The Startupbootcamp Alumni Spotlight is a series of interviews profiling innovative and inspiring stories from our extended network in Amsterdam. Today our Alumni spotlight is focused on our Smart City & Living Alumnus – Tespack.
Tespack is specialized in providing a complete mobile energy experience by combining the latest technology (ultra-fast charging), solar energy and IoT with premium design. Their SmartWear solves the biggest problems of any mobile device: battery life and connectivity. With their latest ultra-fast charging technology you can charge 5000mAh battery in full in 12 minutes rather than in hours.
Their customers include Vodafone, Intersport, the UN and Defence Forces, while they work with companies like TomTom, GE and Austrian Space Forum with whom they are developing first Solar Smartpack for a Mars mission. They have signed a major deal with Defence Forces in EU and closed their first investment of €200K last year.
Q: Tell us your founding story, how did you get started?
A: The idea behind Tespack came from our founder/CEO Mario Aguilera who saw the need for mobile energy solutions and creating your own energy on-the-go by combining solar and latest tech. He had first-hand experience with the problem of having no access to electricity while on deployment with the Special Forces. After working as the co-director for a renewable energy company and having the background experience in the clothing/fashion industry, he founded Tespack in 2013 in Helsinki, Finland and created the first Smart Wear products known as Solar Smartpacks.
It happened in a country where there is almost no sun for most of the year, but Tespack solar panels work even in the cloudy weather. Shortly after Tespack was established, COO and co-founder Caritta Seppa joined the company, and a year later Chief Sales Officer Sami Pfaler and Bussiness Dev Officer Yesika A. Robles came on board as fellow co-founders. Since then, Tespack has been growing internationally. Today, the company has five co-founders including the CTO Matti Naskali, Nokia’s ex-head engineer of Japan, and a multi-talented team of 10 people with offices in Helsinki, Valencia, and Amsterdam.
Q: What is the problem you’re trying to solve?
A: Tespack is solving the biggest problem of any mobile device and wearables: battery life and connectivity. On average, around 50% of people will run out of battery once a day. And when it comes to the outdoors and rescue forces or military actions, access to electricity becomes an even bigger problem, especially generating energy in rural areas while being mobile.
‘Our mission is to keep everyone charged whether they have our hardware or not. Our goal is to make everyone Energy Independent.’
Q: How did you come across Startupbootcamp in the first place? What was your experience with the program?
A: We became familiar with Startupbootcamp through our first meeting with Marc Wesselink in early 2015 through Smart City & Living Fast Track open days in Helsinki. We got selected for the program in Amsterdam. Being part of the accelerator program was definitely a great experience for us as we learned a lot of new skills in regards to entrepreneurship and running a startup. One of the best highlights of the program was being able to meet with all the other fellow startups, mentors, partners and sign a deal with Vodafone.
Q: What have you been working on since Startupbootcamp?
A: We have signed a major deal with Defence Forces in the EU. They have already made their first orders with us. We have developed a completely new, innovative ultra-fast charging technology (3 times faster than Qualcomm) and we now have more than 5 IPRs. We have developed an innovative energy platform and the first Solar Smart Helmet for action sports (the first in the market). We have expanded sales further to Europe and Asia and we have partnered up with GE, TomTom and Austrian Space Forum, with whom we are developing the first solar smartpack for a mission to Mars.
We closed our first investment round of €200K and we have received governmental grants and support from the Finnish government and Innovation & Technology Center. We just recently won Startup Turkey 2017 as the best tech startup in Eurasia (from over 6500 other startups) and we have also been awarded in 2016 as the Top 50 Energy company in Europe by Hello Tomorrow, Top Energy Startup by New Energy and Top Energy Startup in EU by the European Commission.
Q: What is the most important lesson you have learned since founding your company that other people in our network could benefit from?
A: Having a strong, committed team that supports you and is as passionate about what you are building, is one of the most important parts of any startup. Always listen to yourself as you will know better than anyone else what your company needs and should be doing. You should also have a strong network of mentors and advisors to listen to. We are happy to have Neal Dempsey from Bay Partners (Top Forbes Midas List billionaire) and co-founder of TomTom Peter Pauwels to support and mentor us.
Q: What’s next for you in 2017?
A: We will be raising our next investment round of €2M during Q2 2017. During Q2 we will launch our Smart Solar Helmet Atrotus and start presales at end of March, while expanding our sales and operations to the US and Asia through a network of rescue forces and the military.
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