Electric vehicle (EV) charging firm Monta recently raised €15 million (£12.5 million) in a Series A funding round, with this to support its expansion into two new countries - which are likely to be Belgium and Austria, according to CEO and co-founder Casper Rasmussen.
The funding is also to support growth in countries Monta already operates in, as well as boosting its employee count. Rasmussen told Current± the company plans to "really double down" on the UK and Germany this year, with plans to put around 10 people in each country.
Rasmussen also spoke to Current± about how load management will be "a huge thing this year" and how the company is looking to make the user experience "very slick".
What will the key developments be in the EV charging market this year as the rollout continues to ramp up?
A lot of new problems are going to appear. I think one of the first ones you're going to see is when companies, housing associations etc start putting out 10, 20, 30 chargepoints; load management between the chargepoints is going to be a huge thing because everyone needs to have a car fully charged the next morning.
Then I think a very interesting issue, at least in the very democratic cities, is that you don't pay more for electricity in your flat, you don't pay more for heating, you don't pay more for gas compared to people who have a house, but now with EVs, you're actually going to pay more for charging your EV on the public charging infrastructure if you live in a city compared to if you had the option to have a home where you could have your own charger. So that's something we're starting to look into, and that's a very hard problem as well.
How do you solve that problem?
I think the easiest way is that the public charging infrastructure needs to have a slot that could be from eight o'clock in the evening to eight in the morning where if you lived in the area, you would have some kind of cheaper price.
Solving that technically is hard enough; it's something we do now and have done for a while. But the physical world is not the same as the software world. So how do you actually get people to move their car? So you're charging in public and you need to pick it up at eight o'clock because then it turns into the local's chargepoint. That's a very interesting problem.
What new features are currently under development for the Monta app?
We are looking into how we can serve enterprise companies better with fleet management. It's not something we are set on yet.
I think the next couple of months is really about trying to make the entire experience super clear and easy to get started with for everyone. We're going to launch with a handful of chargepoint manufacturers that are powered by Monta, so that means is when you get chargepoint, it will say Monta on the side, and as soon as it gets power we'll be connected right away. I think that's a big project we have been working hard on.
A lot of interesting things are coming out, but the upcoming months are very much about user experience and keeping that very, very slick.
We want to be much more than an app. We want to be the infrastructure, the operating system like the Android of the charging world, more than just being an app you can download and start charging with.
Monta launched its virtual queuing system last year. What has the uptake of that been like?
In the beginning, when we launched, it was well received in a few places and we can see it's growing. It's so very futuristic for many people to get to that point, but we can see every week that some of the very advanced features we're doing are picking up slowly.
We have strong hopes on it, we believe that it can easily be very nice for housing associations or office buildings.
Last summer, we launched three pretty advanced things. That was one of them. Then we did the app clips, where you could actually start a chargepoint without even downloading the app or creating a profile; that is very much used now. It's super popular. A lot of the public sites are very happy about that. It's giving us a lot of business. Our reserve functionality is also picking up.
And then the sponsored chargepoints, where you can set charge points up at home but have your company paying for them; they are picking up a lot now.
Following on from your £12.5 million fundraise, are there any near-term plans for a further fundraising round?
When you take money in the sizes like we did, that means that it's actually not that easy to go out and deploy fast; it takes some time. Most of the money we're spending, we spend on employees. So that takes some months to build up, maybe even quarters to get that completely set up. So we expect that probably around this time next year, we will be starting to look for what the potential next round should look like.