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Ample’s John de Souza on the merits of B2B, company culture and investors who get it


The odds are against San Francisco-based electric vehicle battery swapping company Ample. Other companies have tried to build a business on exchanging dead batteries for fresh ones to solve the problem of long EV charge times: Fourteen years ago, Better Place raised nearly a billion dollars to do what Ample’s doing, and it ended up declaring bankruptcy.
But that was more than a decade ago, when EVs weren’t sufficiently advanced —or plentiful — to make the business model work.
That didn’t deter Ample co-founder John de Souza. Born and raised in Ethiopia to a Greek/Ethiopian mother and a Portuguese/Indian father who found ways to send him and his siblings to school despite their poverty, his family relocated to Dubai when the Ethiopian Civil War started in the 1970s. After emigrating, de Souza finished out high school before heading to the United States at 16 to attend university under a full scholarship.
Since then, he has found …

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