargerHelp! with Evette Ellis. Their platform is getting EV charging stations and people back to work.
ChargerHelp! isn’t just a startup, it sits at the intersection of workforce development, adult learning, and clean technology. They are obsessed with leveraging technology to remove barriers and enable economic mobility within all communities. Kameale is from South Central Los Angeles and wants to provide opportunities for amazing talent to work in climate tech for the first time. They are currently located in 11 states and will be adding 8 more next quarter. They also have landed contracts with major international manufacturers including ABB, Tritium, and EVBox. As these heavyweight names grow, so will ChargerHelp!
We can totally get behind a company helping the world live and breathe better by providing new green jobs and cleaner air!
What's ChargerHelp!’s “North Star”?
Our North Star is to be the premier provider of ongoing maintenance for the electric vehicle charging station infrastructure. What folks may not know is that electric vehicle charging stations are the first publicly deployed IoT assets and it is also the first time our nation has decentralized fuel. While exciting, these two instances require a service provider that is as sophisticated and decentralized as the devices that they service. We are excited to continue to grow our technology and service offering to match the industry need.
How does ChargerHelp! inspire “customer love”?
It keeps people from ripping their stations out of the ground, which is a true story. We will go on some maintenance contracts and say “Where's the station?,” they’ll point to the facility garage and they’ve literally ripped the station off the ground. So I think customer love is just protecting the assets. Network providers and manufacturers did an amazing job of deploying a lot of assets very quickly, and so much more is required of them in the next two years after this new government infrastructure bill comes into effect. Our customer love comes from being able to be a good partner so they can feel confident in the services that we provide. At the end of the day it's still their brand, we just have to take care of it.
What have been some of the greatest challenges founding ChargerHelp!?
One of the greatest challenges is that there are no standards for Operations and Maintenance. With no standards it means that there’s no dedicated funding for it and so many of our contracts are subcontracted off of services that were sold, but never required for everyone to have. However, what we see is that 30% of the infrastructure is inoperable and many times it stays inoperable because there was no dedicated funding. Next month we're producing legislation for Operations and Maintenance Standards to define what uptime is, to help with EV charging reliability. And then if manufacturers and network providers can't keep their stations online, we have to ask ourselves should they be able to participate in taxpayer funding? So it's a challenge, however, we are addressing it.
Do you have a favorite podcast you think other founders would find beneficial?
My favorite podcast is Business Wars. The cool thing is that they identify a lot of these franchises or very large corporate organizations and talk about how they started. You're able to see how ideas can grow into companies. But the coolest thing about it is that you hear all the failures that happen. I think sometimes you think that companies grew directly into their success without any issues, however, it's just not true. Understanding the true growth of a company, success and failure, helps to keep ChargerHelp!’s growth plan in perspective.