Brammo raises $28M from Polaris, others
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Brammo closed on a $28 million investment led by Polaris Industries Inc.
Growing electric motorcycle company Brammo Inc. announced Wednesday that it raised $28 million in a Series B funding round led by motorsports player Polaris Industries Inc.
Ashland-based Brammo will use the money to staff up both in Ashland and in smaller offices in Boston, Italy and Germany.
The investment from Minneapolis-based Polaris (NYSE: PII) marks the start of a strategic partnership between the two companies.
"They do a lot of things right," said Craig Bramscher, founder and CEO of Brammo. "They run a great dealer development program and they bring products to market quickly."
Polaris is also interested in the electric vehicle space. In April, the company acquired Global Electric Motorcars — maker of electric golf cart-like neighborhood cars like the ones used around Portland for Hot Lips Pizza delivery — from Chrysler.
Bramscher said the relationship with Polaris is still in its infancy but he expects that Brammo-designed battery technology will be applicable in Polaris-made electric vehicles.
Other investors in the round include existing shareholder Apline Energy and new investor NorthPort Investments LLC. Bramscher said that other investors are included in the mix but not public.
Best Buy, while not named as an investor in this round, remains supportive of the company, Bramscher said. Best Buy stopped selling Brammo motorcycles in its stores earlier this year.
The investment will be used mainly to scale the company and add employees.
"We've really broadened the scope of what Brammo does," Bramscher said. "We're on a very strong climb right now."
Brammo announced last fall it would work with electronics manufacturing giant Flextronics to build electric motorcycles. The company ramped up European production earlier this year.
While Brammo was initially known for its innovative electric motorcycle design, it has expanded its expertise into battery technology and powertrain manufacturing. Its line of two-wheel vehicles include the Enertia, designed as an urban commuter; the Empulse, a sports motorcycle; and Engage and Encite, which are off-road racing bikes.
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