Santa Monica-based fleet electrification company InCharge Energy has sold a majority stake in its business to Swiss robotics giant ABB, the companies announced Thursday.
The deal gives ABB a 60% controlling interest in InCharge, which builds electric vehicle charging systems for commercial fleet operators including ride-share operators, school districts and municipalities. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The Swiss firm initially acquired a 10% stake in the startup through its Series A funding round in 2020, which ABB led alongside Macquarie Capital.
While InCharge will be folded into ABB’s e-mobility division, it will maintain its management team, including co-founders Cameron Funk and Terry O’Day, as well as its “tech neutrality,” the company said in a press release.
Founded in 2018, InCharge manages fleet electrification projects for commercial customers including truck rental company Ryder, truck and bus manufacturer Navistar and GM BrightDrop, which is developing electric-powered vans for commercial delivery firms. BrightDrop is part of GM’s larger initiative to have an all-electric lineup of vehicles by 2035; its first customer is FedEx, which placed an initial order for 500 EV600 vehicles.
InCharge currently employs around 50 people. As part of its plans to expand nationally, the Santa Monica startup has a four-year goal to hire hundreds of field technicians to support and service its charging systems across the country.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. may be one game away from the Super Bowl, but he's probably feeling lighter in the wallet than he'd like amid Bitcoin’s ongoing selloff.
If the math is correct, Beckham is heading into this weekend’s NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers having likely lost at least a few hundred thousands dollars, on paper, after having committed to taking his Rams salary in Bitcoin.
After being released by the Cleveland Browns in early November after a rocky two-year stint with the NFL team, the Rams signed the standout receiver to a contract with a $750,000 base salary and an additional $3 million in performance-based incentives.
Yet Beckham’s much-hyped announcement that he would convert his entire salary into Bitcoin arrived just as the cryptocurrency began to tank. When he made the proclamation on Nov. 22, Bitcoin was trading at around $56,000, after reaching as high as $69,000 earlier that month. But since then, the token has been on a steady downward trajectory. Bitcoin was trading at around $36,000 on Thursday, down roughly 35% from its Nov. 22 price.
There are two ways to look at this development from Beckham’s perspective. On the one hand, the money he was paid from his early games with the Rams (NFL players receive game checks per every game played) is now worth considerably less as Bitcoin. Yet on the other hand, the salary that Beckham is now converting into Bitcoin is being invested at a significantly lower price. In other words, Beckham is buying the proverbial dip—and should Bitcoin prices rebound, he could find himself having made a valuable investment.
One Bitcoin expert thinks Beckham shouldn’t be rattled.
“He won’t be thinking about Bitcoin this weekend because he knows a price correction in Bitcoin is almost run of the mill,” said Nik Bhatia, author of “Layered Money” and a Bitcoin expert who teaches on the subject at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. “Bitcoin is incredibly volatile. That is obvious to everyone, but the long-term growth is incredibly stable when you look at it over the longer horizon.”
Beckham could not be reached for comment through his agent, Zeke Sandhu of Elite Athlete Management.
Of the $3 million of incentives in Beckham’s Rams contract, he’s already earned $1.25 million thanks to the Rams’ two NFL playoff wins thus far, according to Spotrac. A win over the 49ers on Sunday would net him another $750,000, while a Super Bowl win would award him $1 million (he’d receive a $500,000 bonus just for appearing in the Big Game).
That means more money to convert into Bitcoin could be on the way for the man known as OBJ—and depending on the cryptocurrency’s future prospects, it could prove either a foolhardy or prescient investment.
Beckham isn’t the only NFL player to be feeling Bitcoin’s current dip. Other players to have received at least a portion of their salary in crypto include Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Carolina Panthers offensive lineman Russell Okung, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence and New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley.
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iTrustCapital—a Long Beach-based trading platform that allows investors to buy cryptocurrencies, gold and silver through their retirement accounts—is Southern California’s newest tech unicorn after raising $125 million in a Series A funding round.
New York-based Left Lane Capital led the funding, which values iTrustCapital at more than $1.3 billion valuation, according to the companies. The startup plans to use the proceeds to expand product offerings, explore potential acquisitions and grow its marketing reach. Prior to the Series A, it had been bootstrapped by the likes of angel investor John Vojtech.
Since launching in 2018, iTrustCapital has grown to roughly $2 billion in assets under management and 25,000 client-funded accounts. The startup said it has more than doubled its total transaction volume in the last six months, to over $4.5 billion.
Representatives for iTrustCapital and Left Lane Capital could not be immediately reached for comment.
The crypto IRA industry is a fledgling yet growing industry that has a handful of emerging players. Among iTrustCapital’s competitors is the Sherman Oaks-based Bitcoin IRA.
While crypto investing is most popular among those aged 21 to 35 years old, iTrustCapital boasts of its broader appeal in the retirement savings field, with a client base that includes “thousands” in the 45-to-65-year-old age range.
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