Following our member Voltric’s recent seed fundraiser launch and significant pre-seed investment round, we had a chat with Chief Executive, Julian Mensah, to hear his story…
Voltric key facts
- Start date: January 2020
- Market sector: Mobility
- Location: Newport
- Number of employees: 5
- Company growth status: Seed stage
In your own words tell us what Voltric does?
Voltric provides electric vehicles (EVs) on a subscription basis. Users pay one price to access a road-ready EV of their choice and can either pay on a monthly rolling basis or for 12 months fixed. We’re not just focussed on providing cars, we aim to improve all elements of the end user’s mobility journey.
Our mission is how we can use technology to provide a better all-round driving experience for the customer, from a smoother parking experience to data insights on driving and making the charging experience easier and more accessible. Subscriptions include the car, charging, insurance, breakdown and maintenance, all managed by us for the user’s piece of mind.
How did you start this journey?
I initially wrote about the transition to EVs as part of my MSC Marketing back in 2016. At the time there were only a handful of practical vehicles so I was looking at the options for how we could support that transition. I also tried to help my aunty get an EV and there were just too many elements to negotiate. All she needed was a car to get to work. We visited maybe five or six dealers and considered many different options, and she ended up with a car she didn’t want anyway. I started to think about what we could do in that space to make it easier and faster for people to transition to an EV.
After finishing my masters, I worked for a number of companies in Product Management. After being made redundant I needed to find the next step. I was approached by one of my lecturers about joining UWE’s Launch Space to take my idea forward and that’s where the whole journey began. I learned the startup process from the ground up.
How has SETsquared Bristol support and the Breakthrough Bursary helped?
We joined in early 2022 as part of the Breakthrough Bursary. It’s been really helpful working with the Entrepreneurs in Residence and going through the Business Review Panel process. As a startup every day is so busy and hectic, it’s valuable to have the structure of the incubation programme, to be held accountable with people checking in on you regularly, as well as to access the events and training and to meet people from the ecosystem.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds looking to start a business?
Do plenty of prep and understand the various mechanisms that are required to get started before investing too much in it. Have a clear plan for the business and what you intend to do. If you can’t sell it to yourself, how will other people buy into it? You don’t have to be perfect at it, but know where your knowledge and skills gaps are, and tap into your local business support networks for advice and support.
It’s been important for me to engage with other Black founders, as we do go on a similar journey. There are founders within the Black startup ecosystem that have raised tens of millions, have been successful, have failed, have started again, so there’s a lot to learn from one another. Speak to as many people as you can to gain as much knowledge as possible.
What funding/investment have you raised?
We completed our pre-seed investment last year so are now going for a larger £3m seed round. We’re looking for angel investors, VCs and family offices and will use the money to grow our team and develop the product. We are building a new platform and mobile application where customers will be able to sign up and manage their subscription and integrate with other services that we’re bringing to market; everything from EV charging to parking, data insights to smarter navigation.
What’s next for Voltric?
We’re in the early stages of product development, with work on system architecture currently going ahead. Our new platform website will be going live shortly.
We have three key objectives for this year, raising investment is one, the other is to grow the number of cars we have on the road with at least 500 active by the end of 2023. We also plan to launch the initial mobile application in Autumn 2023, with the updated version to follow in early 2024.