San Francisco-based startup TeraWatt topped the funding list last week with a massive $1 billion raise, making it one of the largest venture rounds in the Bay Area this year. TeraWatt Infrastructure, which emerged from stealth in May 2021, has built a network of charging stations to operate light- to heavy-duty fleets.
The funding came from Vision Ridge Partners and previous investors Keyframe Capital and Cyrus Capital, which invested $100 million in the company last year. The funding elevates Terawatt into “unicorn” status among fellow cleantech startups, with more than $1 billion raised to date.
The startup is developing charging infrastructure for industrial electric vehicle fleets, and the funding round comes nearly one month after President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law. This law provided unprecedented funding for climate change mitigation efforts, including $369 billion for renewable energy subsidies, investments, and tax breaks.
The company acquires property in “strategically relevant” locations and assists customers in operating EV fleets without owning and operating their infrastructure. The new funds will be used for additional development and expansion, such as constructing a growing portfolio of charging stations.
The company plans to double its workforce by next year, more than
Benjamin Birnbaum, John Rapaport, and Ethan Goldsmith founded TeraWatt in 2018. The company finances, develops, owns, and operates electric vehicle charging assets to make the transition to vehicle electrification permanent.
The company currently employs 25 people, which CEO Neha Palmer hopes to double in the next year, and it owns charging stations in 18 states.
“If you think about what it takes to build a large-scale, high-power EV charging center, it’s in the tens of millions of dollars,” Terawatt CEO Neha Palmer said in an interview. For a company that wants to build a network of these charging centers across the country, billions of dollars will be needed to “meet our mission to build the backbone of electric transport in the U.S.”
“TeraWatt’s advantage is not only our property portfolio – targeted specifically to locations suitable for EV charging, which we have been growing over four years– but also our deep customer relationships and team with extensive experience in real estate, site development, energy and operations. These attributes, coupled with the access to the very significant capital we’ve now received from like-minded investors, gives us a unique advantage in providing a comprehensive solution for EV fleets,” Palmer added.
The startup is developing a full stack solution to manage a network of charging hubs while providing solar energy and storage and considering fluctuating electrical grid demands. According to Crunchbase data, the industry is on track to raise less than it did in 2021 when total funding surpassed $20 billion, led by Rivian, which raised more than $5 billion in two rounds.