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Former 43North winner raises money, charts expansion

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Re-post from Buffalo Business First

SparkCharge came to Buffalo last year after winning the $1 million grand prize in the 43North business competition.

The company is poised to further solidify its presence here after completing a $3.3 million round of private financing.

The money will support the scaleup of SparkCharge’s new manufacturing facility at 683 Northland Ave., in the same building that hosts the Northland Workforce Training Center and Buffalo Manufacturing Works.

“This will allow us to service more companies, sell more units and help get them out the door,” said Joshua Aviv, SparkCharge founder and CEO. “We’re focused on building a great team, having a positive impact both on the community and removing barriers for electric vehicles.”

Founded in Syracuse, Sparkcharge has developed a portable device that quickly charges electric vehicles. They are already in use in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Mateo, where service companies are meeting electric vehicle owners roadside to recharge their batteries. That real-world experience has proven out the company’s business strategy, Aviv said.

“We’re seeing exponential growth in terms of demand,” Aviv said. “We’ve been able to provide out the unit economics and the distribution, and we’re ready to start mass producing.”

The company considers Buffalo its headquarters, with seven employees here and plans to increase its local team this year. It also has a research and development operation in Massachusetts. SparkCharge has a total of 18 employees.

SparkCharge’s plans to grow are delayed temporarily by coronavirus-related workplace restrictions, but the pandemic has also highlighted the company’s mission. Aviv pointed out how the lack of vehicular traffic is leading to noticeably cleaner air.

“That could be a reality if more people drove electric vehicles,” he said. “We’re doing our part right now to make sure that becomes a reality.”

Boston-based venture capital firm PJC led the investment. SparkCharge was co-founded by CTO Christopher Ellis and chief engineer Richard Whitney.

SparkCharge is one of three Buffalo-based companies to confirm a significant round of private funding this year. The other two companies are also 43North award winners. They include CleanSlate ($7 million) and Circuit Clinical ($2.2 million).

Tags: 43North Winners, Buffalo, Funding

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