Success stories behind tech's top founders: Electric Miles

Harry Gooding, Director, Hays Enterprise Technology Practice - UK and Ireland

Last year we launched a technology series in which we explore the career stories behind some of the world’s most exciting tech founders. Each month, I chat with a different entrepeneur to find out how they got to where they are today, arrived at their business concept, and secured investment to build their business.
 
Making life better for electric vehicle drivers and saving energy in the process
In the latest event on Tuesday 11th January, I was joined by Arun Anand, Founder and CEO of Electric Miles.
 
As an early user of a commercial electric vehicle, Arun saw the growing pains that drivers faced and wanted to find a way to solve the problems that drivers faced. He set about founding Electric Miles, which has gone on to win the Super Connect for Good competition in 2021.
 
Arun gave me some excellent insight into life as a founder, the challenges he faces, and what other aspiring entrepeneurs can expect to experience. Watch our conversation in full below:
 
 
 
Alternatively, if you’re interested in a particular element of the discussion, you can skip to find the answers to the following questions by using these timestamps:
 
Why don't we start with a little bit of an introduction? 06:40
Arun, who's worked in the energy sector throughout his career, explains the possible crisis that electric vehicle drivers could face. Smart tech can be used to solve this, which is where Electric Miles comes in.
 
You’ve got a background in the energy sector. How much did that experience help you come up with the idea for Electric Miles? 09:02
The idea is not everything, says Arun; it's the execution too. Arun explained how his passion, rather than his experience, has been important in motivating him, and how he believes it’s important for all founders.
 
Is part of your mission to educate people around misconceptions with charging electric vehicles? 13:05
Arun agrees that EV adoption is often misunderstood. People care about their cars and have concerns over price and anxiety over range. However, not all of these fears are still relevant. Did you know that there are more electric charging stations in the UK than there are petrol pumps?!
 
Do you feel that you’re right at the beginning of a major shift, and do you think you’re in a good position? 16:41
Electric Miles are now one of the top five players in the UK charging market, but the competition means that the pressure is on to stay well. Arun tells me that it’s important to obsess over what the pain points are for your target market and finding solutions – while making sure you stay flexible.
 
How different is it working in a small startup versus a big enterprise? What have you noticed? 20:45

At larger enterprises, it’s harder to know your customer base as there are simply so many people that you’re trying to please. In contrast, working at a startup makes it easier to know your customer, something which Arun feels more big businesses would do well to return to. He also explains his attitude to failing and what other founders could learn here.

How have you found bringing people into your organisation to work with you? 24:44
Arun doesn't believe that it's possible to build a successful business alone, so a team is an important pillar. In his experience, having "people skills" is fundamental, but he confesses that he's still learning.
 
Have you noticed one trait or skill you have that you have benefitted from on your founder journey? Or is there something you wish you were better at? 26:57
Like many entrepeneurs, Arun has always been driven, and enjoys selling, something he believes is important for any business. Even when it comes to tech, vision and selling is always important, whether it's selling a product or an idea.
 
How have you found raising funds? 33:41
Simply put: it’s a never-ending cycle. It’s different for smaller businesses that can generate revenue a lot earlier in their life, but for companies such as Electric Miles, this doesn’t happen for a few years. Instead, Arun says, it’s important to sell your vision. With every meeting he’s had with an investor, he’s learned more and over time has been able to adopt an insight that he didn’t have before he started.
 
Do you have any advice on fundraising that you wish you’d been given a few years ago? 37:25
It’s important to tell a story. Arun is still learning how best to tell the story of Electric Miles, and references Winston Churchill in his approach to speaking to investors! He also stresses the importance of preparing for different scenarios and not jumping in too soon.
 
When you think about Electric Miles today, what’s particularly exciting for you over the next 12-24 months? 42:27
Arun offers an excellent example (using myself!) of how people typically use their cars and how this affects electric vehicles in a different way to other engines. In the future, he sees a number of ways in which drivers could use their battery charge in a new way.
 
At the moment your business is focused on the UK market. Do you think it will take a long time for other countries (e.g. India) to develop electric infrastructure? And do you see your business growing abroad? 50:55
"Which business owner doesn't want to see their business scale up?!" Electric Miles' investors are excited by the fact that the business model is scaleable. Arun goes on to discuss his thoughts on COP26 and says that the answer to solving pollution emissions doesn't lie with regular people, but public transport and taxis instead.
 
Is it there any initiative to invent a mobile charger for electric vehicles in case of emergency? Maybe another spare system like the additional fuel tank? 57:18
There's a great piece of advice here on coming up with original ideas! Arun talks through the different solutions that other business have come up with, why he likes (or doesn't like) them, and how Electric Miles is carving a position for itself as a result.
 

Author

Harry Gooding
Director, Hays National Technology - UK&I

Harry Gooding is part of Hays Technology, working across our Enterprise Technology Practice and supporting new initiatives around skills development. After beginning his career in recruitment, he then worked in VC backed start-ups and scale-ups for six years across two different portfolios before joining Hays.

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