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Enapi secures €2.5M pre-seed investment to power the connectivity of EV charging

Enapi founders,Jakob Kleihues and Dennis Laumen.
Image credit: Enapi

Enapi, a German connectivity platform for the electric (EV) charging industry, has announced €2.5 million pre-seed funding. The funding, which was led by Project A Ventures with participation from Seedcamp and HelloWorld, will help Enapi develop its transaction broker and clearing house functionality as it brings together a fragmented industry and improves the EV driver experience.

TFN asked Enapi’s CEO and co-founder, Jakob Kleihues, about the company, what they are doing, and why the EV charging market is so fragmented in the first place.

Addressing a built-in problem

Both Kleihues and his co-founder and Enapi CTO Dennis Laumen saw the problem of EV charging first hand. Before Enapi, Kleihues led commercial initiatives at eMSP Bonnet, while Laumen boasts over a decade of experience working with charging technology working at tech consultancy, iHomer.

They came together in 2023 when Kleihues was actively seeking the views of thought leaders on the subject in 2023. After making a connection over the problem, they spent some time refining the ideas, becoming convinced of the need for a transaction broker.

In an age when standards are so dominant — even a political issue, as Apple found with the EU’s insistence on USB connectivity — it seems strange that the EV charging market appears to lack them. But Kleihues explains a mix of factors led to the current situation.

“Industry veterans like Hubject and Gireve were established by the time eMobility began to emerge as the new standard around 2017/2018,” he explained. “However, their approach has significant limitations. They rely on closed-source protocols, which not only lock in their customers but also impose hefty transaction fees. Additionally, their systems suffer from scalability issues and lack robust data quality control.”

Additionally, many of the industry’s early adopters’ incentives in a nascent market were different. “The industry was long governed by strategic players with divergent interests. Major utilities, oil and gas companies, and car manufacturers have pursued strategic stakes in the sector, often prioritising market share over return on investment,” Kleihues told us. It was an unsustainable business model, and as the market reaches maturity, it provides opportunities for Enapi. “The current moment is ripe for disruption, especially as all key players in the industry have now embraced market-standard open protocols like OCPI.”

An industry problem that creates a driver problem

The lack of scalability and poor data quality of current solutions creates more than a headache for EV drivers. Even with the increased availability of charging points, longer journeys can feel like a gamble, first on whether they can find an available charing point, and then the fees that they might have to pay. Enapi plan to address that problem, improving the accuracy, utilisation, and efficiency of the charging industry, says Kleihues.

“Enapi provides significantly more precise information on the real-time availability of charging points,” Kleihues told us. “Through increased connectivity, Enapi facilitates better utilisation of charging points. This means less waiting time for users and more efficient use of the infrastructure.” And because it’s cheaper, it means lower costs, “The Enapi model eliminates transaction costs,” Kleihues says. “This approach not only makes electric vehicle charging more affordable but also encourages wider adoption of eMobility solutions.”

Enapi promises, essentially, a win-win, with providers making more from their existing networks, while drivers benefit from savings created by more efficient charging.

“The EV market is at an interesting inflection point: Adoption is surging but public charging is still far from being as seamless as conventional fuel charging,” says Project A Partner Philipp Werner. “We firmly believe there is an opportunity for a reliable and scalable connectivity layer that will be industry-defining.”

Enapi are launching their service with a set of partners in Europe, including Electra in France, Monta in the Nordics, and JUCR in Germany, and with four partners in the UK: Osprey, Octopus Electroverse, OVO Drive, and Paua. They plan to expand the offer, inviting new partners as they grow. Remarkably, Enapi have grown their business across Europe with a team of just six people. The remote team brings together four different nationalities, working in three countries and six different cities.

Enapi hope, as the EV market matures and changes, to provide a transformative platform. “We hold the conviction that competing on price alone does not pave the way for building a substantial enterprise,” Kleihues told us. “Enapi aims to redefine connectivity as a commodity,” he continued, “Enapi’s vision is to revolutionise connectivity by introducing a layer of efficiency that benefits the entire market and propels the industry forward.”

For Kleihues, Enapi is not just a data platform or a clearing house, but a key part of meeting the planet’s environmental challenge. “We aspire to play a pivotal role in the global effort to foster sustainable mobility solutions,” he told us. “Our ultimate goal is to be a catalyst for the green mobility revolution, contributing to a healthier planet.”

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