• 4,000 binding pre-orders from customers including Bimbo Bakeries USA; the world’s largest RV manufacturer, THOR Industries; postal service operator, Mail Management Services; leading North American commercial vehicle dealers; and more.
  • Harbinger formally announces it raised one of the hardware industry’s largest-ever Series A rounds, which closed at $73 million in Q4 2023.
  • The company announces its North American network of premier dealers, which is already positioned to serve 78% of the population in the U.S. and Canada, and continues to grow.
  • The new orders and funds are catalyzing rapid growth around the manufacturing and commercialization of Harbinger’s innovative electric vehicle chassis.

LAS VEGAS and LOS ANGELES, May 21, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Harbinger, a Southern California-based electric truck manufacturer, announced today at ACT Expo its order book, which includes 4,000 binding vehicle pre-orders from customers and is valued at more than $400 million. This includes a substantial multi-year order from Bimbo Bakeries USA, the U.S. business of Grupo Bimbo, the world’s largest baking company, and producer of iconic brands including Sara Lee Bread®, Thomas’®, Entenmann’s® and more. Harbinger also received orders from the world’s largest recreational vehicle (RV) manufacturer, THOR Industries, known for its operating companies which include Airstream, Jayco, Tiffin and Thor Motor Coach. Additionally, commercial vehicle dealers have placed significant orders including two of Freightliner’s largest dealers Doggett Equipment Services Group (500 units) and Campbell Supply (125 units); as well as other dealers, GATR Truck Center (500 units); ETHERO Truck + Energy (200 units); Electric Commercial Vehicles (ECV), an affiliate of Smyrna Truck (50 units) and more. Postal service operator, Mail Management Services has also placed an order for 40 units, among others.

The company has also announced it closed an additional $13 million in Series A funds in Q4 of 2023 from venture and strategic investors, including additional funding from the Coca-Cola System Sustainability Fund, managed by Greycroft. Previously, the company announced it had raised $60 million in Series A funds, bringing the new Series A total to $73 million and marking one of the largest Series A rounds for a hardware company. Harbinger will use the additional funds to continue expanding its manufacturing capacity and launch its commercial start of production in Q4 of 2024.

“While other new entrants struggle to fill their order pipelines, we have extensive pre-orders and backed-up demand for our medium-duty electric vehicles,” said John Harris, CEO, Harbinger. “We are laser focused on the medium-duty vehicle segment, where there is a huge variety of vehicles built on chassis like ours including walk-in vans, box trucks, recreational vehicles, delivery vans, school buses, emergency and disaster response vehicles and more. Today, most manufacturers are adapting gasoline or diesel vehicles to electrification, rather than building a ground-up electric platform. This compromised approach leads to concerns with vehicle safety and durability as well as higher production costs, which is why we chose to start fresh with a clean sheet design.”

— A Harbinger medium-duty electric walk-in van. Walk-in vans are also commonly referred to as “step vans.”

A Premier Network of Partners and Dealers

Part of Harbinger’s strategy is to build a holistic network to support the launch of its electric medium-duty trucks, including a nationwide network of service providers, charging and infrastructure development partners, and premier dealers. The company’s premier dealer network, which already serves 78% of the population in the U.S. and Canada and continues to expand, includes the following among others:

“Demand outstrips supply for the entire medium-duty category as we have a multi-year backlog for electric, diesel and gasoline vehicles,” said Scott Campbell, Owner, Campbell Supply. “Electric vehicles have a big place in the market and that segment is only going to continue to grow. Harbinger’s electric trucks are a true industry changer. They offer superior acquisition and operating costs, enhanced safety features, and a driver-friendly design, all while delivering zero tailpipe emissions.”

Seasoned Team, Clean Slate Design

Harbinger is led by a management and technical team that hails from Tesla, Rivian, Ford, Anduril, SpaceX, Toyota, Honda, Volvo Trucks, Mack Trucks, and more. Harbinger has created a proprietary electric platform, also known as an electric vehicle stripped chassis, from the ground-up. It includes all major vehicle systems, which the company designs and assembles in house, including the powertrain, high voltage (HV) battery system, steering, brakes, and more. This vertically integrated approach keeps costs low and provides a higher-performing, safer and more durable solution than electric vehicles built upon existing diesel and gasoline platforms, which is common in the industry. Harbinger is the only electric truck maker that manufactures its own motors and battery packs, which is a more cost effective and tailored solution than integrating off-the-shelf systems.

Harbinger Business Model

Once Harbinger assembles its electric vehicle stripped chassis, the company sells them to a dealer, a specialty upfitter, or directly to large fleet customers. From there, the dealer or customer works with a third party to upfit the chassis with a commercial or specialty body. Selling medium-duty stripped chassis separately from the body is standard practice for the large gas and diesel incumbents such as Ford and Freightliner.

— Harbinger’s ground-up designed proprietary electric platform, also known as an electric vehicle stripped chassis.

One Platform, Many Possibilities

The majority of the vehicles in Harbinger’s 4,000-unit order, including those for Bimbo Bakeries USA, are intended for upfit into walk-in vans, which are commonly referred to as “step vans” and are the typical large package delivery trucks seen on roads today. The others will be upfit into various vehicle types such as class A motorhomes, emergency vehicles and cutaway cabs, which are vehicles where only a cab is provided and an upfitter provides a custom-built payload area to create box trucks, shuttle buses, and more. Harbinger is working with body partner Sevna to upfit the chassis into cutaway cabs. Harbinger’s electric chassis is available in three different wheelbases, including 158 inches, 178 inches, and 208 inches, and in four different gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWRs), ranging from class 4 through 6.

Other specifications include:

  • 800V liquid cooled battery system, with capacity scalable in 35kWh increments up to a 200+ mile range, which serves 90% of truck use cases
  • Designed for 20-year, 450,000-mile service life
  • Segment-leading safety and driver assistance features
  • One-hour DC fast charging capability
  • Passenger vehicle-like handling and ride comfort

“Aligned with Grupo Bimbo’s Purpose of Nourishing a Better World, Bimbo Bakeries USA has multiple carbon reduction strategies to meet their commitment of achieving Net-Zero emissions by 2050,” said Christopher Wolfe, Senior Director of Sustainability, Bimbo Bakeries USA. “Partnering with Harbinger to expand our robust fleet of alternatively fueled vehicles is an important step in reducing our carbon emissions and dependencies on fossil fuels.”

Early Orders Being Manufactured Today

Harbinger’s manufacturing efforts are led by a world-class team including Tesla’s former Vice President (VP) of Manufacturing, Gilbert Passin, who serves as Harbinger’s Chief Production Officer. Passin, who spent nearly a decade at Tesla and led the launch and ramp-up of the Tesla Fremont factory, also held prior VP and General Manager-level roles with Toyota, Volvo Trucks, Mack Trucks, and Renault. Former Rivian VP of Supply Chain and Tesla executive Steve Gawronski serves as Harbinger’s Vice President of Supply Chain and Logistics.

Under Passin and his team’s leadership, the company has already produced and delivered a limited number of pre-production vehicles to key customers, including the first customer delivery to THOR in March of this year. Harbinger will begin producing and delivering its first production vehicles starting at the end of 2024.

“The THOR executives were amazed by the clean design of Harbinger’s electric chassis, and most had a hard time believing this was a pre-production vehicle,” said Jim Kane, Director of eMobility at THOR Industries. “Harbinger’s product is so much better than anything else we have seen from the industry.”

Government Incentives are a Game Changer for the Industry

Government regulations are accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles into fleets across the nation. The U.S. federal government’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is providing up to $40,000 per vehicle in tax incentives to buyers or lessors of commercial electric vehicles; either 30% of the original purchase price of the vehicle minus the credit, or the price difference between the electric vehicle and an equivalent gas or diesel vehicle. This incentive is valid from Jan. 1, 2023 through Dec. 31, 2032 with no limit on the number of vehicles sold or amount of money disbursed through this incentive. Additionally, state and local zero-emissions grants introduce substantially more cost savings directly to customers. For example, California’s Hybrid and Zero-Emissions Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP) provides buyers with approximately $30,000 – $85,000 worth of grants to purchase clean vehicles.

“Harbinger was founded on the principle that for commercial electric vehicles to become ubiquitous, they should be just as affordable to purchase as their gas and diesel counterparts,” said Harris. “The medium-duty truck market will quickly move to clean, economical electric power over the next few years, especially as government tax incentives and grants make all-electric trucks more affordable. There is a huge need for electrification in this market, and Harbinger is filling that gap.”

Price Parity with Gasoline and Diesel Vehicles

Most electric vehicles are only cost competitive with gasoline and diesel vehicles when factoring in the total cost of ownership, which takes into account the fuel and maintenance savings over many years. Harbinger takes a different approach. The company’s vehicles are sold at price parity with equivalent gas and diesel models after federal government tax incentives. 

Harbinger at ACT Expo

Harbinger is exhibiting at this year’s Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo. With one of the largest booths (#1271), they are showcasing a Bimbo Bakeries USA walk-in van, a cutaway cab developed by Harbinger partner Sevna, and the full suite of Harbinger’s proprietary vehicle technologies, including a complete electric stripped chassis and advanced safety systems demonstrations. On Wed., May 22 at 2:15 p.m. PT, Harbinger CEO John Harris will speak on a panel titled Vehicle Innovation, where he will discuss transformative innovations in vehicle technology for fleet applications. The expo floor opened on Mon., May 20, in Las Vegas, Nevada and ends on Thurs., May 23.

Source: Harbinger

Sean Silcoff, The Globe and Mail | April 5, 2021

Katherine Homuth set out four years ago to disrupt the global pantyhose trade by making an unbreakable alternative to nylons. Now, after perfecting her product and surviving two disruptions to her business, Sheertex Holdings Corp., she just needs the pandemic to subside so women have a reason to buy tights.

“It feels like I’ve had to build the same business multiple times,” said the 30-year-old entrepreneur. Her 175-person company rapidly outgrew its first, 2,000-square-foot production facility in Ontario’s Muskoka region, prompting a move to Montreal in the fall of 2019. Within months of restarting production at a 115,000-square-foot facility in the working-class St. Michel neighbourhood, the pandemic hit. That forced a total shutdown of production and Sheertex’s direct-to-consumer e-commerce business until mid-summer of 2020.

Still, Sheertex more than doubled revenues in 2020, to $15-millionand is on pace to surpass $33-million in 2021, despite the high price for the product – which can exceed $100 a pair. Sheertex shipped nearly 400,000 units but “we definitely think we’re seeing suppressed market demand,” Ms. Homuth said.

Michelle Scarborough, managing partner of BDC Capital’s Women in Technology Venture Fund and a Sheertex investor, said: “I expect the company will start to accelerate [as the pandemic subsides] and people get out of their sweatpants and back to wearing skirts.”

Sheertex tights are unbreakable by human hands and made with material 10 times stronger than steel; to prove the point, company videos show its leggings can survive being stuffed with a fire extinguisher, pineapple and spiky conches. The product has won rave reviews from both fashion and technology publications and was named a top invention of 2018 by Time. Ms. Homuth has raised US$60-million to date from investors including two sustainability-focused venture funds and retail giant H&M’s venture capital arm.

“This is simply just a better product” than nylons, said Murray McCaig, managing partner with Toronto’s ArcTern Ventures, a Sheertex investor. “Until this point, this was the last remaining piece of disposable clothing. Sheertex is replacing it with something more durable.”

That is proving to be a winning combination.

“We invest in technology companies that are sustainably transforming traditional industries [and] look for outstanding entrepreneurs that have proven they have a great product customers love that can be scaled profitably and quickly; Sheertex hit all those criteria,” said Zach Barasz, a director with Silicon Valley-based G2VP, another investor.

Ms. Homuth grew up in Mississauga and was a millionaire at 23 after selling her e-commerce startup, ShopLocket, in 2014. She backed other entrepreneurs, built an online education program for women investors and wrote a book on how to secure startup funding. For her next venture, she wanted to solve a big problem.

She recalled that her grandmother, after dealing with the frustration of another run in her nylons, once told her someone needed to reinvent pantyhose. “It seemed like such a bizarre thing; how do we have self-driving cars and space travel, but something as simple as a pair of pantyhose that doesn’t rip when you put it on doesn’t exist?” she says.

Ms. Homuth began exploring how to do that in 2017. She had no textile experience but sensed a big opportunity to upend a category with US$2-billion-plus in annual sales in the United States. “I was sure we could not just do this a bit better but fundamentally change the category.”

She spent months looking at different materials before deciding to try a strong polymer used to make bulletproof vests and climbing gear. It took her a while to get the product right. At first the white material was too thick, it wasn’t stretchy and couldn’t be dyed. It broke every knitting machine she tried. Her prototype looked like cheesecloth.

When she showed it to Joe Mimran, “I said, ‘Well, this is terrible,’” the Club Monaco and Joe Fresh founder recalled. She later produced a better sample for him; it still wasn’t quite right, but he admired her tenacity and agreed to back a $250,000angel funding round in 2017, alongside several prominent Canadian women investors including Michele Romanow, Eva Lau, Heather Payne and Nicole Verkindt. “I said … ’If you can get this to work, I don’t want to miss out,’” Mr. Mimran said. “It’s a classic case of betting on the jockey versus the horse.”

Ms. Homuth worked with a supplier to miniaturize the polymer so it could be made fine and stretchy enough for hosiery, and figured out how to colour the material during production. The product was sheer and lightweight, antimicrobial and water resistant. Her small team, including husband Zak Homuth, also a tech entrepreneur (he’s now chief technology and chief operating officer), retrofit hosiery machines to handle the material.

By early 2018, Ms. Homuth was ready to unveil her product. She raised US$190,000 in a Kickstarter campaign, went through the Silicon Valley accelerator program Y Combinator and secured US$4-million in seed funding from investors including Founders Fund, Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures and Mr. Mimran’s investment company, Gibraltar and Co. (until recently she has mostly kept her funding details under wraps to avoid twigging potential competitors until she had her intellectual property protection, supply chain and distribution set).

Things started to click in 2019. Sheertex began shipping hosiery and quickly outgrew its manufacturing facility in Bracebridge, Ont. Ms.Homuth was travelling to Montreal twice weekly and realized she’d have to relocate to the country’s textile capital if she wanted to scale up in Canada.

In September, she raised US$10-million led by ArcTern and leased Canada’s largest hosiery plant, shortly after former tenant Gildan Activewear moved out. Sheertex bought the leftover equipment “for a song” and rehired most Gildan employees, Mr. McCaig said. Ms. Homuth made a few other changes, such as refurbishing the cafeteria and providing free coffee to workers.

By year-end, monthly sales had surpassed US$1-millionand Ms. Homuth secured US$30-million in fresh funding led by G2VP, valuing Sheertex at US$100-million-plus. The plan for 2020 was to increase the staff count to 600 from 150, reach close to US$40-million in sales, start selling non-hosiery products such as knit shoes and hire an executive team.

Those plans were torn up by the pandemic, which forced the plant’s closure and temporary layoffs at the end of March, 2020.

Ms. Homuth focused on redesigning products, investing in automation and shifting plans to increase inventory and finished goods on hand once production restarted. “She made all the right decisions and compared to a lot of other companies in our portfolio managed through [the pandemic] very well,” Mr. McCaig said.

Employees began returning to work in May and the company was fully back in operation by August. Sheertex compensated for seasonal slowness by producing cloth masks, which made up 40 per cent of that month’s sales. Ms. Homuth was pleasantly surprised to discover that despite working from home, women were still wearing dresses and leggings for excursions – and more willing to buy them online than go into stores. “I learned that our product is more like underwear or socks … a more basic human need than we originally thought.”

Despite COVID-19′s third wave, Sheertex is in a “good groove” and gearing up for what Ms. Homuth hopes is a big, seasonally high fourth quarter, assuming mass vaccinations turn the tide. She raised another US$15-million from existing backers last fall and is filling key leadership posts in finance, product and revenue, and looking for a general counsel and creative director.

Beyond that she hopes to raise significant capital in the next two years, reduce unit costs, license her material to other clothing manufacturers, such as Gore-Tex, and get Sheertex goods into stores in 2022. “I think this has the potential to be a very large, self-sufficient public company that we can control here in Canada and hopefully revitalize the [domestic] textile industry,” Ms. Homuth said.



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