ION Energy - World's Most Advanced Battery Management & Intelligence Platform!

Rishabh Rathi Rishabh Rathi
Mar 22, 2021 15 min read
ION Energy - World's Most Advanced Battery Management & Intelligence Platform!

With batteries contributing to 40%+ cost in modern EVs, there is anxiety around their longevity and performance (charging time, safety, etc) that require more than just local safety protection. ION Energy is an Advanced Electronics & Software supplier for EVs & ESS. It is focused on building technology that will improve the life and performance of lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles and energy storage systems.

ION Energy is accelerating Earth's transition to an all-electric planet. With a cutting-edge battery management system, advanced analytics software, and artificial intelligence-powered platform, ION is enabling electric vehicle and energy storage space providers the power of data to make faster and smarter decisions.

Read this article to know about ION Energy, funding, CEO, founders, turnover, products, business & revenue model, investors, awards, challenges, and growth.

ION Energy - Company Highlights

Startup Name ION Energy
Headquarter Mumbai, India
Sector Energy
Founders Akhil Aryan, Alexandre Collet
Founded 2016
Legal Name ION Energy Inc.

About ION Energy and How it Works
ION Energy - Target Market Size
How was ION Energy Started?
ION Energy - Product/Services
Founders of ION Energy and team
ION Energy - Name, Tagline, and Logo
ION Energy - Business Model
ION Energy - Revenue Model
ION Energy - User Acquisition
ION Energy - Startup Challenges
ION Energy - Growth
ION Energy - Funding and Investors
ION Energy - Advisors and Mentors
ION Energy - Acquisitions
ION Energy - Recognition and Achievements
ION Energy - Future Plans

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About ION Energy and How it Works

ION Energy has pioneered a disruptive battery intelligence platform - Edison Analytics, that is designed to improve performance and extend the life of Lithium-ion batteries. Edison leverages battery data, software analytics, and AI to remotely monitor, predict, and improve battery life. Battery pack manufacturers, OEMs, and electric mobility fleet operators around the world use ION’s platform to optimize their battery management systems (BMS) and build world-class batteries.

Edison Analytics Features
Edison Analytics Features

Both the Founders Akhil and Alex are ardent believers of the first principle thinking and aim to build for the future and plan to shepherd the gradual and seemingly inevitable shift from fossil fuels to electric energy, more importantly in a developing yet booming economy like India. They emphasize the importance of educating and mobilizing the masses about the new alternatives of energy to change the prospect of EV as a niche concept to a mainstream.

ION Energy - Target Market Size

Battery storage may be the biggest disruption to the energy sector: Globally, the advanced energy storage market is forecast to grow from an annual installation size of 6GW in 2017 to over 40GW by 2022. In some markets, the improved performance and decreasing costs of batteries are already seeing them displace natural gas from the energy mix.

The company's success in international markets have enabled them to sell 25,000 BMS that have been used with 100MWh of batteries last year. ION’s battery technology platform is leveraged by 60+ companies in 12 countries like India, France, Germany, Austria, Poland, North America, South Africa, UK, etc. to optimize their battery management systems (BMS) and build world-class batteries.

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How was ION Energy Started?

Despite Akhil's graduation degree in Finance, he was interested in energy and software, since he was much younger. While he was managing the growth strategy at Haptik as its CPO in 2015, Akhil became intrigued by the launch of the Tesla Model S. The interest piqued further when his father was about to sell his Skoda Superb car and he had suggested converting it into an electric model.

While doing some research, ION energy Founder Akhil realized that replacing an internal combustion engine with an electric engine would cost him more than half of the car’s cost, i.e. a car which is in the range of INR 50 lakhs would require a battery amounting to INR. 1 Crore! Given the challenge of the exorbitant battery cost (the most expensive component in an EV), Akhil recognized that there was a pressing need to make the batteries affordable and accessible so that it lasts longer, performs better, and eventually, significantly reduces the cost of the vehicle.

Identifying the gap that no other company in India was catering to this space, ION energy took birth in 2016 in Mumbai. By the next year, ION Energy acquired Freeman SAS, an almost decade-old French company building Battery Management Systems, to boost its core competency. This led to Alex Collet transitioning from his role as a Founder of Freeman SAS to ION Energy’s Co-Founder and marked the international foray of ION Energy with an office in France.

ION Energy - Product/Services

ION Energy is an advanced battery management and intelligence platform. A BMS consists of a microcontroller and a bunch of sensors on the hardware so the technology involved is interfacing with this microcontroller through all these sensors and then interfacing this BMS with the battery pack. The core functions that a BMS performs include - data acquisition, protection, storage, and communication.

Battery Management System
Battery Management System Hardware

In terms of the software used, there are various algorithms that run inside the microcontroller which is used to compute certain parameters of the battery such as the state of charge, state of health, range, etc.

The BMS that’s present in the battery pack has substantial information stored inside it and then there is the cloud that is powerful enough to compute, assess, and analyze. The startup is currently building a telematics unit that can transmit this information via the internet, but in its absence, it is using ION Lens, a telematics gateway unit.

ION Lens collects information from the BMS through Bluetooth over your phone and uses the phone’s internet connection to transmit information to the cloud in real-time. There is also a PC utility tool called CANView which runs on your laptop through a wired medium to the BMS called CAN. It connects, then your laptop sends info to the cloud in real-time, through the PC.

The intelligence layer on top of this is Edison Analytics. This is where the data is analyzed on the cloud. The insights are based on the data and the initial calculations that are being done by the BMS placed along with the battery pack locally, without the cloud.

Get Real Time Alerts with Edison analytics
Get Real Time Alerts with Edison analytics

Edison Analytics is designed to improve performance and extend the life of Lithium-ion batteries. Edison leverages battery data, software analytics and AI to remotely monitor, predict and improve battery life.

Advanced battery management and intelligence platform, ION is focused on building technologies that improve the life and performance of lithium-ion batteries used inside of electric vehicles and energy storage systems. ION also leverages advanced electronics and software that accelerates the effort of engineering teams.

In 2018, after acquiring an 8-year-old French Battery Management System (BMS) developer - Freemens SAS, ION came out of stealth mode and unveiled its first product UDYR, an easily swappable battery for electric scooters and started commercializing its flagship BMS platform. UDYR’s battery management would allow it to enhance performance and increase battery life by up to 200 percent.

Electric vehicles are expensive, primarily because of the lithium-ion batteries that power them. The cost of a battery amounts to 40% of the total vehicle cost. While the upside of using lithium-ion batteries is their high energy density, relatively low self-discharge, and low maintenance, on the other hand, they have a limited life. On average, the estimated life of a lithium-ion battery is up to 3 years or 500-700 charge cycles, after which, they need to be replaced.

This helped them pivot to improve performance and extend the life of lithium-ion batteries that are used inside EVs and ESS with its flagship BMS. ION’s unique advantage is its intelligent ecosystem - BMS + Edison Analytics, that blends advanced electronics, machine learning software, artificial intelligence, and data science with deep domain expertise in energy storage.

ION Energy o-founder Akhil Aryan explains, "The key differentiator – our battery intelligence platform Edison Analytics, uses real-time simulations and visualizations designed to extend battery life by up to 40% and reduce the overall ownership cost, thus boosting ROI.

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Founders of ION Energy and team

ION Energy was founded by Akhil Aryan and Alexandre Collet in 2016.

ION Energy founders Akhil aryan and alexandre collet
ION Energy founders

Akhil Aryan - Akhil Aryan is the Co-Founder and CEO of ION Energy, one of the world’s most advanced battery management and intelligence platform. Akhil has been recognized as one of the Young Achievers of 2020 in the coveted ‘30 Under 30’ Forbes Asia (Industry, Manufacturing, and Energy), and Forbes India (Technology) list, and he has also been featured in Entrepreneur India’s ‘35 under 35’ list. Akhil’s objective is to identify missions and build an environment that helps unlock the full potential of his team.

One of the most unique things about Akhil is his versatility and ability to get on steep learning curves to understand markets and evaluate business opportunities. ION is a great example of how he converted his childhood fascination into a business, without an engineering degree. He graduated from the University of Mumbai with a degree in financial markets, but Akhil always says that his laptop is his gateway into the world’s largest repository of knowledge and degrees should not be held as assets that create entitlement.

In his last company - Haptik, one of the world’s largest conversational AI platforms - Akhil led the product team from the start, managed user acquisition and conversion, helping it skyrocket from 100k to 1.5 million users. In 2016, Haptik raised $12M and was on track to become one of India’s largest AI companies (acquired by Jio for $100M). Akhil was instrumental in building a complex Natural Language Processing engine to power the enterprise’s Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence efforts from the ground up.

ION Energy Team
ION Energy Team

Alexandre Collet - Alexandre Collet is the Co-founder and CTO at ION Energy, a company that is dedicated to reducing carbon footprints and building sustainable cutting-edge technology for lithium-ion batteries with a focus on electric mobility. Alexandre is chiefly responsible for designing and streamlining the technological innovation and product development at ION. A highly proficient engineer, he completed his masters in Power Electronics and Embedded Systems from the University of Grenoble, France.

Alexandre had a plethora of professional experience before his current electric endeavor at ION energy. In 2011, he founded Freemens SAS, an industry leader in battery management systems, that was acquired by ION Energy in 2018. Freemens SAS was powered into existence on his groundbreaking inventions and scientific research in power electronics architecture, lithium-ion cell aging factors, and state identification at the University of Grenoble, France.

ION Energy Team
ION Energy Team

Inside the company, ION Energy's CEO Akhil’s role goes beyond the usual responsibilities of product, technology development, and business expansion. As a big believer of first principle thinking, his focus is on turning the green warrior narrative into a business opportunity and exploring ways to reduce the planet’s dependence on fossil fuels.

ION Energy Co-founder Alexandre seeks to concentrate on the software side of things with an increased focus on developing and scaling Edison Analytics, the world’s first and finest AI-powered state of the art battery data analytics software for all Battery Management Systems. He wants to make ION a household name and the face of advanced battery management and operating systems to unleash an electrical revolution in the world.

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While Akhil is known as a software entrepreneur, he have always been innately curious about the nature of electrons. It never ceases to fascinate him that adding or removing even a single electron changes the properties of the nucleus of the atom, and hence the overall object! Such altered atoms that have gained or lost electron(s) are called IONs. This is how IONs form the basis of energy itself. The overpowering nature of IONs led to the name of as ION Energy.

ION Energy Logo
ION Energy Logo
"I strongly believe that building, maintaining and optimizing the Energy Ecosystem is the greatest opportunity of our generation. Not only from a financial unit economics point of view, but also environmental impact. As a founder I will ensure that ION Energy remains at the forefront of this movement", says ION Energy Co-founder Akhil Aryan.

ION Energy - Business Model

ION’s full-stack approach blends advanced electronics, IoT, analytics, and AI with deep domain expertise in energy storage. ION's platform leverages a two-way communication gateway that enables businesses to:

  • Identify factors that are contributing to abnormal degradation of the battery's health and the magnitude of contribution
  • Take appropriate actions like configuration changes over the air, drive profile changes, or environment changes to continuously improve the life and performance of the battery.
  • Optimize costs and acquire better ROI through all stages of the battery life cycle.

This is deeply integrated with a license to Edison Analytics, its battery intelligence platform that is offered as a SaaS product. With this core differentiator, ION is overturning the unexceptional rigid, one-time configuration approach adopted by other electronics suppliers.

ION Energy - Revenue Model

The company earns its revenue by following three business models:

  • The first one is the BMS sale where a bunch of companies buy its battery management system.
  • The second is the BMS platform license which means companies can use the platform to accelerate their BMS development by two-three years and save million dollars expenses.
  • Thirdly, the subscription to the startup's software analytics platform which the companies use for diagnostics and warranty validation.

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ION Energy - User Acquisition

Akhil Aryan - "Being a startup, we've always made it a point to be transparent with our customers. Our communication with our customers has built trust in our company and our platform. At ION, good news can always wait, but if anything goes wrong, we communicate at the earliest and work on correcting our mistakes.
At ION, it's our mission to do whatever we can to make our customers successful. That's why our first 10 customers are still our strongest customers today and brought many more clients to our company".

ION Energy - Startup Challenges

It’s so difficult to capture all the challenges one faces in the early days of a startup. It’s almost always at the intersection of Market, Product, Team & Traction. For the team of ION Energy, the challenges were mostly around timing their product with market maturity and ensuring they're investing both in product and customers that can help them create short term revenues but also those that have the long term potential for market penetration.

"Initially when we began operations, one of the biggest challenges we faced was grooming technical talent in-house. There weren’t many engineers who had expertise in the EV sector and the number of engineers who had knowledge in AI and analytics was low as well", recalls ION Energy co-founder Alexandre Collet.

When a new market starts shaping up, the talent pool is not mature and so it’s difficult to make significant progress on technology unless there is senior leadership in-house grooming talent. Thus, the company had to train them from the ground up and provide knowledge as well within the sector.

This helped in creating the core team that today also helps train any new engineer that is hired by the firm. Founders hope that in the future, there will be more experts in the EV sector in particular with colleges like Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU), College of Engineering - Pune and the Cummins College of Engineering for Women and institutes like IITs beginning courses specifically to EVs.

Explaining the concept to investors at a time when there was low awareness of the need and the technology, inadequate infrastructure, lack of push for electric vehicle adoption and localization of technology by regulatory authorities in the country are some other challenges faced by the company.

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ION Energy - Growth

ION is India’s largest BMS company with 30%+ market share in the 2/3W space, 10 Crores in revenue and offices in India & France.

The company has customers like Exicom Tele-Systems Ltd., IBS, Tork Motors, Wamtechnik, Electro-Mechanique Industries (RGM), Swincar, TYVA Energie, and Yotta Solar.

ION Energy - Funding and Investors

The initial ION Energy funding came from Akhil (Co-Founder). There are also some seed investors that include Astarc Ventures, Advik hi-Tech and executives from Salesforce, Tesla, Haptik, Nippo Batteries, and Dentsu Aegis.

The funds have helped ION Energy in product development and bring the technology closer to mass manufacturing.

ION Energy - Advisors and Mentors

ION Energy is a part of Shell’s E4 Programme and is mentored by Sushil Jiwarajka, Chairman of OMC Power and founder of Nippo Batteries.

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ION Energy - Acquisitions

ION Energy was founded in 2016, and within a year of its inception, ION Energy acquired an 8-year-old French Battery Management System (BMS) developer - Freemens SAS, in a first of its kind cross-border acquisition.

ION Energy - Recognition and Achievements

Akhil has been recognized as one of the Young Achievers of 2020 in the coveted ‘30 Under 30’ Forbes Asia (Industry, Manufacturing, and Energy), and Forbes India (Technology) list, and he has also been featured in Entrepreneur India’s ‘35 under 35’ list.

ION Energy - Future Plans

The next 5 years are going to be pivotal, not only for ION Energy but also for our planet and the human species. If the company manages to make the e-mobility transition holistically, it will go down in history as one of the largest positive recourse that humanity has made. The move away from fossil fuels will define the generations to come. ION Energy has a major role to play in this transition and they take this responsibility seriously.

Over the 5 year horizon, the company sees itself managing 10% of all Li-Ion batteries deployed in the country. To make this a reality, they will scale to 100 engineers by 2021 and leverage India’s strength in electronics and software to overcome the lack of lithium resources.

"We aim to Deliver to the Key Customers with 10x Reliability in - Product + Technology. In the next 18 months, we envision quadrupling the impact and delivering 10x by 2021 to 1GWh under management and $20M in revenue", says Akhil while talking about future plans.

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

What is ION Energy revenue?

The ION Energy turnover is INR 10 crores.

Who is ION Energy CEO?

Akhil Aryan is the CEO of ION Energy.

Is ION Enegy Indian Company?

Yes, ION Energy is headquarted in Mumbai, India.

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