Long-distance journeys in an electric car are no longer a hassle, thanks to the well-established charging network. What was missing, however, was an efficient route planner to assist in navigation. Felix Geibel and Jonas Sulzer, founders of "On Your Route GmbH," have successfully addressed this issue. "We've developed an app that tackles range anxiety while catering to people's needs," explains Felix. Their smartphone app, "ChargingTime", aids electric car drivers in locating optimal charging points and seamlessly integrating them into their journey. This app marks the debut product from the Stuttgart-based startup. Determined to materialize their concept independently, the two founders are even willing to depart from their roles as electric car developers at Mercedes. Supported by coaches and mentors within the ICM Early Ride program, they're shaping the evolution of their company.
The perfect match between the coach and the founders
Since its market launch, Felix and Jonas' idea has garnered the support of more than 30,000 users. During the kick-off for the Early Ride program, they managed to win over their initially skeptical coach, Manuel Lang. As the co-founder of Reasonance, an IT service provider specializing in AI and big data, Lang initially couldn't fathom the absence of an application for intelligent route planning for electric cars. However, during their initial meeting, the founders meticulously explain the weaknesses of existing competitors and the innovative solutions they had devised to address these issues. What set their product apart, according to Lang, was its intuitive design, perfectly tailored to the needs of electric car drivers. Jonas and Felix's profound understanding of their target audience impressed Lang, leaving a few unanswered questions about the content. Instead, the discussions revolved around areas where Lang, with his extensive experience as the founder of an IT company serving business customers, could provide valuable insights. Although "Charging Time" currently serves as a consumer-focused application, potential customers also include vehicle and end device manufacturers, tapping into Lang's expertise in the B2B sector. Recognizing the founders' engineering background and the need to establish a software company, Lang, as a coach from the IT sector, offers valuable guidance on organizational forms and management structures conducive to their venture. "We're already a very good match," affirms Lang.
A small company with a big impact
Above all, the two founders are hopeful that their coach will assist them in building their team. "On your Route" aspires to be a small yet powerful company, where individuals enjoy coming together in the office to collaborate. A home for talented software developers with a creative spirit, including students. Jonas emphasizes the unique opportunities that startups offer, allowing individuals to quickly assume responsibilities and contribute to shaping the product in its early stages, even as students. In contrast, junior employees in larger companies often lack the creative freedom to directly add value for customers. Startups provide a broader scope for young professionals and students to experiment and engage actively, mirroring the founders' own experiences. The shift from being developers to taking on roles as financiers, PR professionals, salespeople, and HR personnel has brought an array of learning opportunities for both founders and potential employees, according to Felix.
Despite the company's growth, the primary focus remains on enhancing the app for users. "Charging Time" is set to soon be available for the Android operating system—a "gigantic small step" for the young company. The significance lies in expanding customer potential manifold. Though seemingly small in terms of technical challenges for the founders, Manuel expresses confidence in the capabilities of Jonas and Felix, citing the already available functions on iOS and the impressive skills of the autodidactic founders. With "On your Route," there is no need for apprehension regarding the app's new reach in the market.