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Blockchain + EV Charging
How two thoughtful founders are pioneering our electric car future
Seeking Out Xeal
We’ve all heard the quote,
You’re the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with.
I feel strongly that this quote is true.
This is why I’ve always wanted to surround myself around entrepreneurial and creative people who are doing cool things because that’s who I want to be.
When I moved to LA in October 2020, I started to get integrated into a Penn State group because that’s where my girlfriend went to college.
As I started to meet people in the group, they all mentioned this guy named Zander who had an Electric Vehicle (EV) charging startup called Xeal.
While I thought Xeal sounded extremely cool, I was skeptical about how legit it was. Not because of anything I heard about the company, but just how hard I knew startups to be.
Only a few elite one’s actually make it.
I remember looking through the Xeal website before I met Zander and saw that Ramez Naam was an investor.
I saw Ramez speak at a conference about how sustainable energy technology was on an exponential curve and would soon be mainstream. He proclaimed just like Moore’s law which stated that computer chips got twice as effective every year, and half as expensive, we were seeing the early days of a similar acceleration in solar panels, wind turbines, and other renewable energies.
I was extremely inspired by his ideas and looked up to him as a thought leader in the future of clean energy.
So when I saw his name on Xeal’s website, it immediately piqued my interest.
Getting to Know Zander, the CEO of Xeal
One of the first things I said to Zander when we started talking about Xeal was that I thought it was cool that Ramez was involved with his company.
Little did I know at the time, but Zander would later follow up with Ramez which led to Ramez’s SPV syndicate leading their seed round.
A few weeks later, Zander did let me know that after we spoke, it led to him contacting Ramez. He was thankful I mentioned his name to him. While it was simply my curiosity to learn more about Zander and his business, I was glad it led to something positive for Xeal.
Then Zander started to let me know about his favorite book, The Alchemist. He started talking about this concept of the universe conspiring to help you when you go after your personal legend.
Zander sort of eluded to the idea that I was the universe and helped him.
While, Zander did everything and I take no credit, his way of thinking intrigued me more than anything else.
I started to read Zander’s blog and realized how philosophical he was. Years ago, I started the Enlightenment Club in college which catalyzed my love for philosophy.
One thesis I have is that entrepreneurs who are deeply philosophical perform better.
Zander spent time as a monk in East Asia, writes thoughtful pieces on his blog, and holds 1-hour weekly discussions at Xeal to simply talk about ideas. This level of thoughtfulness from the early days of building Xeal resonated with me.
Getting to Know Nikhil, the CTO of Xeal
I started to get to know the Xeal team during their weekly happy hours that they host at their Venice office for the community.
This is when I got the opportunity to get to know Nikhil, the co-founder of Xeal and the technologist behind the company.
Nikhil has an incredible story. He is originally from Bangalore, India and his first time in the U.S. was when he attended Penn State. Nikhil met Zander in an entrepreneurship class and they immediately hit it off.
Nikhil had a great job out of school that would have ensured his visa situation in the U.S., but was so inspired by building Xeal with Zander that he quit his stable job to change the world.
One of the coolest things about Nikhil, is that he was granted an O-1 Visa, which is designated for extraordinary people doing extraordinary things. You can read more about Nikhil receiving this amazing visa from Zander’s post.
Nikhil is also deeply philosophical and we bonded over our mutual love for Nietzsche. We both agreed that Nietzsche is relevant to startups, and I guess we weren’t alone in feeling that way… the famous VC, Brad Feld, recently published a book on this exact topic.
Xeal is Not Your Typical EV Charging Company
While EV chargers exist, we are still in the early days. Biden wants 500,000 more EV charging stations and also for 50% of new car sales in the U.S. to be electric by 2030. EV adoption is outpacing charger deployment in some cities and over the next decade, we are going to see the U.S. auto industry completely transition to electric.
The true EV charging winners have yet to be determined in the long run. I’s like the early days of the internet with all different search engines. I think Xeal has several unique advantages that make it poised to be the future of EV charging.
So what exactly makes Xeal unique compared to other chargers?
Xeal is working with some of the largest real-estate companies in the world to install charges in their buildings. Often, these charging stations are below ground where there is no internet.
Xeal chargers work without needing internet by exchanging information directly between the charger and the smartphone. This means when the smartphone goes back on the internet, the transaction that happened below ground gets updated in the Xeal system. This technology is called a distributed ledger and is generally considered more reliable and secure.
Large real estate companies also want to work with Xeal because their approach is cheaper without needing to install Wi-Fi routers underground which can costs tens of thousands of dollars.
Xeal chargers are also smart. What this means is that Xeal chargers know when there is a lot of energy being used by the building and can slow down the charging to save the building money on energy expenses. In the future, the consumer may be able to determine how fast they want their vehicle to charge depending on their plans, and in some cases, earn money back by taking longer to charge while also being better for the environment.
Xeal is Just Starting to Charge Up
Xeal recently announced their $11M Series A round which I am proud to have invested a small amount in.
I am excited to see the all opportunities that Xeal will be able to unlock with their wireless approach, real-estate partnerships and cutting edge EV charging network they are building.
Xeal is on track to install 2,000 charging stations by the end of the year and 10,000 in 2022.
They have achieved all of this with only four full time employees but with this new round of funding, Zander and Nikhil are gearing up to build a world class team of people who “get shit done”.
Zander and Nikhil are only 25 years old and I think people are still grossly underestimating them.
How many 25 year old’s can accomplish what they have done? These guys are special and they are just getting started.
Xeal will look very, very different a year from now and I look forward to watching their story unfold.