Innovator to Watch: Red E Charging’s Abass El-HageApril 6, 2022
MICHauto spoke with El-Hage about Red E, why he chose to launch the company in Detroit, and what advice he has for the next generation of high-tech entrepreneurs.
What makes your company or technology unique to the industry?
Red E Charging is unique in that we are the only EV charging network built from the ground up around our customer’s needs. With a focus on municipalities and c-store/fueling centers we were able to tailor our hardware, software, and program specifically around the unique demands of these entities and the drivers they service. Some examples of these features are that we are the only charging network to run on 100% renewable energy, offer integrated paid parking/charging solutions, and seamlessly integrate into existing software solutions for these businesses.
Why do you think Detroit is a great place to launch and grow a mobility or technology startup?
Detroit is the ideal place to launch a startup in the EV space as we not only have tons of talent to tap to help us grow but we also have access to the right technology partners here in our own backyard. The excitement around EVs from the OEMs here is also a huge push and the access we have to them by being located here also gives us credibility when working with potential partners in other parts of the country. Finally, the affordability of real estate here has really allowed us to grow a footprint and have a presence that we truly would not have been able to do anywhere. Where in California we would be lucky to rent a portion of an industrial workspace, in Detroit we were able to purchase one of the first Ford dealerships which now acts as our HQ and warehouse facility.
Why do you think it is so important to connect startups with established OEMS, suppliers, and other consumers of innovation?
It is super important to connect startups to OEMs, suppliers, and others as it is a key way to stay abreast of technology and trends. By being tied into this network of expertise we have a leg up on our competitors as we feel we definitely have a grasp of where the market is going and have been able to respond faster than the competition.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs interested in the mobility and technology industry?
My advice would be to get out there and do it. The great thing about new technologies is that it is new to everyone so no one has it figured out yet and you don’t have to either. Get out there, try things, listen to your customers, ask questions, and build something that solves a problem people are actually looking for an answer to, not just what you want to do. When it is all new and there isn’t a set way forward yet in an industry the good answers may as well come from you.
What unique skillsets are needed from the next generation of entrepreneurs?
Adaptability and humility are key for any entrepreneur. Things are constantly changing and you have to be humble enough to admit you may have it wrong and be ready to adapt and change to where the market is going. While you may not start out as the first to market when things change direction you could be the first to go down the new road.