Electric cars are surging forward with no end in sight. In 2010, there were 17,000 electric cars on the road. By the end of the decade, there were over 7.2M. This increase has been largely attributable to improvements in affordability and accessibility. Culver City-based Envoy is bringing electric cars to residential buildings, offices, hotels with its electric vehicle sharing service. Largely focused on the residential housing market, the company partners with building owners to offer access to its fleet of electric cars as a basic building amenity like a pool or clubhouse.
LA TechWatch caught up with Cofounder and CEO Aric Ohana to learn more about Envoy’s focus on make mobility an amenity, the company’s future plans, and recent round of funding, which brings the total equity funding raised to $12.5M since the company’s founding in 2016. Envoy has also raised an additional $70M in debt.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
$11 million Series A round and a strategic vehicle financing facility to assist Envoy to scale to thousands of vehicles. The Series A was co-led by Shell Ventures and Building Ventures and included other notable investors; DENSO, Goodyear Ventures, GroundBreak Ventures, and the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator Impact Fund.
Envoy is a provider of turnkey electric vehicle-sharing services, offers on-site, on-demand vehicles where people live, work and stay (i.e. apartments, condos, student housing, office campuses, co-working spaces, hotels). Envoy equips real estate owners and operators with a new and innovative way to enhance the lifestyle of their tenants, members and guests by providing Mobility as an Amenity™
What inspired the start of Envoy?
My cofounder Ori Sagie and I were working on a student housing development project and were thinking about all the amenities they would want to provide to attract and retain residents. We wanted to find something that would add real value to the resident lifestyle, something the residents would actually need and want to use. Every other developer is adding amenities like pools, gyms, movie theatres, game rooms, etc. But it dawned on us, one thing they don’t provide is convenient, affordable transportation. That’s when the idea of Envoy, Mobility as an Amenity™ was born.
How is it different?
We’re a community-based mobility platform that is able to provide electric cars, e-bikes, and e-scooters sharing as an exclusive amenity. By partnering with the commercial real estate industry, we’re able to avoid the many pitfalls of open-to-the-public models.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
We are mainly focused on market-rate and luxury multifamily commercial real estate properties with 100+ units in major metropolitan markets first, however, there has been significant demand for tertiary markets as well – especially student housing developments.
Who are your major competitors?
No one is really doing what we’re doing. We’re first to market to offer Mobility as an Amenity™
What was the funding process like?
Fun! Especially during COVID. 😉
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
An international pandemic.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Uniqueness and product fit with a focus on positive unit economics. We’ve seen success in providing an amenity that benefits both the real estate industry AND their residents/tenants. Even post initial lockdown, our usage and revenue have outpaced pre-COVID numbers, and our CRE clients are leveraging our amenity to lease-up and retain residents, which is a big challenge currently, especially in some densely populated urban cities.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Increasing our fleet by 2x.
What advice can you offer companies in Los Angeles that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Get scrappy, stay positive, and keep grinding.
Where is the best place in LA to watch the sunset?