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Current Motor Company

240B Parkland Plaza
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

John Harding and Erik Kauppi

What educational, entrepreneurial or business development programs, if any, have you taken advantage of?
We've made extensive use of Ann Arbor SPARK offered training. We won "Best of Boot Camp" last November. Our CEO graduated with an MBA from the University of Michigan. Erik has a masters from Kettering University. John have a bachelors from Manchester University in the United Kingdom.

Who was your first customer and where did you find them?
Mike Boni in Atlanta GA. He's a two-wheel EV enthusiast and we found him through my involvement with the visforvoltage.org forum.

Where did you find your first employee?
Terry Richards came to us recommended by friends as someone local to us who had great EV experience.

Have you promoted an intern to employee status, and if so how many times have you done it?
Not yet. So far we've had three interns. The first two's placement came to an end before we were in a position to offer full-time employment. We're very much hoping to be able to offer our current a full-time position when we close on our funding.

Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?
We've pitched to Ann Arbor SPARK, Automation Alley and the new First Step Fund. Both Ann Arbor SPARK and First Step Fund granted us micro-loans of $50,000. We will also be applying to Michigan's Pre-Seed fund - with submission made via Ann Arbor SPARK. We've also pitched to numerous high net worth individuals and various angel clubs. We're in the process of putting together a first round of funding and we have about half the private money secured in an escrow account. One of those people investing in us is the auto-industry guru Bob Lutz.

There are some who say it would be better to lower taxes for businesses across the board than to use tax dollars on government programs that help grow small businesses. As entrepreneurs and the owners of a start-up, would you rather have the economic development programs or a lower tax rate (if you could only choose one)? Why?
Keep the economic development programs. Lower taxes (business or personal) wouldn't have made any difference to us at this stage, while the microloan and other state assistance through Ann Arbor SPARK have been a key part of enabling us to grow to the point where we are creating new jobs.

If you could require every entrepreneur in Michigan to read one book, which would you choose and why?
I'd say rather than reading a book you should attend training courses. Not only do you get to learn stuff but you get to network. On the book front, I like "Crossing the Chasm" by Geoffrey A. Moore.

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