Meet one of the best tech companies in the Charlotte area that you’ve never heard of

Meet one of the best tech companies in the Charlotte area that you've never heard of

Photo courtesy of Atom Power.

Huntersville-based Atom Power has grown from a small start-up on UNC’s Charlotte campus in less than a decade to a powerhouse attracting international attention for electric vehicle charging technology.

driving news; Last month, SK, South Korea’s largest conglomerate behind Samsung, announced a $100 million investment in Atom Power, the largest domestic company to date.

Why is it important? Historically, the Triangle has gotten all the attention for tech talent in North Carolina (it’s why Amazon even beat out Charlotte for its HQ2 shortlist.) But Charlotte is full of engineering and tech workers, said Atom co-founder Ryan Kennedy, a Charlotte native. That’s why the company’s headquarters are here.

“That’s a guess, there’s not a lot of tech talent here. The reality is different,” Kennedy says. Charlotte doesn’t market itself well as a hotbed for tech workers and jobs, he added.

Present: Before entering college, Kennedy worked for years installing electrical systems in Uptown buildings — first two years at Central Piedmont and then three at UNC Charlotte where he studied electrical engineering. For years after college, he worked in building design and construction management, again at large Uptown towers such as the Duke Energy Center.

Flash He started Atom Power in 2014, and the idea was to create a simple and unified platform (the circuit breaker) for generating alternative energy, Kennedy told Axios.

  • Atom designed the technology to be able to scale quickly – the charging infrastructure needs to be able to meet the needs of the company.

“I see firsthand that there is going to be a wave of phasing out carbon-based fuels and moving everything to electricity,” Kennedy said.

Today, Atom describes itself as an energy supply company. Atom manufactures digital circuit breakers to power electric vehicle chargers for customers such as large-scale developers and multi-family properties.

Minimize: Kennedy’s latest investment will allow Atom to expand its business into the U.S. and internationally, according to Kennedy.

  • SK announced a $50 million stake in Atom Power, making the local company’s largest foreign investor. Other large Atom investors include Siemens and ABB.
  • Note: SK earlier this year pledged to invest $22 billion in various technologies and “clean tech industries” in the United States, WRAL reported.

Between the lines; With SK’s investment, Atom plans to expand its workforce. The company employs about 70 people in Huntersville today; The goal is to grow to 240 by the end of 2023, Kennedy says, primarily in manufacturing and engineering.

  • The company plans to open a Raleigh office, he added.

What’s next: Atom plans to use the technology to help build electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Scalability, Kennedy says, has been a challenge for EV charger manufacturers.

  • Moreover, SK cited Atom Core technology as the reason for the investment, in a statement from the two companies. This means that the technology can be applied to different industries.

Car charging is Atom’s core market today, Kennedy says, but the technology could extend to any electrical industry. For example, it can be installed in a data center, commercial building or residential buildings.

“Atomic power helped put Charlotte on the map internationally in many ways,” Kennedy says.

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