Changing the Face of Sustainable Energy: Alumni Startup Moment Energy Closes $3.5 Million Seed Round
Moment Energy, a sustainable startup transforming second-life electric vehicle batteries and a client of SFU’s Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection incubator program, recently closed a $3.5 million seed funding round led by Version One Ventures.
Co-founded by four graduates from SFU’s Mechatronic Systems Engineering Program, Moment Energy creates sustainable energy storage systems by repurposing retired electric vehicle batteries. The startup’s solution has been installed in off-grid areas to reduce diesel consumption and enables a transition to renewable energy. To date Moment Energy has partnered with world-leading automakers in electric vehicles to pilot its systems in three remote communities, repurposing batteries and displacing the need for generators.
Together, co-founders Edward Chiang, Sumreen Rattan, Gurmesh Sidhu and Gabriel Soares have benefited from many resources and programs through the Charles Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship, SFU’s home of interdisciplinary entrepreneurship education. The team first came together as students in the Chang Institute’s capstone program, Technology Entrepreneurship @ SFU and further developed their venture over two entrepreneurship co-op (eCoop) terms. eCoop is a Chang Institute opportunity that provides student entrepreneurs with $10,000 awards and co-op credit as well as office space, business development services and mentorship through Venture Connection, to develop or launch their business ideas over a co-op semester.
Co-Founder and CEO of Moment Energy, Edward Chiang, shared that “as an engineer by trade, it was really the TechE@SFU program and eCoop that inspired my interest and love of entrepreneurship.” Chiang continued, “the programs helped to open my eyes to what social entrepreneurship is really about.”
After winning the Social Impact award at SFU’s Coast Capital Venture Prize competition earlier this year, the team went on to win $100K at Spring Activator’s 2021 National Impact Investor Challenge, followed this fall by placing third at the province’s largest tech competition, New Ventures BC. The founders have also been individually recognized, Chiang as 2020 Next Canada alumnus, Soares as SBoT 25 under 25, Sidhu as 2021 RoB Globe and Mail Changemaker, Rattan as Corporate Knights 30 Under 30, Clean50 2022 Emerging Leader and as part of the inaugural MaRS Women in Cleantech Accelerator.
When asked about the SFU’s impact on his success, Chiang responded that “the most amazing thing about the entrepreneurship community at SFU is the people. Everyone is willing to help out - no matter what stage your venture is in. Everyone is accessible, friendly and I believe we have one of the best entrepreneurship ecosystems in Canada.”
In 2020, SFU launched a five-year sustainability plan, which acknowledges the climate crisis and sets 16 climate action targets for 2025. The university is ahead of schedule on achieving many of these targets and actions, including divesting $340M of fossil fuel investments. Success in reaching targets ahead of schedule prompts the need to deepen the university’s sustainability and climate action commitments.
Shannon Bard, as mentor to the team through the Venture Connection incubator and as Climate Solutions lead for the Chang Institute, says, “Moment Energy is providing the types of climate solutions that Canada needs to address the climate emergency and contribute to the path of a net zero carbon emission future.”
From formation in 2020 and production in a Surrey-based home garage, Moment has now tripled the size of its team and recently established both an office and manufacturing facility in Port Coquitlam.
The seed round investment will enable Moment Energy to continue serving the off-grid market, and further commercialize its energy storage solution to expand into on-grid commercial and industrial applications. The company is actively recruiting new candidates to join the team and work together on a mission to provide worldwide access to clean, reliable and affordable energy.
Sumreen Rattan, Moment’s Chief Operating Officer, is excited to “see how the engineering team will expand - from design, conception to deployment - in support of Moment’s long term goal to have all EV vehicles set for repurposing for 2030”.
With this financing goal achieved, Moment Energy will graduate from Venture Connection’s incubator program but in keeping with the Chang Institute’s commitment to founder development and entrepreneurial growth, these four SFU alumni will continue to receive individualized services and support through a pilot Founders Circle program.
The Charles Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship is the academic and interdisciplinary hub for entrepreneurship and innovation at SFU. They focus on creating Canada’s most comprehensive and inclusive continuum of interdisciplinary, experiential programming to develop the entrepreneurial mindset, working closely with all SFU faculties and innovation partners in one of Canada’s most supportive university ecosystems.
Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection incubator has been providing support for university ventures since 2008, from initial idea to business validation. This Chang Institute flagship program has supported more than 15,000 individuals from the SFU community, ranging from students, staff, faculty and recent alumni, and has provided startup services to more than 250 early ventures.