Jakson Alvarez and Bill Beverley met while working at a battery company in Southern California. They quickly found a common cause and passion to reduce carbon emissions by converting existing combustion engine vehicles to 100% electric.
The result was Evolectric – a company specializing in electrified transportation and battery technologies dedicated to transforming new and existing vehicle power trains to run on electricity.
The dream became a reality with the involvement of Sunstone Management and the Long Beach Accelerator. Evolectric was part of the first cohort of companies to go through the four-month Accelerator process.
“Wade (Dr. Wade Martin, director of the CSULB Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship) was an advocate for us from the beginning,” Alvarez said. “He got us to apply for the first cohort of the Long Beach Accelerator. It helped us, and we helped it, acting as sort of guinea pigs for the process.”
Sunstone invested directly into Evolectric and the accelerator. Alvarez and Beverley had formed their company shortly before the 2020 coronavirus pandemic was declared, and the accelerator experience in early 2021 helped focus their business plan.
“It helped us expand our networks, both for partners and for customers,” Alvarez shared. “At the same time, it helped us refine our focus and how we were going to get there.”
Evolectric began focusing on how to retrofit vehicle fleets quickly and efficiently to battery-electric power trains. They also worked on co-developing software and technology with other companies.
Beverley brought his years of experience in power distribution and electrification, while Alvarez concentrated on the finance and business planning end of the operation. Alvarez said the culmination of the accelerator program — a pitch competition requiring a five-minute presentation — really helped prepare him for future investment asks with partners and customers.
“The pitch really helped us nail down our story, clarify our story,” Alvarez said. “It was very short, a short time to get our message across. They put us in front of dozens of investors, and we have connected to many more since. Customers and partners too.
“It was very important to us being able to get accepted to the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) too,” Alvarez added. “It is the leading place to be for clean tech. Without LBA, we wouldn’t have been ready.”
Alvarez comes from Bogotá, Colombia, where air pollution is a large concern. He shared that Evolectric is dedicated to improving on this issue by providing affordable EV solutions for California and major cities of Latin America.
“We’re working with California State University-Long Beach to help prepare the future workforce, and we have started a scholarship there. It’s now in its second year and is very successful.”
Sunstone Management remains involved with Evolectric as an investor and partner. It is a company helping to shape the future.