This week, Better Place cut a $1bn dollar deal to bring electric car charging stations to the San Francisco area. Better Place is without question, the most ambitious startup to ever come out of Israel and perhaps the company that has the best chance of restructuring the automobile industry in the next 5 years.
Better Place will replace fossil fuel burning cars with electricity consuming cars using a series of battery swapping stations around a given metropolitan area. Nissan is the first company to build the cars. Israel became the first country to commit to building the infrastructure and now Denmark and San Francisco are joining them.
Remember when everybody (Jobs/Bezos etc) hyped the Segue has an urban lifestyle changing device? Well I’m hyping Better Place. To be sure, creating electricity can create CO2 emissions when we use coal, but there are many sustainable and renewable ways to create electricity. Denmark, for example, gets 20% of their electricity from wind.
There will be much more to say about Better Place going forward. I am following the company closely. But I wanted to introduce you for two reasons:
First, the wheels are really coming off the economy. Everybody is terrified. Shai Agassi gave us hope this week announcing that he will raise $1bn (in equity!) to change the Bay Area and help us out of global energy and environmental crises. Second, to me Better Place symbolizes the rise of Israel as a first world economic power. I don’t care how small the population is. I don’t care about the geographic location. The cooperation between universities, the military and the government coupled with a relentless entrepreneurial spirit among Israelis makes it the most undervalued population in the world.
Better Place is headquartered in Silicon Valley, but make no mistake, it’s an Israeli multinational company.