I had a chat with Torbjörn Sundström, CEO of AleLion Batteries at the Lahti Cleantech Day ’09 and he told me about their customer-driven business.
Based in Gothenburg, AleLion was founded in 2006 and currently employs 30 people. The company will have a turnover of €2m in 2009. Investors have invested less than €1m into the company, and while the company does not really need capital urgently, Torbjörn told me that they might go looking for further capital in order to grow faster and go past the European borders.
AleLion is a market and customer-driven company, which wants to be close to their customers, know their needs and help them solve them. They do so by producing the batteries based on their clients’ need, which takes them from six weeks to twelve months depending on the size of the project. They cooperate with an American company which delivers the cells, and assemble them in AleLion’s own factory which follows lean production principles. The lithium iron phosphate batteries are not only lighter in weight but also are environmentally safe, have a extremely low self-discharge and have a five to ten times longer life time than a normal lead acid battery. That means for their clients less need to replace batteries, faster charging and being able to construct their product with lighter materials.
What makes AleLion different from their competitors, which include European Batteries from Finland, is that they do not produce the cells themselves and target niche markets, while for example European Batteries targets the transportation industry, heavy industry machines and energy storage. AleLion customers include companies from the cleaning machine sector, golf carts, wheelchair manufacturers and telcos, among others.
Given the companies enormous growth during 2008-2009 when the company increased its turnover 10x (from €200K to €2m), and the benefits of its solution compared to the competitors’ solutions, I don’t think this will be the last time we hear of this company.