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Welcome to this week’s edition of E-Spotlight, where we give our Partners, Members, Clients, and Preferred Service Providers a chance to tell their story about our work together and what they bring to the future mobility table. We hope you enjoy this post by Scott Ungerer, Founder & Managing Director of EnerTech Capital, a Founding Partner of the California Mobility Center (CMC). 

For over 25 years EnerTech’s fundamental focus has been investing and partnering with innovative companies driving change across the energy landscape; with a focus on Mobility, Industry 4.0, and Connected Customer. Scott has been highly involved with the CMC since late 2018 as part of EnerTech’s strategic partnership with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and was recently named Senior Partner in the Office of the CEO at the CMC.

A New Kind of Collaborative Ecosystem Helping Early-Stage Innovation Succeed
By Scott Ungerer, Founder & Managing Director, EnerTech Capital and Senior Partner, CMC

I am delighted with the recent announcement of the CMC’s board of directors. Their level of seniority, breadth of knowledge, experience, and commitment to supporting the CMC will provide valuable guidance to management and is a testament to the CMC’s future. The official launch of the CMC was another major milestone that I am honored to have been a part of, and I couldn’t be more excited that the doors are finally open to Clients, Partners, and Preferred Service Providers. 

EnerTech has worked closely with SMUD for nearly a decade. During this time, Mark Rawson (COO, CMC) and I focused on designing a method of engagement between SMUD and innovation companies. The purpose of this work was to improve partnerships, increase the pace of activity, and enhance the probability of success in developing commercially viable products and services. In late 2018, Arlen Orchard, then SMUD CEO, asked that our work be directed to supporting a mobility initiative of strategic importance. This pivot led the way for the creation of the CMC, with SMUD as the lead Founding Member and EnerTech as a Founding Partner.

The mobility sector is still evolving and being defined. From my vantage point, the core of mobility has been and remains automotive, which is experiencing a very rapid evolution that is heavily driven by digitization. In addition, the market and policymakers are demanding conversion to zero-emission-vehicles at an increasing pace. This dramatic shift in powertrains drives the need to build an entirely new national and international refueling infrastructure, namely EV charging; requiring over a trillion-dollar in investment.

This shift in automotive is coincidently happening as the power grid is undergoing its own transformation. These unprecedented changes are driven by the increased emergence of variable solar, wind, and renewable energy resources and the growing number of complexities to maintain reliability at levels which we have all grown accustomed to. Making matters more complicated, this is happening while the industry and consumers are experiencing continued cost pressures. The rapid expansion of EV technology is also presenting both challenges and opportunities to the electricity sector.

Historically, the pace of change in these industries was relatively slow compared to many other sectors. However, today’s market is setting an increased pace for expected changes. This rapid change of pace is placing stress on historical methods and driving the need for more significant innovation, including innovation by early-stage companies. The urgency of market and technological evolution is why EnerTech is excited to be a Founding Partner of the CMC.

In the most simplistic terms, the CMC is designed to bring the mobility ecosystem together to focus on improving the pace of commercialization, particularly in the California market for individual companies (CMC Clients) and the industry at-large (CMC Members). 

The challenges in the mobility industry are easy to identify, but reaching solutions is quite complex. The challenge in funding and driving solutions is to identify and reduce (or eliminate) the multitude of regulatory, institutional, and other barriers that can slow the pace of reaching market deployment. There are multiple possibilities in crafting solutions to these challenges.  

For Clients, the CMC first needs to make a realistic assessment of whether they can help achieve proposed business objectives. They have developed a Client Concierge approach to explore a Client’s readiness for success in several key areas and will formulate and review options to address any material gaps.  As part of this Client Concierge approach, the CMC will identify its partners and members that are best positioned to assist Clients. If necessary, the CMC network will be leveraged to reach the broader external mobility ecosystem for the appropriate support. The Client ultimately makes all decisions.

For Members, the CMC has three primary value streams:

  1. Client interaction: several ways have been designed for a Member to work with a Client, ranging from a low level of involvement to something much more meaningful and impactful. 
  2. Member interaction: companies from all industry sectors, large to small industrial or tech companies, along with academic institutions and government representatives, get together as colleagues to discuss hurdles that are systemic across the relevant industries and develop approaches to reduce or even remove those hurdles.
  3. Proprietary briefings: the CMC network will provide insights ranging from technology innovation to California policy and regulation. 

To learn more about these value streams, click here to watch the Innovating Innovation video series featuring myself, Mark Rawson, and Lou Carmellini (Marketing Strategist, CMC). We discuss the CMC ecosystem in great detail and address some of the other frequently asked questions

The desired outcome is a world where innovation is more rapidly adopted and deployed by these industries coming together to form the mobility sector.  I look forward and am excited to continuing the work with the Clients, Members, and Partners of the CMC as we strive to create a new reality.