VOOL, a Tallinn-based electric vehicle charging startup, has closed its seed investment round at €1.7M led by Specialist VC.
Others who participated include the former president of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid, Elar Nellis (the first employee of Pipedrive and current employee of VOOL), Taavi Kotka (former CIO of Estonia known for founding the e-Residency program), entrepreneurs Justin Jenk and Toomas Kõuhkna, as well as Opus 11 VC and Startup Wise Guys (also backed Smart Kiwi) amongst others.
The latest round brings the total fund raised to €4.7M. VOOL plans to use the funds to ramp up the production of its chargers and expand its reach into new European markets. The company intends to install 20,000 charging stations by the end of 2023.
According to research from McKinsey, Europe will need at least 29M private charging points by 2030 – representing a 77-fold increase from the estimated 375,000 charging stations available in 2021.
Consequently, significant upgrades to the existing grid infrastructure will be needed to distribute electricity to these new charging stations. Here’s where VOOL comes in.
Reliable and cost-efficient charging
Energy experts Juhan Härm (CEO), Sander Vahtras (CPO), and Hindrik Kilter (CTO) founded VOOL in 2018. The Estonian company provides EV charging solutions offering reliable, smart, and cost-efficient charging for business and private customers, making the transition to green energy faster, more affordable, and hassle-free.
VOOL says it uses the grid up to three times more efficiently, enabling smart charging without major grid upgrades and helping to save up to 90% of the cost. Additionally, the company manages the whole development of its hardware and software in-house, including the charger, hub, app (B2C), web platform, and admin portal (B2B).
VOOL says its software tracks the electricity prices and ensures that the EV is charged at the lowest cost possible within the set timeframe. It can work together as a system or can be used independently, says the company. The system is compatible with all cars, other chargers, and software solutions. Currently, VOOL operates in the Baltics and Finland and employs 30 people.
“Our solution uses the existing grid three times more efficiently,” says Juhan Härm, the co-founder and CEO of VOOL. “Currently, your dishwasher, charger, and kettle still have access to only a fraction of the full capacity of the grid, even though the whole of Europe is connected to three phases of electricity,” he explains. “We use all three phases and automatically switch between them when needed. This way, we can offer reliable and sustainable automatic charging,” Härm says.
“This enables one to save up to 90% on the charging costs,” Härm promises. “Moreover, real-estate developers can avoid additional costs associated with infrastructure upgrades and building new charging spots,” he adds.
Former President of Estonia and angel investor of VOOL, Kersti Kaljulaid, says, “I invest in companies that operate in a sector I understand and create real things for which there is a market. I do not dare to support solutions that are still trying to find their problem to solve, but there is no such concern with VOOL. The problem – how to get the increasing energy we need from the plug – is certainly real. You just have to offer better solutions than competitors,” she says.
She adds, “We can build rougher power grids to satisfy the increasing demand, but that would be unsustainable. Instead, finding a way to best use the existing main fuse is better. That is what VOOL does. It is such a simple solution that I am surprised this had not yet been invented.”