“…..the mobility industry is more interconnected. It's not a business where one player takes it all, it's a matter of interlinking wealth and playing along with different partners”
How did your start-ups come about?
RiDERgy: My background is in energy and I've been following the energy transition for quite a while.The biggest challenge, I would say currently in the energy transition is to solve the volatility of renewables in a cost effective manner. To do this requires smart ways and I really believe that EV can play a crucial role because they have this flexible demand. Storage within that is also basically cost free, it's there, it's paid for by the vehicle. It allows us to be efficient about resources and not install too much extra stationary storage. We also now have this AI wave coming. Ultimately, it's all about just being smart and data driven.
Mobilyze: I've been in the data analytics business for about eight years and became fascinated by how you can solve problems with data that is widely available. Previously this wasn’t possible because we didn't have computing power to process and generate the data. After building a team, together we saw the opportunity in e-mobility, especially EV charging and shifted our focus. We realised that to actually support the growing demand for Electric vehicles this would require millions of EV chargers. But, having an entire country covered in chargers didn’t seem ideal. Instead, we wanted this arranged in a more systematic way and began exploring where to efficiently place EV chargers and how to support these decisions with data.
Why the Baloise Mobility Accelerator?
RiDERgy: It was clear that this accelerator was specialised in mobility and also very interested in electrification (which is our focus area) . Baloise, as an insurance company, is for me, also especially interesting from a risk evaluation perspective. Finally, the fact Baloise could potentially invest in us was a further plus point.
Mobilyze: We’ve previously been a part of a couple of competitions that were focused specifically on Electric Vehicle charging and energy. In contrast, we were drawn to this accelerator’s focus on mobility as a whole. It sounded very good in terms of looking for new opportunities + new ideas as well as thinking a little bit outside of the box. This was quite important because we've been working on the project for a while and getting an outsider perspective is very nice. On top of that I would also like to point out that there's the involvement from Spark Works and Sparkademy. The Sparkademy module is very valuable, because it provides a very structured way on how to build a start-up. So even though we’ve already been through this process, it's very good to re-evaluate and go through it over again, in a more organised and systematic way.
Is there anything that has pleasantly surprised you so far during this accelerator?
RiDERgy: I’m definitely enjoying the inspirational breakfast talks - I've been drawing quite a few insights from there. I also found the transparency from the mobility experts - around how they approach this new innovation line of mobility, sharing their strategy and how decision making processes are found to also be pretty valuable. Finally, I really like the fact that we have an assigned person that is there for us every week, giving us feedback, mobilising resources we might need and introducing us to key people within the ecosystem. I'm looking forward to also getting support on “tangible” things such as getting a revamp of our pitch deck and website as well as some introductions to very interesting people within the ecosystem
Mobilyze: Yeah, I totally agree - dedicated mentors/coaches are very valuable. It makes the experience more personalised because it's not just completely generic learning materials that you would just go through. Instead, we really go deeper into the problems that we have ( the challenges and obstacles) that we need to overcome. This approach is great because sometimes, if you're stuck in your work, you just need a little nudge. A person that goes through everything with you and can help you spot a solution right in front of you. Often, with a fresh pair of eyes you realise the answer is right there!
What has it been like participating in a virtual accelerator? Has “zoom fatigue” been a thing?
RiDERgy: Even though we are remote, and it's tough with COVID times, from day 1 Baloise really tried to create human connections. I also would like to highlight that even virtually, the way we were introduced to other participants was very well organised. Pavel and I have had some chats here and there - hopefully, this will continue even beyond the accelerator. Also, quite a few of the start-ups are similarly from Berlin and we’ve managed to meet up in person
Mobilyze: Definitely. A lot of the accelerators do not focus a lot on building a community with the start-ups that they have in the portfolio, which is a big mistake. I'm glad that Claudio brought this up, because it's very valuable to have somebody to speak with. Only by speaking with other start-ups have I realised that we are all going through similar problems - which is comforting and also important to recognise.
Why is being a part of the mobility ecosystem so important? Why is collaborating with other players so important? Aren’t you ultimately competing against one another?
RiDERgy: I feel like compared to other industries, the mobility industry is more interconnected. It's not a business where one player takes it all, it's a matter of interlinking wealth and playing along with different partners. There are definitely more processes and companies that are part of a big supply chain, for example. Talking about IT, APIs, having data shared across different players and being interoperable with hardware etc. So there's quite a lot of complexities that need to be addressed on the ecosystem level, not on a single player level.