Alevo was initially founded on the premise of licensing and using the fortu Powercell battery technology which has previously been developed for over a decade in Germany and which was due to have a production factory built in Michigan.

In 2009 the initial business was founded in Florida, and soon developed into an idea to develop battery powered trucks. This was then set aside to develop grid regulation containers. The early days saw relatively restrained spending and payroll rarely being made. The business lived hand to mouth, with occasional funding coming in, notably, as later revealed by the press, from a Norwegian drugs baron.

In 2012 the Swiss entity was founded as the parent company, ALEVO GROUP SA. The US companies and the IP that had been developed were consolidated under this umbrella. At the same time the number of employees doubled, with still no revenue and hardly any financing in place. The founder, CEO & Chairman, Jostein Eikeland, had lured away from relatively secure jobs a small army of die casting veterans, later to become known as the “Michigan Mob”, with the lure of generous salaries and life in Florida. For months these people developed plans for Alevo whilst pay was accumulated, to be paid months into the future once funding was secured.

In late 2012 ALEVO GROUP did manage to secure a deal which would allow it to take over fortuPowercell’s IP and to continue developing this. Big ambitions started to materialize, but this also meant that considerable amounts of capital would need to be raised.

Jostein Eikeland needed to have ALEVO GROUP make him his fortune, and initially held 100% of the capital of the company. He had previously started and promoted a series of companies to great fanfare, but which had ultimately turned to dust. The list includes Tonsberg Magnesium Group, which was quoted on the small companies exchange in Sweden and from which large sums of investor monies appeared to have been misappropriated. Meridian Technologies, based in Canada, had been acquired in early 2007 with funding from financial institutions and private investors, but within 18 months the value of the latter’s investment had gone all the way south.

Jostein, who likes to portray himself as a green technology crusader, also heavily promoted EnPro, a Norwegian company that was going to heavily reduce industrial CO2 emissions. In 2008 he had managed to convince a whole series of small savers to put their savings into the business. The following week the company was bankrupt.

In order to maintain the goodwill of these people Jostein promised to reimburse them their investments, and this had to come from his “next big thing”. Some people remembered him as someone who loved to spend money, and when money was in his possession, he was happy to fly on NetJets and to enjoy pushing motorized speedboats to their limits, despite his green credentials.

Jostein made clear that he had learned the lessons from his previous misadventures, and from now on he would be highly mindful of cost controls and looking after shareholders’ money. This all sounded great as he planned to then start using ALEVO GROUP stock as his currency to settle old and present debts[1]. People he owes money to receive Alevo shares whose value will soon be blown to over CHF 100 each. Others traded their skills, IP or other assets for Alevo stock[2]. These people can’t really sell the shares and are therefore locked into the ride Jostein will take them on.


[1] Including one reported annual salary to Mr Hox, another board member, for €750,000 – Source: Dagens Næringsliv, 5 May 2017

[2] For example patent rights sold by Roger Faulkner for Alevo stock when these shares were, on paper, worth $2 million – source: http://elpipes.blogspot.com

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