Xerotech Aims For Unicorn Status Amid Rising Electrification Demand

Make it work

The Galway firm, which makes lithium-ion battery systems for “everything but automobiles”, plans to hire 50 more people this year

Xerotech, the Galway-based battery system maker, believes it is on course to achieve unicorn status in the coming years, having tapped into “effectively limitless demand” for motor electrification systems in the whole world.

As automakers around the world race to build carbon-neutral engines, Xerotech has taken a different approach to the highly lucrative world of electrification, underpinned by a simple question: “And everything else?”

Founded in 2017, the company manufactures lithium-ion battery systems which it sells to major equipment manufacturers in a multitude of different industries.

In the midst of moving away from fossil fuels, these companies need a supplier who can sell them the technology they need to make the transition to zero carbon. Xerotech is one of the world leaders in this field and was recently hailed as one of the fastest growing companies in Enterprise Ireland’s portfolio.

“What we’re doing is kind of like Tesla, except it’s for everything but the automobile,” Barry Flannery, founder and CEO of Xerotech, told The Business Post. “It’s not cars, it’s not trucks, it’s not buses – it’s every other piece of equipment that’s out there.”

The market in which Xerotech sells, Flannery explained, is nearly limitless. “It’s a low volume, but it’s a great diversity. Think of something that sweeps the road, or a garbage truck, or something that cleans planes, or an underground drill. They only make a few hundred of these machines a year, but there are thousands and thousands of different types.

Original Equipment Manufacturers, or OEMs, have used diesel engines for hundreds of years, purchasing the hardware they needed from a catalog of options.

“What we offer is the equivalent of an electric battery. It’s for companies that bought a diesel engine for 100 years and now want to buy a battery. We offer a catalog of solutions, which means that the applications of these can be anything. That’s all a diesel engine used to do,” Flannery said.

A “true tech-focused, hardcore, heavy-engineering company,” Xerotech started 2021 with just 16 staff. Today, it employs more than 105 people and has just announced its intention to hire another 50 people.

“We could be at 140, 150 people by the end of the year,” Flannery said. “It just got completely crazy. The last 12 years, if not more, have been about automotive electrification – it’s all been about cars. You had your Tesla, and so did every other automaker. The next 10 years, this decade, is the decade that everything else will be electrified. And that’s what’s exciting here – it’s a real hockey stick.

“People might think, ‘It might be 20, 30 years before all this heavy equipment goes electric. But the reality is that everything will be done by the end of the decade.

By the end of this year, Xerotech will have doubled its operating space to 80,000 square feet. By 2025, it aims to have opened a 250,000 square foot facility, which will give it the capacity to employ 500 people.

“We’re capped at hundreds of millions in revenue at our current operating capacity,” Flannery said. “The new one will give us a revenue capacity of 1 billion euros. And our valuation will be at 1 billion euros much sooner than that, I would say.

Bonny J. Streater