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Mysterious smart energy company raises $150 million, led by ex-HTC executive

Mysterious smart energy company raises $150 million, led by ex-HTC executive

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Horace Luke, Gogoro's CEO.

Taiwanese firm Gogoro came out of stealth mode this morning — sort of — announcing in very broad, vague terms that it's looking to "utilize the power of mobile connectivity and data analytics to transform energy distribution and management in the world's cities." It's hard to say what that really means, beyond that the company has an energy focus — but it's interesting to note that they're promising products at next year's CES in January. That suggests that there'll be a consumer angle here of some sort.

What do you do in secret with $150 million?

Gogoro's provenance is interesting: it had already raised $50 million in a 2011 Series A round from Taiwanese billionaire Samuel Yin and Cher Wang, who co-founded HTC and chipmaker VIA. Perhaps it's no surprise that Gogoro employs a number of ex-HTC staff, including former Chief Innovation Officer Horace Luke, who serves as Gogoro's CEO.

Now, the company is securing another $100 million (though it's not saying where the money is coming from). $150 million is a good chunk for a firm that hasn't yet really told anyone what it's doing; it's not as much as $500 million golden child Magic Leap, but it's still quite a bit.

Patent searches reveal a number of filings that suggest a strong focus on transportation: there are multiple mentions of motors, scooters, and hybrid automobiles. There's also a partnership with Panasonic, which is a major supplier of EV batteries and is involved with Tesla's so-called Gigafactory. Gogoro's intellectual property also includes details on racks for rechargeable cells that could be used for battery swaps at stations around a city — imagine a scooter, for instance, with effectively unlimited charge as long as you're commuting around a city's network of battery swap kiosks.

For now, it's all speculation. $150 million is a lot of money, but solving the world's energy problems is no small task.