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Navigating Down Markets: Howard Bornstein of CharterUP Shares Insights on Investment Funding

Published April 20, 2023

CharterUP’s recent $60 million Series A funding led by Tritium Partners was noteworthy – not only for the total amount raised, but also for the challenging market conditions under which it was accomplished. The funding round stands as a testament to CharterUP’s resilience, and the unwavering support of its investors highlights the strong appetite for early-stage companies with potential, even in a down market.

Howard Bornstein, President of CharterUP, recently shared invaluable insights and approaches during a panel discussion on navigating the current economic climate and seizing opportunities. His expertise and strategic fundraising efforts were instrumental in CharterUP’s funding round, propelling the company closer to its vision of revolutionizing the charter bus industry.

Bornstein, originally from Canada, has been making waves in the startup and investment world since moving to the U.S. in 2006. With a background in starting and growing companies, as well as investing in early-stage ventures, Howard brings a wealth of experience to CharterUP. His passion for technology, building things, and helping people is what drives him each day.

“I love technology, I love building things, and I love helping people, and so that’s cheesy, I know, but it’s true. It definitely is what gets me up in the morning and what fires me up when it comes to CharterUP,” Howard shared during the panel discussion.

Howard’s journey with CharterUP began in 2019 when he approached the company seeking investment opportunities.

“I met the team, I heard the vision, I saw what was happening and I was sold,” he recalled.

However, CharterUP leaders at the time informed him that they didn’t need his money but could certainly use his advice. Howard’s guidance since has been instrumental in helping CharterUP navigate periods of growth as well as challenges, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were bootstrapped up until last year and went through some really hard decisions and hard times during COVID when we saw a negative 95 percent demand shock overnight,” Bornstein recounted.

CharterUP’s resilience and strategic investments in technology enabled the company to weather the downturn. Now, CharterUP is leveraging its data, expertise and capital to support the motorcoach industry’s recovery from the pandemic. The successful Series A funding round has positioned CharterUP to extend help to bus operators, despite the long and challenging fundraising process.

“The timeline was long, and we felt the impact of the market fluctuations, but we had investors who were interested in what we’re doing, even though they were not necessarily investing in the same way. We had some interesting conversations, but in the end, we found three or four firms that were a perfect match for us, and the rest is history,” Howard shared.

Bornstein acknowledged that the fundraising process can be arduous, but he emphasized the importance of perseverance and finding investors who share the vision and potential of the company. While some may attribute CharterUP’s success to “luck,” Bornstein prefers to call it “good fortune,” resulting from the convergence of hard work and favorable circumstances.

“I call it good fortune, which is hard work and luck coming together,” he said with gratitude.

For more insights and tips from Bornstein about navigating down markets and finding investors, watch the full TiE panel below.