Swey already attracted attention at SXSW.
© Swey

Swey: “We’re Bringing the ‘Gas Station Experience’ to Charging Stations”

For many potential electric car buyers, it’s the charging time that can keep them from actually getting one. Anyone who is used to quickly filling up their car at a gas station can be deterred by the longer waiting times required by charging. The Munich startup Swey wants to offer users an alternative. The founders explain how exactly in our interview.

Munich Startup: What does your startup do? What problem are you solving? 

Swey: According to a Californian study, one in five electric car drivers return their car because they’re so annoyed by the charging process and charging time. We solve this problem by putting together shopping and entertainment options near charging stations and offering them in existing mobile charging apps for electric cars. As a result, electric car drivers can make effective use of their time. 

What we’re basically doing is bringing the “gas station experience” to charging stations, and it’s all done with the existing infrastructure. By doing so, we’re creating a new monetization channel for the entire charging infrastructure and e-mobility industry. 

Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box! 

Swey: It actually is. Swey is the first value-added-charging company to offer personalized and local options in the mobility field, and more specifically, on a smartphone. There are similar approaches, also based in our hometown Munich, but they use other playout channels. Mobile first is just one of our USPs. 

An early pivot for Swey 

Munich Startup: What’s your founding story? 

Swey: We entered the market because we were so bothered by the fact that the charging infrastructure for electric cars in Germany is so poor. After detailed analysis, we decided to dedicate ourselves to the topic of “charging boredom.” 

We founded the company in May 2021 with a concept for our own charging app, which also included payment and cashback features. At the end of 2021, however, it became clear that it would be difficult to make it work since the market was already flooded with a plethora of mobile charging apps. 

At the beginning of 2022, we rewrote our story and focused on a B2B platform model that integrates these offers into existing apps. We first presented it at SXSW in Austin to see how people would respond to the idea. It went so well that we already had the first investors on board by the time Vivatech was held in Paris, which allowed us to develop the product and establish a partner network. At the beginning of the year, Henk de Jong joined the company as a further investor from the Netherlands. We’re planning to launch the first projects in April 2023. 

Munich Startup: What have been your biggest challenges so far? 

Swey: The biggest challenge was undoubtedly tossing out the original idea for our own app and focusing on the business as a B2B platform. 

On top of that, introducing something completely new to the market and understanding user behavior is always a huge challenge, but we fortunately have the expertise to handle it. It’s also very fortunate that the entire charging infrastructure industry is looking for ways to monetize the infrastructure and that we’re offering a new and very lucrative solution for just that. 

“We want to have established ourselves in Germany in one year” 

Munich Startup: Where would you like to be in one year, and in five years? 

Swey: In a year’s time, we want to have established ourselves in Germany and have a foot in the door in the most important European markets and in the US market. Five years is still very far away, but by then, we want to have established ourselves in the entire European market and in the US, and also offer further products that go beyond integration in charging apps. 

Munich Startup: How have you experienced Munich as a startup location so far? 

Swey: Top notch, a great environment. Above all, we’ve benefited greatly from UnternehmerTUM, Munich Urban Colab and the Digital Hub Mobility in Munich. Without them, Swey wouldn’t exist. But also in general, Munich has become a really good location for starting companies. With you, Werk1 and many other institutions, investors and much more, things have really gained momentum. 

Munich Startup: Public transportation or bike? 

Swey: E-mobility.