Join RichTech’s Women in Technology forum on Tuesday, July 16 to hear from Rebecca Hough, CEO of Evatran who was recently voted as Inc. Magazine’s 2013 World’s Coolest 30 under 30 Young Entrepreneurs. Hough will be discussing her vision and development of Plugless Power and how it is changing the future of electric vehicles. Congratulations to Virginia’s Ms. Hough and her innovative company!
Rebecca Hough faced a few hurdles right out of the gate when she started her company: She was disrupting an industry that already faced an adoption issue, she was younger than many of her peers, and a woman in a male dominated industry. These factors, however, did not stop her from being named to Inc. Magazine’s 30 Under 30, winning strategic partnerships from the likes of Google, Sears, and the Department of Energy, and becoming a Co-Founder and CEO of Evatran. They provide a plugless power system for electric cars, making it easy, clean and efficient for people to charge their vehicles.
We recently got to chat with Rebecca.
What was the inspiration for automotive plugless power?
At Evatran, we’ve always been focused on the user experience. Upon adoption, electric vehicle drivers are required to add a plug-in routine to their schedules on a daily basis. We believe that a heavy, dirty, inconvenient recharging process could potentially limit the widespread adoption of the electric vehicle. So we’ve taken the 100-year old technology that our Company was based on and repurposed it, to create a convenient, wireless charging system. Once our system is installed, the driver simply pulls into his or her garage and automatically begins recharging.
Can you speak a bit about your relationships with giants like Google and Bosch? Did you approach them or did they woo you?
We’ve been very proactive about reaching out to high-profile partners. As a small start-up outside of the key electric vehicle areas of Detroit and California, we knew we had to get some big names on our side. We’ve simply learned to follow up, ask for help, and always treat our partners with respect. As companies have learned in the social media space, consumers aren’t looking for perfection; they are looking for authentic brands that are open with them about challenges and future direction. They want to be part of the process. This is what we’ve seen with our partners – they want to be part of our story. I can confidently say that most of our traction in the space is based on referrals from early partners to later partners. We have an incredible, high–profile network for a Company of our size.
As electric vehicles become more popular, and options begin to grow for charging and battery life, what’s the next hurdle for the industry?
Innovations in charging and battery life are truly the remaining hurdles for the electric vehicle industry. At Evatran, we believe the future is made up of a variety of transportation options including pure electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, and alternatively-powered vehicles. Current research will deliver a long-range, affordable electric car within the next 5 years, but it will take significant public and private investments to get there.
The tech industry has traditionally been a man’s world. Have there been challenges due to your age or gender?
Of course there are challenges to being a young female in the space. In fact, I would say it’s actually more of a challenge in the automotive sector than the tech sector. The tech industry is used to young, passionate entrepreneurs – the automotive space is not. However, I learned very quickly that my age and gender can be competitive advantages in creating memorable connections with industry partners, customers, and vendors. Automotive executives do not quickly forget me, so when an opportunity pops up for a Company or product like ours, I’m the first to come to their minds…and thus the first to get the call. I would say my biggest challenge now is keeping my competitive edge while getting older!
So Bosch is your exclusive service partner? Nice! Does this include sales and marketing, and does this free you up to create your next big thing?
Thank you! We’re pleased with the partnership and what Bosch can do with our product. The relationship covers all sales, distribution, and installation services, and our customers will be assigned an individual Bosch Vehicle Charging Advisor to work with them from initial product interest through purchase and home installation. I’m not sure we’re freed up quite yet – we are dedicated to continuously improving the product to meet customers’ needs – but we’re all about the next big thing. Or the next big things is a better statement. Stay tuned!
Click here to register for the Women in Technology Forum
When? July 16, 2013 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Cost? Open to the public, $15.00 registration fee and free for RichTech members
Where? The Alliance Group, 2201 West Main Street,Richmond, VA
Article originally published at RichTech.com