EPISODE 300

Hyliion CEO Thomas Healy Makes the Connection with ICE

33 minutes · May 2, 2022

In the final installment of our special series of episodes featuring the stars of ICE’s global “Make the Connection” campaign, we spend time with Thomas Healy, CEO and Founder of Hyliion (NYSE: HYLN). Thomas and his team at Hyliion are relentlessly driving toward a greener energy future with bold innovations in the transportation sector. Thomas walks us through the company’s origins from college brainchild to its debut on the NYSE, and what it was like telling his story on stage.

Speaker 1:

From the library of the New York Stock Exchange at the corner of Wall and Broad Streets in New York city, you're Inside the ICE House, our podcast from Intercontinental Exchange on markets, leadership, and vision and global business. The dream drivers that have made the NYSE an indispensable institution of global growth for over or 225 years.

Speaker 1:

Each week, we feature stories of those who hatch plans, create jobs, and harness the engine of capitalism. Right here, right now at the NYSE, and at ICE's exchanges and clearing houses around the world. And now welcome in Inside the ICE House, here's your host, Josh King of Intercontinental Exchange.

Josh King:

Welcome back to the fifth and alas, final installment in our special series of Inside the ICE House podcasts about connecting people with opportunity. Our companion project, with a featured cast of ICE's new Make the Connection global marketing campaign. What a long, strange, actually wonderful trip it's been. And that's what I'm going to be talking to you about today. Getting from point A to point B, sometimes hauling tons of goods from coast to coast, and here's the kicker, using net negative carbon emissions.

Josh King:

But first some news from here on Wall Street, ICE recently announced the launch of our new partnership with McLaren Racing. We are now an official sponsor of McLaren's Extreme E team, the innovative new series that features all electric off-road competition with male and female drivers behind the wheel, in some of the most exotic locations in the world. The very race car that McLaren uses to compete in the deserts, in the forests, by the sea, and on the mountains was parked right here at the corner of Wall and Broad Streets in all of its glimmering, papaya and new blue splendor.

Josh King:

This almost 4,000 pound car is unlike anything you've seen before. It's wheels are gargantuan to endure the off-road terrain, the chassis elevated high above the ground to protect driver and engine from the mud, sand, and ice, wherever the team competes. And this bears repeating, but the car uses some of the most innovative electric drivetrain technology to push it ahead of its competitors.

Josh King:

While the racing SUV from McLaren in front of our neoclassical architecture was a site to behold, it did serve as a good reminder of how far we've come with cars in this country. The automobile revolutionized America. It connected far flung parts of our vast country and humbled the very notion of distance. Cars have become a central object in our lives, a part of the family, really. Many of us spend hours in them, from the road trips we embark on during warm summer months, visiting a national park or a remote locale, the more routine things we do every week, like taking the kids to practice or commuting to work.

Josh King:

The US Department of Transportation estimates that Americans spend about one hour driving every day. And it's no wonder then that we care so much about what we're driving and how we're getting there. Some of us pay meticulous attention to details, makes and models rolling off factory floors. While others, like a certain CEO I know, have a penchant for collecting, repairing, and rejiggering elite European sports cars and other treasures on the weekend.

Josh King:

There's other people behind the wheel of vehicles a whole lot bigger than a 1970 Porsche 917K. The US Census Bureau says there's about three point five million people who work as truck drivers in this country, and we need every damn one of them, given the supply chain crisis we're facing. They like their rigs. They like to ride in style. And increasingly they're going to play a big role in the energy transition.

Josh King:

You see, we rely on trucks and cars to fuel our lives and almost everything we touch in a supermarket or a big box store spent time on a truck on its way to our shopping cart. The problem is that those 18 wheelers that carry our food, our electronics, heck even our cars themselves are also the number one greenhouse gas emitter in the US. And stands to reason that this industry, which has been in the news of late, could use some old fashion disruption.

Josh King:

Where others saw a problem, Thomas Healy saw an opportunity. In 2015, only in his mid 20s, he founded a company called Hyliion, a bold new entrant in the electric vehicle space born out of the idea that real change is both necessary and possible in the transportation sector. While other electric vehicle companies have focused on building cars for personal use, Thomas focused on refitting and re-engineering models by creating powertrain structures that lowered the cost of ownership and leveraged alternative fuel infrastructure.

Josh King:

Thomas Healy and Hyliion, they're in a mission to eliminate carbon intensity and reduce the greenhouse gas emission coming out of all those big rigs. Much like ICE, data is helping them push the boundaries of where and how fast net zero trucks can get here.

Josh King:

Last fall, Hyliion on went public on the New York Stock Exchange through a SPAC combination, and began trading as NYSE ticker symbol, HYLN. We here at ICE are no strangers to the energy transition, we're home to the world's largest and most liquid environmental markets, and have been a leader in this space since we bought the Climate Exchange for just over 600 million in 2010. And just this year, we announced that an estimated $1 trillion in notional value, or about half the world's estimated total annual energy related emissions footprint traded right here on our markets.

Josh King:

ICE is also a key player in creating and launching new data products that help investors understand the ESG impact their decision making. We recognize the immense opportunity that exists in finding new and better ways to fuel our lives, and the complex details involved with transitioning away from other sources of energy.

Josh King:

Thomas's line in our ad that you've heard it a few times now is, I'm going to quote here, "Opportunity is driving the world forward to a greener energy future. And really few topics have more meaning or more importance these days, when we talk about the energy transition. And as part of our behind the scenes series of our Make the Connection campaign, we wanted to a way to show how we're thinking about it, and helping our customers navigate that transition to a more sustainable future. We wanted a person who embodied that entrepreneurial spirit, who was looking at the problem in a different way and transforming something. In this case, trucking transportation into something elegant that's reached shaping our world and the planet in the process.

Josh King:

Thomas Heal and Hyliion are relentlessly pursuing a more environmentally and economically sound feature. A deciding factor in asking him to be one of our connectors was because of his embrace of the role that innovation plays in driving to a greener future. Thomas's deep seeded entrepreneurship, and work as an inventor are equally tenets of ICE's own culture that Thomas feels to his bones. Our conversation with Thomas Healy is coming up right after you hear just one more time. I's make the connection ad featuring Zak Brown, Egypt, Sherrod, Peter Tuchman, and Rose Han, Brett and Jada Evans, all of whom you've met on this show in previous weeks. Thanks for taking this journey with us. Now, one more time, take a listen.

Speaker 3:

Connecting the opportunity is just part of the hustle.

Speaker 4:

Opportunity is using data to create a competitive advantage.

Speaker 5:

It's raising capital to help companies change the world.

Speaker 6:

It's making complicated financial concepts seems simple.

Speaker 7:

Opportunity is making the dream of home ownership, a reality.

Speaker 8:

Writing new rules and redefining the game.

Thomas Healy:

And driving the world forward to a greener energy future.

Speaker 10:

Opportunity is setting a goal.

Speaker 11:

And charging a course to get there.

Speaker 3:

Sometimes the only thing standing between you and opportunity is someone who can make the connection.

Speaker 12:

At ICE, we connect people to opportunity.

Josh King:

So let me set the scene for you. We are in a vast performing arts center in Southern Florida, not far from the Hard Rock Stadium, where the Miami Dolphins play. Our production team and director, Anh Vu, have made the place look just like a TED Talk, right down to the audience members who sign up to hear a visionary lecture from a guy like Elon Musk, or in this case, Thomas Healy.

Josh King:

Thomas plays the role well walking downstage toward the camera, presenting his vision of what the global energy transition looks like in the transportation industry. The set designers are pumping fog to get the light just right in that TED Talk scene. As the camera pans out from the truck that Erin Ashley Simon just had up on her gaming screen in the ICE ad, using green screens and special effects, we see Thomas standing in front of the crowd, delivering his revelatory vision for what the world could look like.

Josh King:

After shooting wrapped, we spent about a half hour talking to Thomas about his experience being in ICE's ad, what led him to found Hyliion, and how his company sets itself apart. Here's my conversation with Thomas Healy.

Josh King:

So Thomas, opportunity is driving toward a greener energy future. How many times do you have to say that?

Thomas Healy:

I'm guessing at least 50 takes, thankfully, not all of them were my fault of why we needed to redo them. Many of them were, but sometimes it was lighting and little changes just to get the right angle. But I've got it down, it's a phrase I'll never forget at this point.

Josh King:

How's the experience so far?

Thomas Healy:

From my end, it was just fascinating to see how all of this comes together. It's a massive orchestration to pull something like this together. It actually gave me a new appreciation of what it must take to actually go film a movie, because we're thinking a 60 second commercial here versus a two hour movie. I can only imagine what needs to go into something like that.

Josh King:

I mean, you have so many customers that you're working with, like Wegmans Supermarkets, Peterbilt, Navistar. I mean, these people make advertising all the time. It must fill you with dread that this is actually what it really requires.

Thomas Healy:

It definitely does. And it just gives you a new appreciation, and it's a business that I just didn't know much about, and you get to come in here and watch experts in their field, really go execute on something. And be a small part of it was a great experience.

Josh King:

Technology CEO, in Fort Lauderdale lights, camera, action. How did this all come about today?

Thomas Healy:

ICE reached out to us, and expressed, "Hey, you guys are a newly listed company on the New York Stock Exchange. Would you be interested in participating in a commercial with us?" And from our end, our one of our big goals right now is get our message, get our brand out there. We think we're doing something that ultimately is going to change the world. And we want people to know about it. We want people to be part of this experience with us, and so thrilled to be a part of what was going on today.

Josh King:

I mean, it's right in the sweet spot of what the New York Stock Exchange always says, that it's helping companies raise the capital that they need so that they can go out and change the world. I mean, Thomas, you made the connection, you created the opportunity with a guy named John Tuttle, who reached out to you. What was it like going public at the NYSE through the SPAC combination?

Thomas Healy:

So one word, distill it all down, it was surreal. Every founder, their dream is to go grow their company, to scale it, to have the capital, you need to really be able to go make an impact. And taking Hyliion public, it really gave us all those resources that we needed in order to go execute on the business plan. And so, for us, it was a surreal experience. The memory I'll all always have is standing on the floor, and then we're ringing the bell. It was an interesting thing, because it was during COVID and we were one of the first companies to actually come and do an opening in person. But having the trucks parked out front, having the banners up, unbelievable as a founder.

Josh King:

It's a surreal experience for me to watch this kid from Massachusetts say this line, "Opportunity is driving toward a greener energy future," about 50 time today. Where did it all start for you? And where did you grow up?

Thomas Healy:

I grew up in the Boston area, hobby, passion growing up was in the racing world in motorsports. From there, I actually went to Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh for engineering school, stayed there through undergrad, stayed on for master's program. And then ultimately started Hyliion, while I was there in the mechanical engineering master's program. The rest is history. Ultimately, moved the headquarters down to Austin, Texas, and that's our home base now.

Josh King:

I don't know if you spent a lot of Friday nights at the Seekonk Raceway or Palmer Motorsports Park, but I'm curious about your memories of being on the go-kart circuit. And how did you find your way into the cockpit of a race car in the first place?

Thomas Healy:

I've never driven Seekonk, but I've been to many demolition derbies at Seekonk. I was doing more road course racing, so it'd be left and rights, and everything from go-karts all the way up to formula cars. And, for me, it was this experience of being able to really learn about vehicles, learn about engineering of how a vehicle comes together, and how you really push the limits of perform performance.

Thomas Healy:

And when you kind of distill it down, that's the same thing we're doing with trucking. We're looking at how trucks are today and how can we push the boundaries of what is possible as we go forward. And electrification is going to be a major transformative shift for this industry, but the best part about it is fleets actually want to do this. It's not a technology that fleets are not looking forward to, or they're resistant to change. That's not the case at all. These fleets actually want to be part of this shift towards electrification.

Josh King:

As part of ICE's campaign, this Make the Connection campaign, connecting people with opportunity. We're going to be hanging out with Zak Brown at McLaren headquarters outside of London next week, and Zak's going to be in this ad too. And you're welcome join in if you can make your way to London. But I saw that you tweeted out from an F1 race in Austin. What did you think that the Drive to Survive series on Netflix has done for the sport in terms of creating opportunity?

Thomas Healy:

It's been transformative. I mean, I think you took a group of individuals who, frankly, weren't all that interested in F1 and you have people super excited about it. People that don't know much about motorsports or hadn't known much about it. Now, they're following it on a weekly basis. From my end, I haven't watched all the series, it's been fun to follow, and you get a different respect for what goes on behind the walls, outside of the track, when you actually watch the Netflix series.

Josh King:

You mentioned earlier, you played football and Lacrosse at Thayer Academy and Braintree, but it was the Physics Olympics that you were captain in. How did you balance sports and academics? And what did you say to the guys who were wondering about a robotics nerd in the huddle?

Thomas Healy:

This is actually something, through high school I played a lot of sports, and even in college, I went on to play football there as well. Now I will preface it with, I was a punter, so being in the huddle that happens pretty infrequently as a punter. But what I found is through high school, through college, it's about getting involved. It's about really looking at what opportunities are out there and learning from them. And the years when you're in school, you kind of have this safety net under you, where you can go try new things. And ultimately if you don't like them, or it's not the right fit for you, you can go course correct and go try something else.

Thomas Healy:

And that's what I really embraced and tried to do while I was in high school and college. So everything from, as you said, Physics Olympics, all the way to playing football, to starting companies, while in college, I tried it all.

Josh King:

I mean, talking about starting companies, while other kids were majoring in the physics of beer kegs at Carnegie Mellon, you developed the E-axle powered by lithium ion batteries for the drivetrains of traditional Class 8 long haul trucks. I mean, tell us how you happened upon that idea.

Thomas Healy:

As I mentioned before, growing up my hobby was race car driving, and so lot about cars and automobiles through that also knew about semi-trucks, because all racing equipment gets moved around in 18 wheelers. And so it was really one of these ideas of like, well, why do passenger cars have hybrid technology and electric technology, but trucks didn't yet. And then you dive in and you put your engineering hat on. You look at like, all right, all the physics behind batteries and motors, and you get to a point you realize, now's the right time. Battery technology's evolve so much, costs have come dramatically down, and we were at the right point where we could actually apply electrification to trucking in a cost effective way. And that's why we started Hyliion.

Josh King:

So who was Thomas Healy at the time that you started Hyliion? I mean 2015, the lore says that you were an entrepreneur, a mechanical engineer, and a sports racer. Tell us about the moment that light bulb goes off in your head and said, "It's actually time to form a company to solve this problem."

Thomas Healy:

The light bulb moment was definitely the Rice Business Plan Competition. So for anyone who doesn't know about that, it's really a program for graduate students, where you take a business plan and idea, you pitch it to Rice University, and then they bring in about 40 different teams from all different universities, and you compete. And you pitch your concept. You've got venture capitalist, private equity individuals in the audience, and they give you feedback, and they help you refine and change your business plan. And for us it was a amazing process. And we came out, having won a lot of awards there, we raised some capital through that program. And then we kind of got to this point of it's like, this is real. People want this technology. There's a right market opportunity there. Let's go do this.

Josh King:

In terms of finding the opportunity, getting into the Rice competition is one thing, but leaving the Rice competition and talking to investors, totally different thing. I mean, how did you make those connections and create that opportunity for yourself?

Thomas Healy:

One of the nice things was that these competitions we competed in, Rice being one, MassChallenge, the Department of Energy, they were great networks for us to actually be able to meet people while we were there. And we would make our pitches, and then people would come up to us and say, "Hey, I want to talk to you after this, because I really like what you're doing. I think you're onto something. Maybe this is something I can either connect you with someone, or I could personally be interested in investing in Hyliion." And it was those opportunities that allowed us to really just grow this network of individuals who became passionate about trucking, thought that electrification was the future, and putt their capital would work to go make it happen

Josh King:

In terms that an average Instagramer might be able to understand, a big truck is breaking its way down a 10% grade down a slope and a highway. How is that action actually creating energy that's going to be recaptured reused on the way back up the hill?

Thomas Healy:

The normal term used is regen breaking. Now, when I first thought of regen breaking, I thought it'd be like, oh, they must be doing something with the brakes when they squeeze on the rotors, like they're capturing that heat or something. And then you dive in and you realize, oh, well, electric motors cannot only apply torque, but they can actually do regen breaking and capture energy and produce electricity. So that's how it works, you have this E-axle with an electric motor hooked to it. And that motor can act as a generator to actually produce electricity, to charge the batteries up. So you're taking all that mass going downhill, but you're slowing the vehicle down a little bit, and producing electricity as you're going.

Josh King:

How do you calculate the savings in energy by using compressed natural gas instead of diesel? I mean, how much of it is going to go to reducing carbon emissions?

Thomas Healy:

When you think about a diesel truck today, there's big issues with CO2 and NOx. When you think about renewable natural gas, which for anyone who doesn't know about that, it's basically a process of capturing emissions coming off of landfills and dairy farms, and using those emissions to actually produce electricity to drive a truck. So the way our vehicle works is, it takes RNG, renewable natural gas, converts into electric as you're driving, and trickle charges the batteries. So about emissions, though, you're basically taking pollution and using that as your power source. And so you can actually to get to a point where your net carbon negative or below zero from an emissions profile standpoint.

Josh King:

A kid from Easton, a kid from Newton, not likely to grow up and be a trucker, but the big truck is part of American lore sitting side by side with the nation's rail lines to get goods where they need to go. What's your message to makers of long haul rigs and those who drive them about how they can be part of the solution, not part of the problem?

Thomas Healy:

First off, trucking is the backbone of our economy. And I would challenge you on, can you think of anything that at one point in its life, wasn't moved on a semi-truck? And the answer is no, you really can't. I mean, everything in this room at one point saw a semi-truck. And we're at this point today where the shift is happening, I think the industry knows it's not a if it's going to happen, it's a when it's going to happen. And the nice thing we're seeing is fleets are very supportive of this shift to a green initiative.

Thomas Healy:

And one of the things that they're excited about our product is that we can actually reduce their operating costs as well. We're not only bringing forward the emissions benefit, also bringing forward a cost benefit. Ultimately, our long term goal is get trucks to a net zero or net negative emissions profile, and also be able to reduce the cost of all the goods that we buy today.

Josh King:

I was looking at your website last night and I'm curious, because of it seems elegant and simple, but how long does it actually take to convert a truck from the lot of a Peterbilt or Navistar powered by diesel that those truckers love so much to one with your hybrid drivetrain? What's involved? And how does the driving experience actually change as a result?

Thomas Healy:

With the hybrid product, it's really a bolt-on system. So what we do is we go in and replace one of the axles with an E-axle, and then we bolt our battery pack onto the frame rail of the truck. And this is a process that it's not a full overhaul of the truck, so it can be done pretty quickly, but then you can get that truck back out on the road, reducing emissions, reducing how much fuel it uses, or adding more power to the vehicle to make it a better experience for fleets. And then with our hyper truck product, which is the full electric one, our long term goal is that actually gets installed on the truck, right from the factory on a brand new vehicle. So very similar to you buy a Peterbilt truck today and it's got a Cummins engine in it. Our goal is you buy a Peterbilt truck, Hyliion on powertrain, and right off the lot, it's ready to go and reduce emissions, and save costs.

Josh King:

I was watching one of the videos from the Wegmans truckers, and they're talking about the experience of driving their 18 wheeler, but it's a lot more quiet. What are they actually feeling behind the wheel or when they've pressed down the accelerator?

Thomas Healy:

It is a loud, very noisy, lot of vibration, lot of smells of diesel fuel experience, and so a lot of drivers push back on that. They don't like it. It's not things that you normally would have to experience in an office work environment. So when you think about an electric truck, it's almost silent, it's not making a lot of pollution, so then the smells aren't there. You're using renewable natural gas, which doesn't have smells to it. And then the vibrations are drastically reduced, because you don't have a internal combustion engine firing on all cylinders and rattling the whole truck.

Thomas Healy:

And so for a driver, it's a game changing experience. And one that we actually think, in a world today where there's a huge driver shortage, that fleets will actually leverage electric vehicles as a way to actually retain drivers. Because right now there is a massive problem, of there's not enough truck drivers out there to move all the goods that need to be moved across this country. And so driver retention through electric vehicles, we think is another added benefit of the product.

Josh King:

You say, Thomas, that your vision is for a global net carbon negative commercial transportation industry that is ambitious, real, and achievable through our technology. I'm curious, when did you realize ambitious, achievable, and real is possible?

Thomas Healy:

It was when we really dove into all the facts around natural gas and renewable natural gas, and not too long ago renewable natural gas was a new thing to many people. And when you start to dive to realize, hey, infrastructure is out there, there's over 700 natural gas stations that you can pull into today, refuel. The emissions profiles are great. It can be net carbon negative, and the costs are practical. Natural gas prices can be between a third or a half the cost of what diesel is today. And so when you couple that all together, it's like, hey, this is a no brainer.

Thomas Healy:

And then when you look at it as well, where infrastructure will be the biggest problem of electric trucks. Right now, there is no charging infrastructure out there for semis versus that already exists with natural gas. So it was really when looking at all those facts, we realized that this could be a game changer solution that could be implemented in the very near term.

Josh King:

Sticking with what I learned from what you guys showed off at Wegmans, you know that fleet owners are being pushed to reduce their emissions and their costs while maintaining their fleet's performance. A challenge that has historically really been unsolvable, given some history here, why was that unsolvable?

Thomas Healy:

I think we've been rooted in this environment where diesel was one of the only options that fleets had. Now, natural gas vehicles had come out a handful of years ago. And unfortunately there was a lot of maintenance issues with them and reliability problems. So fleets have been notoriously just had this dilemma of, hey, the only solution out there is diesel, and 99% of the market runs on diesel right now.

Thomas Healy:

And so as we think about this shift towards electrification, you're basically taking a market that has one solution and you're now totally flipping that on its head, doing a totally new design of the powertrain. And we look at where technology is today, it's just getting to the point where now it's practical to actually have electric semi-trucks. And that's why you're seeing so much tailwind and momentum coming behind actually making these products real.

Josh King:

I'm curious about the culture at Hyliion, because we've been talking to this sort of theoretical audience today from the stage, but you talk to your employees all the time. You say that, "We embrace an open road mentality," and use words that you don't commonly associate with a trucking life like seeking adventure, and pursuing innovation and discovery. What's an open road mentality for Hyliion?

Thomas Healy:

One of our core values is change the world, and everything we do on a daily basis revolves around that. We believe that the solutions, the products that we're developing will have an everlasting impact on the planet as we know it today. And we're faced with a big problem, emissions are here, climate change, GHG emissions, it's real. And it's having an impact on the weather that we have on a daily basis. And so if we can have an impact on that and change the world, then this is something that it's not really just a 9:00 to 5:00 job to our employee base. It's something that they can leave an everlasting impact. And it's an opportunity that maybe only comes around once in a lifetime.

Josh King:

Another one of the values that you have at the company is act with integrity. The old adage to do what's right, no matter who's looking. And in the electric vehicle business space over the past few years, that's sometimes been in question. How do you navigate through that thicket?

Thomas Healy:

The philosophy we've had is everything we do on a day-to-day basis needs to be of the highest integrity. So that goes from our supplier interactions to working with customers, to how we work with each other within the four walls of Hyliion. And the industry has been faced with some problems, but ultimately, we've been able to stay heads down, work closely with the fleets that are interested in our solutions, and deploy products that we believe can have a big impact.

Josh King:

When you look at your number of employees, Thomas, you are not huge. You don't have a large manufacturing plant. And instead you partner with manufacturers like Dana Corp, so that you can do the designing and they can do the building. Why not build that mega plant and do it all by yourself, like Elon Musk?

Thomas Healy:

Going after an industry and trying to change it is tough, and there's kind of the look at it of like how much can you really bite off? And our philosophy was, we've got a revolutionary technology, but if we try to go do everything ourselves, we maybe never get to the finish line and maybe we're never successful. And so that's where we looked and we said, "Look, we've got a core technology that we know a lot about. We are really strong at this. There are other players that can help offset some of the things that maybe we don't have that IP within our four walls."

Thomas Healy:

And so from that standpoint, we took the approach of stay asset light, work with others, so leverage others' manufacturing capabilities, leverage others' service networks, and use that to accelerate our time to market and improve the reliability of the product overall. So that's been our philosophy since day one. And we think it's a key differentiator compared to some of those who are trying, trying to take on building the entire vehicle.

Josh King:

Thomas, you went public in a SPAC merger, which is one of the specialties of the New York Stock Exchange, with Tortoise Acquisition Corporation. How had you been thinking about taking the next step from venture funding? And what was the marriage with Tortoise like?

Thomas Healy:

We were at a point through our evolution where we knew we were going to go out and raise more capital, and we looked at, should we keep the company private? Should we go public? Should we go public through an IPO? Through a SPAC? We had various options we were looking at. And ultimately, we found that going through the SPAC process was a very efficient way to go-to-market. Going public allowed us to raise the capital that we needed to really be able to go execute it on our business plan. And ultimately, it comes down to, when looking at SPAC, who are you going to work with through that process?

Thomas Healy:

And we found when we met with the Tortoise team, they were a group that not only understood our technology, not only were a very smart group and could actually give us advice on how to improve the business plan, but they were enjoyable individuals to work with. And so with the SPAC process, you kind of lock hands. And you go at this process together and tortoises was the right fit for us. And couldn't be happier with how that process went to get the company public.

Josh King:

As we wrap up, Thomas, you've got companies with huge fleets of trucks like FedEx, UPS, XPO Logistics, all New York Stock Exchange listed, I should say, by the way, do they sign up for a complete retrofit of their fleets? How do you sell them on the idea?

Thomas Healy:

Fleets all take a very logical approach to adoption of new technologies. They look and they say, "All right, does this work as a high level?" And a lot of them are looking at our fleet and saying, "Yes," but then they're going to start adopting it in low volumes within their operations, proving out that it really meets the objectives that we've laid out. And then for them it's a decision of when they go buy new trucks, what powertrain are they going to spec in that vehicle?

Thomas Healy:

And that creates an amazing business opportunity for us, because you take a fleet that operate four or 5,000 trucks, they're buying a 1,000 new trucks every single year. And so for us, our goal is, we're going to be the powertrain of choice as they go ahead and adopt more vehicles. And that allows us to be able to scale the organization at a very fast clip.

Josh King:

In the little over a year that you've been a public company, how have your opportunities changed in terms of selling in the boardroom, selling to the C-suite, selling to the leaders of these truck fleets?

Thomas Healy:

Taking Hyliion public, truly created a tremendous amount of opportunities. And we saw it on multiple fronts. It allowed us to recruit more and very strong talent. It allowed us to make relationships with suppliers and others in the industry that, as a private company, we may not have been able to do. And it gave us the opportunity to have the capital that we needed to really go execute on the plan ahead of us. It was an invaluable experience for us. And one that we think will have many positive benefits for the years ahead here. We can't wait to see what the future holds

Josh King:

For all this trajectory since Carnegie Mellon, Thomas, since funding Hyliion, since going public, what's been the best part of being a public company CEO? And what's been the worst?

Thomas Healy:

One thing is you got to take all the ups with some downs as well. And one of the challenging things has just been how much the market has shifted both in some instances positively, and some instances, as we were talking about before, it has been a challenging market for some of the electric vehicle companies that came out public. So those were definitely some of the challenges.

Thomas Healy:

But the benefits and the pros of going public significantly outweighed some of those challenges. Getting ready for earnings calls, can sometimes be a little stressful, just because you got so much information you need to pull together for one call. But those are some of the unintended consequences that come with becoming a public company.

Josh King:

Thanks a lot, Thomas, for coming down to Florida, spending the day with us, and helping us share this message.

Thomas Healy:

Thank you. Appreciate you having us.

Josh King:

That's our conversation for this week. Our guest was Thomas Healy, founder and CEO of Hyliion. That's NYSE ticker symbol, HYLN. If you like what you heard, please rate us on iTunes, so other folks know where to find us. And if you've got a comment or question, you'd like one of our experts to tackle on a future show, email us at [email protected] or tweet at us @ICEHousePodcast. Our show is produced by Stephan Capriles, with production assistance from Pete Ash, Ken Abel, and Ian Wolff. I'm Josh King, your host, signing off from the library of the New York Stock Exchange. Thanks for listening. Talk to you next week.

Speaker 1:

Information contained in this podcast was obtained in part from available sources and not independently verified. Neither ICE nor it's affiliates, make any representations or warranties, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of the information, and do not sponsor, approve, or endorse any of the content herein. All of which is presented solely for informational and educational purposes. Nothing herein constitution offered to sell, a solicitation of an offered to any security, or a recommendation of any security or trading practice. Some portions of the preceding conversation may have edited for the purpose of length or clarity.

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Information contained in this podcast was obtained in part from publicly available sources, and not independently verified. Neither ICE nor its affiliates make any representations or warranties, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of the information and do not sponsor, approve, or endorse any of the content herein, all of which is presented solely for informational and educational purposes. Nothing herein constitutes an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy any security, or a recommendation of any security or trading practice.