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Building the Future of Electric Vehicle Charging with Monta’s Max Scherer



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This blog post first appeared first on old medium publication (https://medium.com/startuprad-io), and was moved to this blog with the relaunch of our website in summer 2024.

Executive Summary


In this Startuprad.io episode, host Joe Menninger interviews Max Scherer, COO of Monta, about their innovative software platform managing electric vehicle charge points. Monta secured €80 million in fundraising, eyeing expansion into the US and Europe. They aim to make charging stations hardware-agnostic, enhancing user experience. Scherer, who moved to Copenhagen for family reasons, has a rich background in entrepreneurship and consulting. Monta, poised for growth, values transparency and is actively seeking new investors and talent. The episode wraps up highlighting Monta’s role in green energy and inviting listeners to explore career opportunities at the company.


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Electric Vehicle Charging Market: “So it’s a very fragmented market. They all do the job somehow, you know, some better, than others. But in the end, you will be able to charge your, car on all of them. So this is a market that will be driven to, fairly low prices, as it progresses. And it’s gonna be a hardware market where you will be sitting on on on small margins because you’re providing a good that, will have a very high volume, as it’s being installed out there.”— Max Scherer — COO Monta

Introduction


Welcome to another electrifying episode of Startuprad.io, the podcast that plugs you into the heart of innovation. I’m your host, Jörn “Joe” Menninger, and today we’re charging up the conversation with Max Scherer, the COO of Monta. In a world where electric vehicles are accelerating onto the scene, Monta is powering through with a software platform designed to manage an intricate web of charge points for various use cases and locations.Join us as Max shares Monta’s journey through a booming electrification market, fueling an impressive revenue growth and securing €80,000,000 in fundraising, all in 2023. We’ll explore their charge towards the US market, their vehicle-to-grid technological ambitions, and their strategic expansions.


But it’s not all business; Max takes us on a personal detour to Copenhagen — we’ll find out how a family move led him to Monta and what’s brewing with the Danish Christmas beer tradition. Discover how Monta’s software-first approach is streamlining the hardware-heavy world of EV charging and how they’re pioneering a hardware-agnostic future.Beyond the tech, Monta’s company culture of transparency resonates with their growth story, and we’ll hear how this ethos is helping them in their continuous search for new talent and investors.

So, plug in and stay tuned as we drive into the story of Monta with Max Scherer — right here, on Startuprad.io. And don’t forget, we’ve got Max’s LinkedIn and career links lined up for you, just in case this talk sparks your interest in joining their team.

American College Experience at Darthmouth College: “It’s a very American experience with a big Greek scene, so fraternities, sororities, but, also, I would say, a place for academic excellence.”— Max Scherer — COO Monta

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Embracing Family Life in Copenhagen: “overall we made the decision for my wife’s job and because we knew the city and we knew, you know, it’s a very family friendly place and we had one kid at the time, and now, the second one joined the family just a couple months back. So it’s, it’s it’s been proven a a good choice. We really enjoy it here.”— Max Scherer — COO Monta

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Startups and Technology: “I think the thing that, always pulled through for me was that I was super fascinated by, what technology, can do.”— Max Scherer — COO Monta

Questions Discussed in the Interview

  1. How does Monta’s software platform aim to simplify the management of EV charging infrastructure, and what challenges does it address?

  2. Can you elaborate on Monta’s business model that involves charging a monthly fee per connected charge point? How does this create value for your clients?

  3. Given the rapid revenue growth experienced by Monta in 2023 and the successful fundraising of €80,000,000, what key factors do you attribute to this success amidst challenging market conditions?

  4. As Monta prepares to expand into the US market, what are the specific challenges and opportunities you foresee in integrating vehicle-to-grid capabilities within different regulatory environments?

  5. Can you share more about the initial problem that led to the founding of Monta, and how did the founders’ backgrounds contribute to Monta’s current direction?

  6. What are the unique aspects of Monta’s approach to making charging stations hardware-agnostic, and how does this impact the overall user experience?

  7. With the recent funding of $130,000,000 and the €80,000,000 raised in January 2024, how does Monta plan to allocate these funds to achieve its strategic goals, particularly in new market expansions and product development?

  8. Given your diverse background in entrepreneurship, consulting, and geography, Max, how have these experiences shaped your role as COO at Monta, and what perspectives do you bring to the company?

  9. Monta emphasizes transparency in salaries, culture, and funding. Why is this an essential element of your company’s ethos, and how does it affect employee morale and investor relations?

  10. With Monta actively seeking new talent, can you discuss the qualities and skills you look for in potential team members, and what advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a career with your company?


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Innovation in Electric Vehicle Charging: “So, when we thought about, kind of how can we add value here and how can we, you know, improve user experience in charging, we thought about how can we make this a hardware agnostic, thing.” — Max Scherer — COO Monta

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Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure: “And because it’s fragmented between the thousands of different models and it’s decentralized because it’s set up all over the place, achieving those things, accessibility, reliability, safety, is something that you can probably best do with a software platform that runs on all of these.”— Max Scherer — COO Monta

The Guest


Max Scherer (https://www.linkedin.com/in/maxlionscherer/) is the pragmatic and forward-thinking Chief Operating Officer of Monta, a company at the forefront of the electric vehicle (EV) revolution, innovatively governing multiple charge points for EVs through their cutting-edge software platform. Scherer’s extensive experience has been key in steering Monta’s vision, with a rich background that includes co-founding startups in Berlin, honing his expertise in the dynamic world of food delivery with Rocket Internet, and strategic consulting with the Boston Consulting Group. His academic journey is just as impressive, having delved into geography and carried his curiosity about the interplay of location, people, and business to Dartmouth as a Fulbright Scholar, enriching his perspective which he now applies to advancing Monta’s technology and operations.

Relocating to Copenhagen was not just a career move for Max; it was influenced by his family’s needs, as they seized the opportunity presented by his wife’s new job. It was in this family-friendly city, known for its high quality of life and quaint traditions like the annual release of flavored Christmas beer, that he crossed paths with Monta. Amidst the calm of Copenhagen, Max found a stark contrast from the hustle of Berlin, yet he has continued to be at the heart of a thrilling entrepreneurial journey with Monta. His story exemplifies how personal and professional worlds can fortuitously align, leading to innovative contributions to the burgeoning field of EV infrastructure.

Global Market Growth Trends: “the market globally, I think the CAGR, Joe compound annual growth rate is over 35%, which is incredibly high.”— Max Scherer — COO Monta

The Startup


In this episode of Startuprad.io, host Jörn “Joe” Menninger delves into the world of electric vehicle infrastructure with COO Max Scherer from Monta (https://monta.com/). Monta distinguishes itself in the rapidly evolving EV market by developing a cutting-edge software platform designed to seamlessly manage a diverse array of charging stations, an endeavor that is not only ambitious but also essential in a landscape with accelerating demand for electric mobility solutions. Striking a chord in both revenue growth and investor confidence, Monta has been on an impressive upward trajectory, successfully securing €80,000,000 in its latest fundraising round announced in January 2024. This substantial injection of capital brings the company’s total funds raised to over $130,000,000 — evidence of the robust market confidence in Monta’s approach despite challenging economic conditions. By focusing on software rather than hardware, Monta is shaping a future where charging solutions are hardware-agnostic, ensuring greater flexibility and interoperability for users, an angle that positions them ahead of many competitors fixated on physical charging units.


Monta’s innovative strategy does not stop at simplifying charging point management; the company is ambitiously expanding its offerings through vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capabilities, intending to leverage the stored energy in EV batteries for grid support, thereby enhancing the renewable energy ecosystem. This exemplifies Monta’s forward-thinking ethos, recognizing that the future of energy goes beyond transportation, tapping into the potential of EVs as mobile energy storage units. Their imminent geographic expansion into the US market, starting with an East Coast office, signifies their commitment to becoming a global player in the EV infrastructure sphere. The unique blend of an IoT SaaS business model, robust software solutions, and the passion for creating a more interconnected and sustainable world of electric vehicles gives Monta a distinctive edge, carving out a name for themselves among a sea of startups vying to make their mark on the future of transportation.

Expanding Electrification Technologies: “So there’s a lot of technology transfer that we can bring to the US that, you know, makes our product, very, exciting to the local, to the local scene and to local, electrification businesses.”— Max Scherer — COO Monta

Venture Capital Funding


Monta has already raised 130 M € from investors, including — but not limited to — byFounders, Energize Capital, Creadum, AENU, Headline, GreenPiont Partners, and Quantum Light.

Monta is open to talking to new investors, let us make an introduction.

Emerging Smart Grid Technologies: “But you can already do amazing things with just pooling together, you know, aggregating, a couple of 1,000 car batteries, virtually, of course, when we know that they will all be charging overnight in, let’s say, southern Sweden, and we can then offer to the grid operator to say, turn those off, the charging process, turn it off for a couple of seconds in order to make sure that you don’t run into a brownout or a blackout situation because you see an energy peak approaching.” — Max Scherer — COO Monta

Hiring!

Monta is hiring. Have a look here:


Corporate Transparency Initiatives: “We find that transparency is a great, you know, it’s a great way of preempting, discussions.”— Max Scherer — COO Monta

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The Interviewer

This interview was conducted by Jörn “Joe” Menninger, startup scout, founder, and host of Startuprad.io. Reach out to him:




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Automated Transcript


Jörn “Joe” Menninger [00:00:00]:Hello, and welcome, everybody. This is Joe from StartupRadio, your startup podcast and YouTube blog from Germany, bringing you another startup interview today here. Wherever you’re watching this or listening to this, maybe on our podcast, our YouTube blog, or even on our Internet radio station, Startupradio radio, you can go down here in the show notes and search for the interview with Max from Monter or, find here a link to our respective blog posts. I’ve already mentioned you are Max and you from Monter. Welcome.


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:00:36]:Thank you, Joe. Happy to be here. Excited to to tell a bit more about our story.

Jörn “Joe” Menninger [00:00:41]:That’s totally my pleasure. First, we should clear out that Monter is actually a company headquartered in lovely Copenhagen in Denmark. Right?


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:00:51]:That’s correct. Copenhagen, Denmark.


Jörn “Joe” Menninger [00:00:55]:Exactly. And so, I think we should, just that you guys are also pretty active in Germany. Plus, you are a German guy. That’s why you guys are in the interview. Plus, our audience knows that from time to time, we we do a circle around Germany and have some interesting start ups from neighboring countries. And you guys are totally interesting. According to Crunchbase, you raised more than 130,000,000 US dollars in funding.


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:01:24]:Yes, ma’am.


Jörn “Joe” Menninger [00:01:24]:And the last funding announcement was in January 2024 with 80,000,000. That’s close to 88,000,000 US dollars, so €80,000,000. And, you provide software infrastructure for charging stations. And we’ll get into all of that, your asset light approach, pretty soon. But first, let’s talk a little bit about the person who is sitting here, and is my interview guest. Can you introduce yourself just a little bit? And and we hop a little bit through your CV and have a look what you learned and what you’ve done before you became the COO of Moontra.


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:02:06]:Absolutely. Yes. I’m Max. I’m originally from from Berlin. Joe, born and raised in, in that city. I I am now a a family father with a wife and 2 kids living in Copenhagen where family life is very comfortable and at nice, and I bike every day. But before that, I spent quite a bit of time, trying out my feet, or my footing in in in Startupradio land. So I started a bunch of companies in, in Berlin after I had studied geography, studied in the States, for a for a while.


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:02:44]:And those startups, some of them really went belly up fast, and some of them did pretty well. I was, fortunate enough to start a company together with Rocket Internet, which, was in the food delivery space. We did a farm to table concept here, which we which we actually sold to a, a French, competitor. I spent some time at the Boston Consulting Group, in between, and then started again. And that there was a bunch of different things, but the thing that, that is maybe memorable and still survives is, a passion for workplaces. If you if you look for the UFA in Berlin, you will find something that you can, that you can still use, for your, for your day to day, office needs or for your workshop needs. So I’ve dabbled in a lot of things, but I think the thing that, always pulled through for me was that I was super fascinated by, what technology, can do. Joe the first thing I started right out of school was a software Startupradio to help scientists.


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:03:53]:It failed grandiosely, but, it was kind of my first touch point with what can technology do to help, you know, to help different tasks and create, you know, business opportunities for for people, but most importantly, make lives easier for for people who are trying to achieve something. And, yeah, there was not only software. There was also technology in the food space. There was technology in in in workspace, enablement. So how can you make room bookings easier, etcetera, p p. But it was also that thing. What can you do to make, a task, easier and and maybe a bit more efficient, for people? Fascinated me for most of my life.


Jörn “Joe” Menninger [00:04:37]:Mhmm. I see. And I’ve I’ve also seen that you not only studied at Frei University of Berlin, but you also attended Dartmouth as a Fulbright Scholar. How was studying at Dartmouth and how is Hannover in New Hampshire?


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:04:53]:It’s very small. So it’s it’s in the middle of the woods, in in in New Hampshire. It’s I think, when when the when when, the semester is on or the the, the the term is on, I think it’s over 50% students. Joe it’s a a couple of a couple thousand, people who just left high school, trying their feet in, in in higher education. So it’s a very it’s a very American experience with a big Greek scene, so fraternities, sororities, but, also, I would say, a place for academic excellence. So it was, it was a great year I spent there, and it was a lot of fun. Kind of, you know, going from the Freioni visit in Berlin, which is, you know, it’s a campus in a big city. And in Berlin, you know, as a student, it’s easy to get lost to going to a place where it’s, you know, gravel pathways and the picture perfect US college situation with, you know, red brick buildings and, you know, New England romantic Menninger.


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:06:06]:And, yeah, it’s it’s, you know, it’s a it’s a it’s an exciting, I think, step for somebody who, grew up in Berlin and then then going out into the white white, US American world there and, figuring out that beer pong is something, you know, that you that you learn at college.


Jörn “Joe” Menninger [00:06:24]:And cake stands. Yes. I was the unofficial fraternity master in cake stands. I know how this student life goes. What I found pretty interesting in you is you actually has have not been a business major, an engineer, or a software developer, so computer scientist, but you actually studied geography. What drew you to geography? Did you always always like maps?


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:06:52]:Yeah. That’s a great question. Yes. Yeah. So what drew me to that? Like, so coming out of high school, like, or very deep deep down into history here, coming out of high school I was a little bit, you know, the stereotypical, I guess. I, you know, I I was decent at school, but I didn’t really know what to do, type. So I went to some information, you know, seminars that the that the universities in Berlin held. And the geography one was by far the most entertaining, because it was a very, very good, professor, very good public speaker who painted this picture of, you know, everything ties together in space.


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:07:34]:So if you understand space, you probably understand a lot about, people, about society, about business, and you get to do really long field trips. So, I was lucky to, you know, do a very big field trip into Mongolia and a big field trip into the Sahara. So I I kind of combined, those two things. Right? Curiosity for for, you know, understanding the things that that tie tie tie what we do and what makes us do things as people together by looking at yeah. Well, the geography of things and, and traveling. So that’s how I picked geography. It served me well, but, you know, I, sadly, but but also, honestly, I do very little of what I learned, during my studies has any impact on what I do today.


Jörn “Joe” Menninger [00:08:27]:Sorry. Half joking question. Do you still get lost?

Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:08:32]:I never get lost.


Jörn “Joe” Menninger [00:08:37]:That is good. You you you be be be before we get a little bit into Monter, as you said, you relocated with your family to Copenhagen. How is Copenhagen? And can you tell us what we discussed before before we got into this interview, the story with Christmas beer?


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:08:55]:Yes. The JDate. So, JDate, actually. So we moved to Copenhagen actually for my wife’s job during the pandemic. So it was full lockdown in Berlin, so you were not allowed to go outside, almost. And my wife got an opportunity to work out of Copenhagen. And at the time, I, you know, I, I was in a position where I was basically alone all the time seeing my teammates online only. So, it was an easy call for me to make and say, wait.


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:09:27]:I might as well see them online from Copenhagen and and try that. You know, 1 once we made the call, we actually, I actually decided to look for something new in Copenhagen, which in the end led to Monter. But, overall we made the decision for my wife’s job and because we knew the city and we knew, you know, it’s a very family friendly place and we had one kid at the time, and now, the second one joined the family just a couple months back. So it’s, it’s it’s been proven a a good choice. We really enjoy it here. It’s much more quiet, less adventurous, I guess you could say, than than Berlin. But, you know, it’s a extremely high quality of life, and, you know, it’s a good, good international spot, here very close to everything else in Europe as, I guess, Europe Europe is. And, yeah, Denmark has, you know, a lot of famous breweries, like Tuborg, Carlsberg, etcetera.


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:10:23]:And at some point, they came up with this concept of of creating flavored beer for, the Christmas time. What they then did is they they they kind of they all came together and said, let’s let’s do let’s turn it into something that that we, you know, that that that we turn into a campaign and and make it something that people, you know, celebrate. And then they call it the the the Joe day. So the, I’m butchering the Danish language here. I think, day. So is Christmas beer. And that’s the day when it’s launched, and that’s the only time of the year, you you can get that. So that day and the next 3 weeks.


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:11:03]:And it’s a huge thing. People crowds gather around the streets of Copenhagen and, swarm the pubs to get a taste of that beer. I’m I’m German, so I’m super biased when when it comes to beer. It’s pretty weird. Yeah.


Jörn “Joe” Menninger [00:11:20]:What are be before we get serious again, what are some of the weird flavors there?


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:11:25]:So the the the Christmas beer is always kind of in this direction of, of of Christmas candy. So, you know, it it it’s it’s it’s kinda strange. Right? It has this what’s called in German, it’s called. Joe you have that stuff in there. Yeah. Gingerbread. You have these things in there. I would it’s an it’s an acquired taste, I I have to say.

Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:11:44]:Right? I, yeah.


Jörn “Joe” Menninger [00:11:47]:That means in the beginning, it’s it tastes pretty awful, but then you get used to it. Okay. That that’s a very nice formulation and an acquired taste Like that one. Okay, let us get a little bit more into Montauk. 1st, I was of the impression that you got headhunted for Monta, but apparently, you relocated to Copenhagen and found Monta. But Monta was already around before you joined as COO. Can you tell us a bit a little bit about the history of the company? What what what are the product to life or problem product to life?


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:12:24]:Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. Joe, Casper, he’s our our CEO and one of the 2 founders. He, he was an early EV adopter. So I think he got a he bought a Tesla in 2017 or Joe. And street charging, so he lives in the city. So street charging at that point in Copenhagen was pretty rare.


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:12:47]:So, you know, you had to make do with whatever was possible, but then more and more, infrastructure was rolled out, so more and more, charge points were rolled out. And at some point in, I think, 2020, a new operator launched in the area where he lived, and, that operator said, we’re gonna improve it all. We’re gonna change the world of charging. You get an app, and you can just it it’s will be super easy and and fantastic. So he tried that app, and he con conclusion was, okay. It’s really bad. And, you know, why would anybody claim this? Now chance has it Casper is a software engineer and he was running an agency building apps. So he called that company and said, guys, should we talk? I can help you turn this into a great product.


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:13:35]:They didn’t take that offer, and that’s essentially, how Monter got started.


Jörn “Joe” Menninger [00:13:40]:Mhmm. So you guys, are providing software for charging stations. I I’ve heard you when it when I was preparing our interview, I heard a few other podcasts and you said something like hardware is cheap.


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:13:56]:Mhmm. Yep. Joe, the the way you you you can you can kinda think of it is, the hardware comp is is is a components business. Right? So a charge point is a pretty simple piece of hardware. You have some casing. You have a fuse, box, you have a controller, you have a plug, and then you have a charge point. So something that you can put up in your garage or in your driveway or something that you put up, in street parking or parking on supermarkets, etcetera. There are also the fast chargers, which are a bit more complex, but, in essence also fairly simple technology.


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:14:32]:So, that hardware, can be manufactured or combined by, pretty much, every business that has some experience in electronics manufacturing. So that means there’s a, there’s a lot of vendors out there that sell this type of hardware. So in in Germany right now, or in Europe right now, you can build by thousands of different models of these charge points. So it’s a very fragmented market. They all do the job somehow, you know, some better, than others. But in the end, you will be able to charge your, your your, your car on all of them. So this is a market that will be driven to, yeah, fairly low prices, you know, as as it progresses and as it advances. And it’s gonna be a hardware market where where you will be sitting on on on small margins because you’re providing a good that, you know, will have a, will have a very high volume, as it’s being installed out there.


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:15:32]:So, it’s if if you look for innovation in that space, you know, you’re probably looking at process optimization and supply chain optimization. So cost is the thing. There’s a few technological things that you can still do here, bidirectional charging, etcetera, but I think that’s that’s that’s another category. But for the basic, ChargePoint that’s that’s that’s being installed right now, there is a there’s probably a very predictable model where that would go. So, when we thought about, kind of how can we add value here and how can we, you know, improve user experience in charging, we thought about how can we make this a hardware agnostic, thing. And, that’s also combined with the experiences and you know, skills that we have had in the founding team and that we have in the company now, software was kind of where where we ended. And, I think we’re we’re very happy about that.


Jörn “Joe” Menninger [00:16:31]:You you talk about making it hardware agnostic. What do you actually do? Is it an app for the user who could charge their stations? Is it a platform matching different parties? Can you tell us a little bit more about the business model and what party are you actually connecting?


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:16:50]:Absolutely. It’s a bit of all, all of those points. So the, this fragmented world of hardware out there, you know, it serves a very important purpose. It enables mobility. Right? So everybody of us, we all want to be mobile. The delivery fleets that make sure that we get our food and, you know, get the goods that we need need to stay mobile. Eventually, they will be electrified. So this interface needs to be accessible by everybody, usable by everybody, needs to be reliable, needs to be safe.


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:17:21]:And because it’s fragmented between the thousands of different models and it’s decentralized because it’s set up all over the place, achieving those things, accessibility, reliability, safety, is something that you can probably best do with a software platform that runs on all of these. Right? So that combines this fragmented decentralized, hardware, IoT setup. And and that’s what we’re building. We’re building a a software that lets you, an organization, a company, a city, run tens of thousands of different charge points of different models and build, in different geographies, in different locations for different use cases. So charging at your home, charging at the local supermarket, or charging at the highway fast charger, in one system. And, because, we we we build the back end that kind of controls the the quality of the, the interface into this this charging infrastructure. We can also influence the charging experience. So the quality of the, the charging experience that the end customer, in the end has, best in this whole ecosystem.


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:18:34]:So, on the other end of it so there’s the business end of it. It’s a management platform that lets you manage thousands of charge points. There is an app that lets you as a driver, charge anywhere.


Jörn “Joe” Menninger [00:18:46]:I see. And, Edu, you you just talked about IoT. Would would you say that you’re an IoT SaaS company?


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:18:57]:You could say you could say so. Right. So all of the charge points are connected devices. Right? They’re all, online, which is how we control them and interact with them. That’s also how users, or or drivers connect, with them. So yeah. And our main business model is software as a service. So there’s a monthly fee per connected charge point, that we invoice our business customers.


Jörn “Joe” Menninger [00:19:29]:Lite, Greenpoint Partners, Headline VC. How do you pronounce it? Aynu?


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:19:36]:Aynu? I know. Yes.


Jörn “Joe” Menninger [00:19:39]:Yes. Adam from Stockholm. Yeah. Danish Investors, Export and Investment Fund, energize capital from Chicago and, by founders also from Denmark. You you raised €80,000,000. And in 2023, a lot of start ups died, and you did such a massive fundraising. Can you explain to us a little bit about how the market went, meaning in favor of you, your underlying business, and on the other hand, how you could communicate this with the investors who, despite having apparently many startups in the portfolio dying, still invest newly in you when there’s currently a downturn in funding?


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:20:31]:Oh, I’ll I’ll do my best. I think the most important


Jörn “Joe” Menninger [00:20:35]:I can’t ask for more. Totally fine.

Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:20:37]:Yes. I think the, the, the, the most important part here is is hopefully, and and probably, that that we actually managed to perform very well in in in this market environment. So we we we grew, in 2023 6 or 7 fold to a very significant revenue. And that to put that into perspective, 2023 is the 3rd year of our existence. Right? So, we went live with the app in February 2021. So I think we what what we had on our side was momentum and pro product market fit, and we managed to sell even in a market that, you know, that was, coming under some hardship, especially when it comes to buying new software solutions. The second element here is that our market in in particular, so electrification and solutions for, electric vehicles is actually a a booming market.

Joe it’s growing very strongly.


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:21:43]:I think the overall, the market globally, I think the CAGR, Joe compound annual growth rate is over 35%, which is incredibly high. Right? And in markets in Western Europe, it’s it’s it’s a lot higher, even. So, I I think we’re sitting on on those two things. Right? So we have a market that is a bit resistant to the macro trends. Right? So say maybe actually, a bit of a reaction to the macro trends. So energy uncertainty, and now you want to, switch around how you how you power your mobility and how you think about energy, in in general, is a is a driving factor for us. Of course, doing something that is more sustainable is a driving factor for us, and that pain that I think plays into a lot of things. So customer sentiment towards greener choices and, you know, a different way of thinking about, about c o two foot footprint, is an element.


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:22:42]:But next to that, I think there is also an element of, you know, excitement about a new technology. And, electric motor is not a new technology, but it’s, you know, it’s the first time that you actually see it, on the roads, and you can feel that it’s, you know, it’s, it’s more powerful. It, you know, it it it costs less in upkeep, and it’s a bit of a different way of experiencing mobility. Right? So those things, we we performed really well. We have a great product that, you know, sells. Our market is growing, against macro trends, and we have customer sentiment on our side. People are excited about the technology. I think those things really were the were the driving factors here.


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:23:23]:And then VCs do what they do. Right? They, invest in a downturn because that’s when, you know, the the the market winners are hopefully shaped. So they take a bet on being exposed to, you know, this megatrend electrification. And, we convinced some really great investors to, to take their bet with us. So, I think that’s that’s the the the long and short of it. Yes.


Jörn “Joe” Menninger [00:23:49]:Basically, that’s always the story. Right? So you you you have an amazing product. You have a market that is going for you. Plus, you obviously have to have a talented management team. Otherwise, this this all wouldn’t come together. So, I do believe there is some of the really, really essential ingredients there. We we’ve been talking about what you guys are doing, what your and your successful fundraising. So can we go a little bit into the outlook? What do you guys Yeah.


Jörn “Joe” Menninger [00:24:20]:Want to do with all the money beside buying a game console and and, KICKR for your, for for your office?


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:24:32]:Yes. Yes. We did buy an air hockey table. I have to admit that. Right? What, what are we gonna do? So we are now active in in Europe, as of today, in all major markets. We have, I think 6 offices in Europe. So we we think Europe is kind of is the most exciting place for electrification right now. And with that’s also, incidentally, super exciting for us because a technology trend that finally, you know, doesn’t come out of the Silicon Valley but actually emerges here, so, it’s also one of the things that we really, yeah, that really gets us going.


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:25:07]:Right? But nonetheless, one of the big things that we’re gonna do is we’re gonna go to the US. So we’re gonna open an office this year, because the market is, while not as advanced as as Europe, with some exceptions, you know, California, you could say, is maybe at the same stage as as as Germany is, but there’s not a single state in in North America, or or country or state in the US that is where Denmark or Sweden or or Norway are, for example. Right? So there’s a lot of technology transfer that we can bring to the US that, you know, makes our product, very, exciting to the local, to the local scene and to local, electrification businesses. So that’s one of the big things. And then, apart from geographic expansion, there’s some technological elements that that we think we can bring to the table, which are very exciting. I think whoever’s into electrification has heard of vehicle to grid before. I’ll quickly explain that. It essentially means taking the battery of your car, or any battery, really, that is on a couple of wheels, and using that to feed energy back into the grid.


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:26:21]:So not just taking it in, and storing it to to to be mobile, but rather using that energy to power your house, your apartment block, or thousands of vehicles powering, you know, a city when, when the wind turbines are are are not not going. Right?


Jörn “Joe” Menninger [00:26:38]:So that that’s basically one of the solutions that renewable energy is not static, but it goes in waves like with the sun, with the wind and so on and so forth. And basically that is one of the approaches using the batteries of the already existing cars as a battery for the whole grid.


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:26:57]:Precisely. Precisely. And that is that is, you know, I think still in the future because you need a lot of heavy infrastructure investment to do that. So the grid actually needs upgrading so that you have bidirectional energy flows from, every outlet. So this is something that that won’t happen overnight. But you can already do amazing things with just pooling together, you know, aggregating, a couple of 1,000 car batteries, virtually, of course, when we know that they will all be charging overnight in, let’s say, southern Sweden, and we can then offer to the grid operator to say, turn those off, the charging process, turn it off for a couple of seconds in order to make sure that you don’t run into a brownout or a blackout situation because you see an energy peak approaching. And that’s that’s something that we do in a small scale already, but that is something that we believe will play a a major role both in, this and everything, your every iteration of that technology from that. So from just turning off demand and then maybe also playing with bidirectional flows here, will be a major part of, of rolling rolling this infrastructure out across Europe and also across North America and probably globally.


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:28:20]:And it will be, as you just said, Joe, it will be, probably also a major enhancer for rolling out, further green energy, generation assets. Right? Because there you are tied to wind and sun cycles. So storage is key to making that happen. And that’s something that is very important to us, both from a, you know, idealistic perspective, but also from a business model perspective. Because, obviously, this is something that the grid operator is very interested in. So there is a revenue stream attached to that as well. And then there’s some pretty interesting things around, you know, one of the major emitters out there, which is long haul trucking, electrifying those routes and helping, logistics providers do that well. So working with hubs, working with charging schedules, working with, you know, route optimization on that.


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:29:16]:So there’s there’s there’s interesting technological aspects to making sure that our supply chains also, electrify, which which we are also yeah. Well, really looking forward to to to working


Jörn “Joe” Menninger [00:29:27]:in. Let me try my psychic powers here. You’ve already talked spoke so highly of, California. You likely relocate your US, your North American headquarters, somewhere around there?


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:29:42]:Close, but no. We we will actually start on the East Coast because, of the time difference. Right? So first, it will be an office that is, you know, it won’t be a 100 people from day 1. So it won’t be self sustaining really. Right? So we we wanna make sure that there’s as much overlap with Europe as possible, for the first office. But, yes, if we have a second office in the US, it’s most likely gonna be on the Western Coast.


Jörn “Joe” Menninger [00:30:06]:So that pretty much sounds like New York City. Mhmm. I see. No comment. She’s smiling. She’s smiling. Very interesting topic. Usually, we end with a with with 2 questions.


Jörn “Joe” Menninger [00:30:20]:Usually, the the questions are are you open to talk to new investors? The answer is usually yes. Would you agree to that?


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:30:28]:Yes. Always. Always be closing. Always be fundraising. That’s, unfortunately unfortunately how it is.


Jörn “Joe” Menninger [00:30:35]:Yeah. If if you want to reach Max directly, go down here in the show notes. There’s a link to his LinkedIn profile. And the second question, I’m gonna attach a little bit because I’ve I’ve read and heard about you. And, usually, we are talking about, are you looking for talent? And, usually, the answer is also yes, but you do have quite some interesting takes on company culture and on salary and funding transparency. That’s what I heard in in and read about you guys. And can we talk a little bit about that before we redirect all the people in the last statement to your career’s website?


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:31:13]:Yeah. Very happy. It’s super important to us. So we we put a and thank you for for for pulling out that that that question. It’s actually something that we that we, we spend quite a bit of energy on. We we as a company have committed to, well, complete transparency. So everybody in the organization knows, for example, how much money, I make, how many shares I have. I also know that, about about my peers and about everybody else.

Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:31:42]:If you want to, you can find out exactly how much money we have on the company, bank accounts internally, obviously. We find that transparency is a great, you know, it’s a great way of preempting, discussions. Right? So there’s we have transparent salary bands. We have transparent career paths. So you don’t you won’t find yourself in a situation at the water cooler, proverbial water cooler or coffee machine, you know, being upset about somebody else getting something that you haven’t gotten because there is there is very little flexibility for individual deals. Right? On the one hand, that may be something that deters, but on the other hand, it it makes, it makes it so much easier and so much clearer because there’s there’s really no way for anybody else to be, you know, pulled out, and and and put in front on somebody else. So, yeah, it’s it’s been a it’s been an a very successful experiment for us now. So we’re now 250 people with with full transparency.


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:32:49]:So we, we, yeah, we are pretty excited that we that we, have managed to pull it through, to this, and we we want to keep on doing that. Yeah. And at the same time, we, you know, we we invest in our offices, so we make sure that these are places that, you know, people want to come, come to to work, in and that are in good locations. So we have an office in Copenhagen, in Berlin, in London, in Paris, in Barcelona. And, you know, in the end, it’s a people business. No matter what AI will do for us in the future, it’s gonna be us who are going to be delivering success for this company, and that means success for yourself, and and for ourselves. So we very much believe that people are the most important thing we really have.


Jörn “Joe” Menninger [00:33:38]:That Menninger closing words. I I was tempted to say amen to that. Everybody who’d like to learn more, you can go down here in the show notes. As we said, there’s a link to your private LinkedIn profile as well as to the career websites and everybody who’s interested in investing in you guys can either reach out to us or directly to you.


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:34:00]:Exactly. Please apply. We have many exciting positions.


Jörn “Joe” Menninger [00:34:04]:Great. Awesome. Max, thank you very much. It was a pleasure having you as a guest. I would say goodbye in Danish, but I don’t know how to do that. Okay. Learned something new. Maybe I answered something badly pronouncing it.


Jörn “Joe” Menninger [00:34:21]:But it was a pleasure having you as a guest and hope to have you back in, let’s say, 1 or 2 years, when we can talk about your success at North America.


Max Scherer — COO Monta [00:34:30]:Thank you. Likewise, a pleasure and looking forward.


Jörn “Joe” Menninger [00:34:32]:My pleasure. Have a good day. Bye bye.

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