Brammo CEO urges Oregon to hone its green brand
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Brammo Inc. CEO Craig Bramscher is on the fundraising trail. He advises Oregon to get better at marketing its green technology expertise.
Brammo Inc. CEO Craig Bramscher is a big man.
After cashing in on a dot-com in the late '90s — Bramscher founded and sold Dream Media — he set about buying his dream car but found the Lamborghini difficult to maneuver in and out of with his large frame.
As he tells it, that experience set him on the path of building his own super car, an endeavor that gave rise to Brammo and the pursuit of speed which led Bramscher to build a company around highly efficient and ever-so-stylish electric motorcycles.
Now one of the leading makers of e-motorcycles in the world, southern Oregon-based Brammo is spreading its brand globally.
Bramscher says it's time for Oregon to do the same.
"I've been traveling all over the world," Bramscher told the audience Thursday at the Portland Business Journal Manufacturing Awards Luncheon. "When I tell people I'm based in Oregon, people seem to think it's obvious. 'Of course, that's where all the green technology is.'"
"Our brand is even better than we are today," Bramscher said of his home state.
But he added that there's a ripe opportunity for the state to take its green and sustainable reputation and burnish the brand even brighter.
"We need to find the brand around green in Oregon," he said. "We need to get better at marketing it to the world."
Bramscher's travels have followed Brammo's recent successes — for example, the entire motorcycle-riding police force in Hong Kong has traded in their Hondas for Brammos — but he's also on the fundraising trail.
Brammo has closed the first tranche of what's expected to be a Series C round of close to $50 million, and Bramscher said he expects a second close before the end of the year.
Bramscher said Thursday that his first foray to Sand Hill Road — just after the company had abandoned plans to build a speedy electric car and focused instead on the motorcycle — came before any venture capitalists had heard of Tesla Motors.
Now Bramscher boasts that the battery technology used by Brammo is actually superior to that used in the sleek Tesla cars.
"We have the best batteries in the business," Bramscher said. "If you measure our batteries against Tesla's in terms of battery density, ours are better."
In addition to more funding, the launch of a Portland research and development facility and an eventual IPO, Brammo's future also holds the launch of an electric dirt bike due to begin production this year.
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