Welcome to the first edition of eSpotlight, a series of guest blog posts written by companies in the California Mobility Center (CMC) ecosystem! Now that we’ve announced our operational launch (yay!) and have opened our doors (virtually or socially distanced, of course), we wanted to give our Partners, Members, Clients and Preferred Service Providers a chance to tell the story about our work together and what they bring to the future mobility table. We hope you enjoy this guest post by Mike Terzo, Founder & CEO of Terzo Power Systems. Mike also sits on our Board of Directors as a Founding Partner!
Terzo Power Systems is dedicated to the development, commercialization, and manufacture of high performance, compact, and ultra-efficient hydraulic systems and off-road, heavy-duty hybrid system technology. The Terzo Power system approach is to tackle the challenges within the fluid power industry and offer clean-sheet rethinking and technology-based solutions. The state-of-the-art hydraulic, testing and validation facility is headquartered in Northern California. Terzo has been a part of the CMC since the early days, and we couldn’t be happier to have them as part of the team!
The California Mobility Center: A New Kind of Collaborative Ecosystem Helping Early-Stage Innovation Succeed
By Mike Terzo, Founder and CEO, Terzo Power Systems
Simply put, I wish the California Mobility Center (or the CMC as we refer to it) was in existence when I was starting Terzo Power Systems (Terzo) back in 2014. With the CMC’s main mission being to help clean tech mobility-related products reach commercialization as quickly as possible, I was immediately attracted to serving as a board member from the outset.
Recognizing the need for this type of “commercialization collaborative” has come from my own experience with growing Terzo from the ground up over the last seven years. The path to commercial viability and finding deployment partners for our products would have been much quicker and, no doubt, less stress inducing if an entity like the CMC existed when I started out.
In addition, the CMC aligns companies with workforce development organizations and higher education institutions to provide a pipeline of skilled workers, connects them with a select group of professional service providers to help with commercialization goals and to regulators who are setting the industry standards and grant opportunities. Not forgetting that the CMC also brings potential investors to the table to provide them with early insight into the product development early-stage mobility companies are undertaking. It is essentially a one-stop shop for all the essential components needed to commercialize your products and services for mass adoption.
To have a non-profit that can perform a concierge role for early-stage innovation companies to connect CMC certified industry-leading service providers for your commercialization goals is invaluable. Whether you need a service provider to help with prototyping or iteration of design, better understanding of the regulatory landscape, financial and technical readiness reviews, or creating bespoke training for assembly or maintenance of your product, the CMC has assembled a group of world class consultants to help with whatever your current pain points may be.
When access to this service provider ecosystem is augmented with the membership model that the CMC has put in place, you have a very compelling programmatic approach with market driven solutions. The CMC has the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) as one of its Founding Members and has already demonstrated how it can connect a utility with an early stage company to provide a compelling clean mobility solution for a fleet requirement. As the CMC grows its membership base to include other utilities, OEMs, tier 1 suppliers, cities, counties, and industry associations, this type of matchmaking will grow exponentially, allowing early-stage companies to benefit from end user insight earlier in the innovation cycle than would traditionally have happened.
The benefit of having the CMC as the nexus point for these types of relationship building conversations between a company and end user, means it drastically increases the potential for demonstration or deployment opportunities. For new and early-stage companies, these sorts of transactional opportunities can make the difference between success and failure. Ultimately, getting good, commercially viable clean technology to market more quickly is a win-win for everybody. It allows companies and investors to make money and enables regulators to meet their carbon emission reduction goals.
The benefit of having the CMC based in Sacramento, California is that this is the epicenter of where regulation for climate change mitigation and clean energy happens in the U.S. In addition, the 40 million people of the state provide a rich marketplace of ‘early adopters’ that are already largely pre-disposed to clean technology solutions. As a result, California is a great entry point to a global market for any new clean mobility products.
The clean tech space in 2021 is gathering significant momentum at state, national and international levels. It is becoming abundantly clear that a collective push from industry and regulators towards a clean mobility revolution is reaching fever pitch. With this as a backdrop, 2021 is the perfect year for a project like the CMC to launch.
My appointment as a CMC Board Member has enabled me to provide the voice of the early-stage company by sharing our experiences of our commercialization journey and how they may have been improved with an entity like CMC. Terzo is now long past the “valley of death” phase and I am looking forward to sharing what I have learned on my journey with future CMC Clients and Members to help others reach their destination with greater speed and efficiency, and of course, (marginally) less stress!