Oorja, maker of methanol fuel cells used to charge batteries for forklifts, pallet loaders and other industrial vehicles, has landed $500,000 in convertible promissory notes, according to a filing with the SEC. Methanol is an alcohol-based fuel that produces zero greenhouse gas emissions. Based in Fremont, Calif. the company markets primarily to large retailers and manufacturers, aviation companies, and distributors, like truckers.
According to the company, many companies in these sectors have taken note of the surmounting cost of charging their lead-acid batteries with grid power — electricity generated largely by coal-fired power plants) — and then disposing of them as toxic waste. It says its methanol technology is both cheaper and greener than this traditional process, improving its clients’ environmental reputations and bottom line.
Right now, Oorja’s strategy is to sell its product to fleets of vehicles — making it easier to deploy them en masse and service them as needed. To do this, it has initiated two incentive programs for dealers. The Master Dealers program allows local dealers to sell and maintain Oorja products. In exchange for comprehensive knowledge of its fuel cells, these individuals can profit from the services they provide. The Referral Dealer Program compensates other dealers in local territories that refer their clients to Master Dealers.
The company has raised about $21.5 million to date from Sequoia Capital, DAG Ventures, Artis Capital Management, McKenna Management, Northshore Partners and Spring Ventures