Wallbox: a $ 1.5 billion conversation

When Enric Asunción and Eduard Castañeda got down to work, they had a clear idea. In no way were they going to follow the path of what their competitors were doing. While the manufacturers of charging points were looking at the metal monoliths that appear on the streets of half the world to power electric vehicles in public spaces, they had decided that their solution would focus on the homes of drivers, with something much smaller than what a fridge could be and with a certain smart solution that exceeds the recharge. The conversation that began about six years ago now took shape in Wallbox and is valued at 1.5 billion dollars (about 1.23 billion euros), at least for the four investment funds led by Kensington Capital Partners that have decided to enter the capital with an investment of 330 million dollars and accompanying the Spanish company to the Wall Street market.

“Unicorns don’t exist. We do, “says Asunción without being able to avoid a discreet smile and without wanting to talk about what it means to achieve that a start-up surpass the 1,000 million valuation, as other Spanish emerging companies such as Cabify or Glovo have done. Ditch with a “we do not like to speculate on the value of the company, we care about the long-term value”, although it is probably aware of being the main shareholder of a company that has just hit the table of an activity that aristocratic automotive family wants to keep under control. Despite being just 36 years old, this industrial engineer is a veteran of electric vehicle charging technology. He started at Applus Idiada in a working group designed to create charging technology standards for electric cars and in 2010 he moved to the Netherlands to take charge of Tesla’s home charging system.

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The adventure in Elon Musk’s project lasted three years, until on April 3, 2015, at a friend’s wedding, he met Castañeda, who worked at the CSIC on battery cell projects. They hit it off and talked about the possibility of creating the best car charger. The following Monday both announced their departure in their respective jobs. The contracts prevented them from undertaking the project for a few months, but they ended up launching it together with Jordi Cano, Aleix Rull (all of them with positions in the company) and Asunción’s father, who had worked for years in the auxiliary industry of the automotive, as shareholders.

That bet seems to have worked. “Wallbox has superior products and it’s a superior business,” Kensington CEO Justin Mirro told analysts without shame. One of Wallbox’s advantages is that its charging points, he said, are 40% cheaper than its competitors can. Asunción agrees with this statement and explains it by its technology and the simplicity of its connector design, which makes it smaller, less heavy and much easier to produce. “Cheaper, in the end,” explains the CEO of Wallbox, who remembers the time he had to sell his then only product to representatives of a large and then still potential customer. At the end of his presentation, it was time to set an example of his success with the list of other clients. He was in front of a blank page and he had to admit it: “We don’t have other clients, so you will be the first, which means that we will dedicate ourselves to your company 100% and when we have another, 50%”. He convinced them, until today.

Growth of multiples

Since then, everything has changed. They billed last year 24 million dollars and expect this year to close with 79 million. They have sold 8,000 charging points for the street (their latest creation) with which they have insured an income of 130 million dollars. But the expectations of the electric vehicle go much further since, according to their forecasts, until 2030 the world market will demand 280 million charging points and they only They plan to sell 4.5 million until 2027. By then, their business plan plans to reach 2,100 million euros in turnover, having exceeded the barrier of 1,000 million in 2025.

Asunción, after the death of their father, Castañeda and Cano are today the main shareholders of the company and those who maintain control. Iberdrola is the other largest shareholder of a group, in addition to supplier and client, in which until yesterday there were Seaya Ventures, Cathay Innovation and Halekulani, in addition to the workers and family offices. The new venture has added Janus Henderson Investors, Luxor Capital and Kensington to that group. This new cast comes from a selection, because Wallbox had different options on the table to make the capital increase through a SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) and go public.

Asunción assures that the choice of each partner has not been based only on the amount of capital that they contributed, but on the value that they could give to the management. “Quadis gave us sales knowledge, José María Tarragó (Ficosa) gives us knowledge of the sector, another taught us to advertise …”, he explains. You are now relying on the business plan that Kensington has purchased based on product design and manufacturing control.

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