By Pamela Largue
Elektrik, the “Amazon-style” startup that operates as a store-front for high voltage electrical supplies, has raised a $1 million seed round from accelerator, Album VC.
The startup based in Orem, Utah, connected with Lehi-based Album after completing the TechStars accelerator programme in Fall 2020.
Co-Founder and former technical sales rep Mario Dealba began working on Elektrik almost two years ago. Dealba and co-founder Josh Burns launched full time into the startup with their entry into Techstars.
“The founding team has an energy that is palpable and contagious,” said John Mayfield, Partner at Album VC. “Mario is a relentless founder that will not stop until Elektrik builds out an easy to use marketplace for purchasing industrial electrical parts. His co-founder Josh is the perfect complement to Mario’s raw energy. Josh is the methodical builder who can flat out crank and build.”
Album took nearly the whole Seed round, along with an investment from Utah angel Scott Paul, who introduced Dealba to Album. Dealba explained, “I just felt like, with [Album] on my side of the court, I couldn’t lose.”
More on Start-ups for utilities
National Grid Partners has fresh influx of cash to invest in energy technology startups
Iberdrola launches electric vehicle start-up challenge
DISTRIBUTECH’s dynamic Initiate! 2019 start-ups: Where are they now?
As a sales representative in the electrical equipment industry, Dealba was frustrated by a slow and antiquated sales cycle. “It’s an industry that is stuck in the last century,” said Dealba. The industry standard cycle for electrical equipment sales takes weeks, from bid to purchase order. Describing the slow process, Dealba often found himself stuck in a dilemma, “call[ing] my three sales reps (literally calling them). Then, they’ll email me a quote a week later. Then I’ll decide on what I’m going to buy, and I’ll place an order in two weeks.”
That frustration drove Dealba to explore whether high-voltage supplies could be sold via e-commerce. “If I build a big enough database that correlates accessories to cables,” he explained, “I’ll never have to do my job again. I can automate it.”
On their site, Elektrik provides buyers the option of medium to high voltage supplies, ranging from 5kv to 35kv. The buyer can create a list and make any specifications to the parts needed. Elektrik then lists all the brands producing the specific parts available in the market.
Much of Elektrik’s momentum is due to their completion of the TechStars programme. Techstars launched in 2006 in Boulder Colorado, and has expanded to over thirty-five cities in sixteen countries. Dealba applied for the Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator in Birmingham. This programme focused on startups addressing innovative electrical energy solutions, and partnered with Southern Company, a top 10 power utility company in the US.
When Dealba applied, Techstars only took 10 out of 1000 applicants. Elektrik came at number eleven as a first alternate, and was not expected to complete that year’s program. Twenty days before the program started however, Dealba received a call offering Elektrik a spot. They accepted, and both founders and their families moved to Birmingham.
At the completion of Techstars, Elektrik signed an agreement with Southwire, the largest cable manufacturer in North America. Elektrik intends to become the leading supplier for both IEEE and IEC electrical equipment in both the US and globally.
“The electrical wholesale distribution market in the United States is around $200 billion a year,” said Dealba. “If you think of light bulbs and switches and plugs, that’s nothing compared to the market size of high-voltage wire connectors and transformers. We’re addressing the larger part of the market that nobody ever hears about.”