The Second Act - Magazine - Page 13
NATIONAL SELECTION WEEK
Zak (Center) pictured with his peers at NEXT
Canada's National Selection Week in 2015.
ChargeLab raised its first VC funding in 2019 and
has now raised a total of $20.4M in funding.
When he first dove into the tech world,
he became more deliberate about the
type of business he wanted to run and
gained an appreciation for one that scales
exponentially (like tech), rather than linearly
(like construction). He also wanted to choose
an industry that excited him, knowing that if
he wanted to see long-term success, he was
going to have to stay in it for several years.
“When I started ChargeLab, I had a specific
intent to scale exponentially,” he says.
“Consciously or subconsciously, I also knew
this would take longer than starting the past
businesses I had run. So I picked an industry
that I was truly fascinated by. I started
researching the EV industry deeply during
the Next 36 in 2015, but I didn’t find enough
co-founders who wanted to focus on that
idea. So we built something else during Next
36, then I returned to the EV idea afterward.”
Having been an entrepreneur for the majority
of his life, Lefevre has learned many lessons
along the way. Still, he has one important
piece of advice to anyone aspiring to start
their ventures: avoid sunk cost fallacies.
“Every year at ChargeLab, I look at the
business we’re running and the market we’re
running and I ask myself: “if I could start a
new business today, would I pick this idea?”,
he says. “Life is too short to continue with an
idea just because you started it. You should
only be running a startup if you believe you’re
in the right market, with the right team, and
you can build the right product.”
Lefevre got into EV software because the
industry is growing rapidly, and he was (and
still is) excited to be a part of it. He argues
that if you don’t have that level of excitement
for your first venture, it’s time to move on to
your second. Whether that’s because you
picked the wrong market or because it was
the wrong time to start, you’re better off
cutting your losses and applying the skills
you learned during that experience to a
better market or idea.
His second piece of advice is to start off
with a fresh cap table. While this shouldn’t
be your main motivation to get going on a
venture, he notes that serial founders always
end up with cleaner cap tables for their later
ventures, which makes everything smoother.
It seems that after many years and numerous
ventures, Lefevre has finally found where
he wants to invest his time and energy - at
least, while it still makes sense to do so.
“There is never an assumption that this is the
only venture I’ll ever work on,” he says. “But
I haven’t found a better opportunity in the
market yet, especially given my experience
in this industry (now 6+ years), and the
momentum we’ve built up with our product
ChargeLab raised $15 million USD of Series
A funding last year, and Lefevre believes
they have at least another five to 10 years
of growth ahead of them. Of course, th.at
doesn’t mean this is his final venture.
Once a serial entrepreneur, always a serial
entrepreneur, so if things change, he’ll do
what he’s always done - get back out there
and start something new.
Lefevre believes that it is possible to become a serial
L e ssons
F r om Ser ial
ENtr ep r eneur s
entrepreneur in less than a year, and that hands-on
experience is more important than theoretical knowledge.
"It's like riding a bike. I'll take an hour falling on the
pavement while learning over a month of reading books on
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