Munich Startup: Who are you and what do you do? Please introduce yourself!
Bezero: We met while studying at the Hochschule der Medien in Stuttgart. The idea behind Bezero emerged in 2016. We realized that the topic of climate change was too much for many of our friends to deal with. The impact of their own actions was too abstract. Forms of possible compensation were also too complicated and not part of daily life. We quickly realized that we could solve a big problem with our skills. After several user tests and various conceptual approaches, we went live with the Bezero app in 2019. We means Tobias Frech, a graduate engineer (University of Applied Sciences) in Media Informatics and Matthias Herbert, a graduate engineer (University of Applied Sciences) in Media Informatics.
Munich Startup: What problem does your startup solve?
Bezero: We view the reduction of individual CO2 emissions as an important step in the battle against climate change. In Germany, individual mobility alone emits more than 2 tons of CO2 per inhabitant. That’s more than 160 million tons of CO2 every year. If we want to reach the Paris Agreement goal, it needs to be lowered to just 360 kg per year and inhabitant.
The biggest problem is: Individual mobility is a habit. Learned routines aren’t questioned.
With the Bezero app, we’re giving our users a tool to tackle just that. We automatically recognize a user’s mobility behavior, which we use to automatically calculate their CO2 emissions. To provide a clear explanation, we describe the effects with an emotional image: We explain how long a tree has to grow on average to capture the amount of CO2 that was emitted.
Before and after a trip, we want to show users potential alternatives and what these alternatives mean in detail.
We also offer the compensation for the CO2 emissions that were generated right in the app.
We’re currently working on further exciting functions to support our users even more in protecting the environment.
Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!
Bezero: There are a few apps that are similar. But none of the apps offer the range of functions that we do. Our focus on simplicity, clarity, alternatives and compensation is unique in this form.
We’re looking for partners to help us further promote the project
The combination of automatic tracking and automatic compensation for mobility is one of our strongest unique selling points.
A further unique selling point – personalized alternative recommendations for car trips – will be available in the next version.
Munich Startup: What have been your three biggest challenges so far?
Bezero: The following three points:
- Business model: We both strongly focus on our core values. Business models that aim for maximum exploitation of their users contradict our high standards. As a result, it is difficult to find complex and suitable business models for this kind of service. They have to fit the values of our users and also definitely benefit them. A functioning business model is necessary, however, so Bezero can be of benefit over the long term.
- Brand awareness: We want to offer our help to as many people as possible. We’re currently spreading the news at pitching events, in our circle of friends and through social media. We’re also working on building a supporter community and on finding strategic partners to help us continue to grow.
- Financing: We brought the project into being on our own up to this point. We’ve managed it’s entire development during our spare time until now. Now we’re looking for partners to help up further advance the project. We’re also open to working with business angels and investors.
Munich Startup: How is business going?
Bezero: We’re still in a very early stage. We currently have a few hundred users. More than 10 percent of them have already purchased a compensation package from us. And they did so even though Apple Pay is our only current method of payment, which is why about half of our users unfortunately are not able to book compensation through Bezero yet. That means credit card payment is one of our next tasks.
Munich Startup: How do you view Munich as a startup location?
Bezero: Munich has its advantages and disadvantages. An advantage is its open startup community and the focus on mobility. A disadvantage is the often complicated or missing support (such as access to partners, affordable office space) and the very high rent to live here.
Munich Startup: Public transportation or bike?
Bezero: With a bike in summer, with public transportation in winter. We also walk sometimes.