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Scoop: OpConnect pursuing $8M for EV charging

Illustration of an electric vehicle plugged in, the charging wire has dollar bill signs running inside of it towards the car.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Electric vehicle charging service OpConnect raised $3 million in the first close of a planned $8 million Series A, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The startup is beefing up to meet breakneck demand from companies and local governments electrifying their vehicle fleets.

Details: OpConnect's first close last month was led by The 22 Fund, an LA-based investor that backs women- and minority-owned businesses in climate tech manufacturing and exporting.

  • "Even after this raise, we will be a majority minority-owned business," OpConnect CEO Dexter Turner tells Axios.

How it works: OpConnect is one of the early EV charging startups, having gotten its start in 2016 in Portland, Ore.

  • It sells, installs and services chargers, and offers a software subscription for managing them.

Zoom in: The company has built a roster of about 400 customers — mostly apartment buildings along the U.S. West Coast and in the Northeast.

  • As it's added to its sales teams, it's expanded to the Midwest and seen new demand for fleet charging from companies and local governments.

What they're saying: "One of the reasons I focused on multifamily properties — I'm a personal believer that, historically, low-income communities in this country, and especially communities of color, end up getting left behind anytime technology gets rolled out," Turner says.

  • "It's a bit of a personal mission to try and make sure that doesn't happen."

Of note: Turner sold his previous business, a flight instruments developer called OpTechnologies, to aviation giant Aerosonic in 2007.

What's next: OpConnect is arranging debt and project finance agreements to fund a leasing option for its EV chargers.

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