Munich Startup: What does Twaice do? What problem do you solve?
Stephan Rohr, Founder and Co-CEO of Twaice: Twaice offers predictive analytics software to companies working with batteries to reduce health, safety and warranty risks and to unlock potential along the lifecycle. Our customers can save time and money while improving both battery performance and lifespan. We combine battery knowledge with artificial intelligence to generate actionable insights throughout the battery lifecycle. Ultimately, we want to increase battery life, efficiency, safety, and sustainability.
Twaice makes the life cycle of a battery transparent
Munich Startup: What’s your founding story?
Stephan Rohr: Michael and I both did our doctorates in the “Second Life” environment at the Chair of Automotive Engineering at the Technical University of Munich. We looked at where Second Life makes sense, when it makes sense, but also what the technical problems are. And that’s when the topic of our current business field came up: That while batteries enable the energy transition and zero-emission mobility, they are also the Achilles’ heel. For example, there was no transparency about battery aging or safety-relevant parameters. Our goal was to generate this information and make it available to customers in a process-oriented manner. We then went one step further and worked out how to build a business model and a company with it.
Munich Startup: How has your solution evolved since its inception?
Stephan Rohr: We now offer a ready-made software solution according to industry standards. In addition to our analytics software for energy and e-mobility customers, we also provide simulation models for batteries. This allows us to cover the entire life cycle of batteries – from battery development, through battery use, to the second life of the battery.
Munich Startup: Were programs like ESA BIC or funding from the European Innovation Council relevant to your development?
Stephan Rohr: Of course, such programs are always valuable – both in terms of financial resources, contacts with potential customers, and as sparring partners for the business model and go-to-market activities. They play a very important role, especially at the beginning. You can learn a lot there.
Munich Startup: How is business going?
Stephan Rohr: We are now a globally active company and have locations in Munich, Paris and Chicago. We have also grown strongly in terms of our employees. We now have over 130 motivated and smart people working for us. Of course, this is also reflected in our customer projects. New orders are constantly being added there, both in Europe and in North America.
A market that hardly existed…
Munich Startup: What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Stephan Rohr: Thebiggest difficulty for us at the beginning was that we were operating in a market that was still very young, or barely existed. Five years ago, when Twaice was still in its infancy, energy storage and e-cars were not yet such a big topic. So every pitch began with us explaining the added value and innovative power of batteries. In the second step, we then had to highlight that batteries also represent a problem for which we have a solution. That is a difficult communicative balancing act. Nowadays, no one actually questions the fact that batteries are an elementary component, and almost everyone is also aware of the challenges. So we can speak much more directly to our customers.
“Don’t be too impatient”
Munich Startup: What lessons have you learned so far as a founding team?
Stephan Rohr: One big learning is definitely not to be too impatient. We have already achieved a lot with Twaice. But you must never forget that the journey is long to build a big company. Of course, when one goal is achieved, we always have the next goals in mind and want to implement them as quickly as possible. But sometimes it just takes time. That’s why you should also plan times for recovery, so that you always have enough energy for the marathon.
In addition, you should not stand in your own way or create too high hurdles. The most important quality as a founder is perseverance. My tip is not to think about “What happens if it doesn’t work out?” or “How would failure affect my resume?” in the first place. Instead, just throw yourself into the subject, learn, and then stick with it with motivation. Then, after a few years, you realize what has been created.
Munich Startup: What milestones are you working towards next?
Stephan Rohr: Ourgoal remains successful internationalization. We are on a very good path with various large orders in the USA. Now we need to further expand and consolidate our presence in North America. At the same time, the competition is not sleeping. That’s why we are constantly refining our products in close cooperation with our customers.