Our founder and CEO, Nick Grewal, caught the eye of the Grit Daily podcast, which interviews “founders of some of the best-known startups, marketers, and venture capitalists.” The podcast aims to share reliable information about brands and entrepreneurial tips with its listeners, while discovering how investors and thought leaders became successful.
The host was curious to learn about Nick’s background, but she was also curious to learn about ePropelled products and what makes them so innovative. This was especially true of our EV motors. Nick pointed out how easy it is, while discussing electric options of transportation, to forget that the energy that feeds EV batteries needs to be cleaner.
Most countries still burn coal or gas to create electricity, the grids are dirty and, although manufacturers and end users want EV batteries to be efficient, most people don’t concentrate on how the electricity itself is used in the motors.
That’s why ePropelled focuses on making the motors much more efficient (at least 15% more efficient, in fact). This way, they use less energy, extending the life of the batteries and needing less electricity from the grid.
The host touched on ePropelled UAV products and encouraged Nick to talk about our recent customers, Aerotor. While considering our drone products, Nick said: “I’m not sure if anyone else is doing what we’re doing. Turning a motor into a generator and a generator into a motor on the fly.”
He elaborated by explaining that ePropelled focuses on two main areas for drones: propulsion and motor controllers. But we also address the power needs. Normally, there are two ways to propel a drone: batteries or a gas engine. Batteries are heavy and for a large drone this means 40 minutes of flight time. A small gas engine is needed to go beyond 40 minutes.
What ePropelled offers is a hybrid-ready mode, which means that a starer generator is used to start the engine and generate energy. When the machine needs maximum power (for takeoff or the initial climb, for example), our technology can assist the gas engine, significantly extending the drone’s flight time.
When asked about his company, Nick stressed that ePropelled is a technology company. As such, we build our technology, get patents, and make sure our inventions are protected. In the past three years, we have filed 35 patents. For such a small company, this is a huge deal. But what really differentiates us from the competition is that fact that we are not a manufacturing company.
Contract manufacturing (CM) is our focus and find good manufacturers to build our products for the customer. But there is also no reason not to let our customers manufacture our products themselves, speeding up the process and potentially making it cheaper for them.
When asked about his failures, Nick said that “every company in the world has problems. Their size doesn’t matter. What I want is mistakes.” He explained that not making mistakes is synonymous with working for a huge company that rewards stagnation and lack of imagination. We encourage mistakes and learning from them quickly. “You learn much more by losing than winning,” he said.
When talking about success in business, Nick pointed out that you always have to be aware of your surroundings. Your success is dependent on the rest of the world, not necessarily on what you do inside the company. You have to be aware of your environment. That’s why Nick enjoys traveling and learning about his customers and their needs in person. But he also finds it important to learn about and respect our competitors because they might come up with things we wouldn’t think of.
His other piece of advice pertained to black swan events. In technology, these used to happen every 100-200 years. Now they happen every 20. Such events can wipe out entire companies, no matter what they do or how big they are. Especially if the owners/founders make themselves indispensable. Nick believes that you have to build your company in a way that makes you irrelevant to its survival.
The interview covered a lot more ground, despite being only half an hour long. If you want to learn more, you can listen to the whole podcast here.