No one said it would be easy for CODA Automotive, the California-based startup that makes all-electric cars and battery systems.
Two months ago, CODA delayed the introduction of its first car and said that its dynamic chief executive, Kevin Czinger, was stepping down. Even before then, pundits wondered whether the company could survive (here and here).
When, after all, was the last time a U.S.-based startup broke into the capital-intensive automobile industry?
But, while CODA has a tough road ahead, it turns out that some smart money is betting on the privately-held firm: Last week, CODA announced that it raised another $76 million and brought in two new venture investors, Harbinger Capital Partners and Riverstone Holdings. Previous investors include Hank Paulson, the former treasury secretary and CEO of Goldman Sachs; Thomas “Mack” McLarty, Bill Clinton’s former chief of staff, whose family owns auto dealerships; and John Bryson, the former CEO of Edison International.
The company has now raised about $200 million, and hopes to raise another $50 million soon, says Steven “Mac” Heller, an investor, co-chairman of the board and now the company’s interim CEO. Heller spoke today (on a panel with GE’s Jeff Immelt) at the Brookings Institution, and we sat down afterward to talk about CODA. [click to continue…]