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Finnish CVC Helen Ventures invests in e-Mobility and impact startup

&Charge GmbH, a German e-Mobility and impact startup, has closed an investment round led by Finland’s Helen Ventures,the venture arm of the energy company, and Porsche Ventures. This Seed+ investment round allows the Frankfurt-based startup to further accelerate the development of its digital platform in Europe. 

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Launched in January 2020, &Charge has established the first sustainable loyalty program for e-Mobility in Europe and has built up a strong community of EV drivers and reputation on the market. Additional services and partnerships have been launched and are currently available in six European markets.

&Charge’s inception

“We have been involved with E-Mobility since a decade” explains Simon Vogt, Co-Founder and CSO when asked about the company’s origins and how they came together with Founder and CEO of &Charge, Eugen Letkemann. “ We know each other from creating the first digital business models in EV ecosystem at Porsche (car manufacturer, OEM). We experienced that there’s huge potential for new, innovative business models in this EV ecosystem since this is a complex value chain which is focusing on operating infrastructure and selling energy/kWh.”

“So, from a B2B perspective that means selling kWh is a commodity and it’s quite hard to realize value and differentiation out of it. And from a B2C (EV driver) perspective there are quite a lot of open questions and real pain points that are not answered yet and furthermore a user-centric, holistic approach is completely missing.

We were convinced that if we could find a unique value proposition for EV drivers, we are able to establish a company on this first strong proposition – referring to this initial spark we had the chance to participate in an Porsche-internal incubation program where the idea was sharpened, the business model was designed, and a final proof of concept has been proven.  

After successful proof of concept the idea came into real live in early 2020 where we launched the first ever sustainable loyalty program for EV charging in Europe. Solving the user’s pain point of Total Cost of Ownership due to high prices for public charging (value proposition). Based on that strong foundation we reached our first milestones, developed new features and a scaled the our services to six European markets by now. By heart we are addicted to user-centricity. Every new service follows this addiction and is built on clear user value.” says Vogt.

The product

&Charge is the engagement and value-added service platform for e-Mobility in Europe. The company provids cutting-edge solutions for B2C and B2B EV charging explains Vogt.

“Our main focus lies on:

  1. Being the companion for EV charging: The &Charge app for EV drivers (B2C) makes charging more affordable, reliable, and fun and improves the daily charging experience. EV drivers get rewarded with bonus points (“&Charge kilometers”) for shopping and activities, they can rely on other user’s reviews of charging stations or use the marketplace for sharing private charging stations.
  2. Offering a one-stop-shop-platform for value-added EV services: &Charge’s B2B solutions bring additional benefits to partners in the EV-ecosystem such as Charge Point Operators (CPOs), e-Mobility Service Providers (EMPs) and Roaming Providers. Among others, CPOs can benefit from direct user feedback on charging station level as a kind of “remote maintenance” based on crowd-sourced data, EMPs and Roaming platforms can rely on enhanced and quality-assured POI data for charging stations or CPOs/EMPs can join the ecosystem as an acceptance partner using &Charge bonus points to increase their customer loyalty and attract new users.

We have been a climate-neutral company since its foundation in 2019. We’re not only avoid, reduce, and compensate the CO2 emissions of our own business activities, but also those of our users. We’re part of several sustainability initiatives such as Leaders for Climate Action.” he adds.

What’s next

“We’re strongly working on our vision becoming Europe’s leading platform for user engagement and value-added services around EV-charging.So we’re now scaling our business quite fast. That means, that we extend our footprint throughout Europe, develop new features and hire new talents. As mentioned before, since the EV market is ramping up quite fast and the value creation is focusing on selling kWh we’re convinced to have a huge impact on the EV charging market already by now and even more in the future by bringing benefits to EV drivers as well as to B2B partners in the EV ecosystem.” says Vogt about the company’s future plans

“We are pleased to have found such strong and renowned partners for our further growth path. Since e-Mobility is on the rise it is the perfect moment for us to scale our business fast. This investment gives us the chance to continue realizing our vision of becoming Europe’s leading platform for user engagement & value-added services around EV-charging. The funding will be used to extend our team, launch new markets and further develop our products and services”, said Eugen Letkemann, Founder and CEO of &Charge.

“The e-Mobility sector is currently rapidly accelerating and providing exciting opportunities for innovation and growth. When moving from early adopters towards the mass market, we observe a big need in the customer engagement and loyalty applications. &Charge solution offers significant advantages for consumers as well as for e-Mobility business users. The differentiated value proposition and the experienced founding team were two key criteria driving our investment”, said Terhi Vapola, Vice President, Head and Founder of Helen Ventures.

“The unique digital service offering as well as the relationship to EV-customers and charging infrastructure providers of &Charge is in perfect alignment with our e-mobility strategy. Sales figures of our all-electric Taycan sports car are rising steadily which is why we are convinced that customer demand for innovative, digital offerings related to EVs will continue to grow. Therefore, we’re looking forward to increase the sustainable driving and charging experience for Porsche customers together with &Charge”, said Patrick Huke, Head of Porsche Ventures, Europe & Israel.

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