Making Sustainability Awesome af
Andreas Braendle, Co-Founder & CEO of Chimpy AG, 2020
(Article only available in English)
How Chimpy contributes to the transition towards 100% renewable energy and a circular economy while becoming a carbon-negative energy distributor.
Over the last five years, Chimpy has become well known for its power bank rental service. We have helped millions of people who run out of smartphone battery power. Our service is instant and probably the most convenient solution for people on the go. But some of our customers and partners do not know that our long term plan is not just to rent power banks.
We believe that 100% renewable energy, a non-waste, circular, carbon-neutral, climate-positive economy must be achieved fast. And on a global scale. The purpose of Chimpy (and why we work hard) is to contribute to this transition. In the past five years, we have built a flourishing business based on solar power, circular products, and carbon reduction. We have successfully scaled it in Switzerland. Now, we want to scale it further.
You might ask whether power bank rental really brings humanity closer to a sustainable future. My answer is “not necessarily” unless you understand Chimpy’s long-term plan.
One crucial element to make the transition to sustainability happen on a global scale is having sustainable products and services with no disadvantages. These circular products and services need to be designed to outperform their non-sustainable counterparts in a direct comparison. If you make it fun, awesome, and convenient for consumers to live a sustainable lifestyle, you help them reduce their footprint. These lifestyle options should have much more perceived value than traditional, wasteful, non-renewable behaviors. If they are available, consumers won’t have to give up something they value highly.
Three remarkable contributions
So far, we have achieved three remarkable contributions that can be scaled, and help accelerate the transition to a sustainable future:
First, we made solar power convenient for smartphone users because we created the mass market that actually enjoys solar. A market that is even ready to pay a premium for it. Storing solar power in our widely distributed batteries contributes to solving the storage issue for renewables. By giving easy access to solar power to consumers, we enabled a large number of people to reduce their individual carbon footprint. At the individual level, the reduction is small. But by aggregating the effect, carbon emission reduction is massive.
Second, we were the first company to establish a waste-reducing rental system for ‘free floating’ physical products in retail stores. Using our rental platform, a retail chain can avoid selling linear disposable products (in our case powerbanks/batteries). Instead, they sell access to circular and re-usable products. They can be returned, refurbished, and re-used for many other customers. One rental powerbank can replace dozens of disposable powerbanks or batteries, and at the end of its life, it can be recycled, while turning the same or higher profit for retailers. This increases economic value per product and reduces waste by an order of magnitude. For consumers, it means getting easy and low-cost access to state-of-the-art products instead of buying them – while still reducing their carbon footprint.
Third, we have proven that a whole company can be run on the same principles of being renewable, circular, and carbon negative. We have aggressively avoided company behavior that creates emissions. We are also building a program to capture the remaining carbon emissions that our company produces, by starting local projects with a focus on land use and forestry. This includes emissions from the production of our batteries, logistics, purchased energy, office space, battery recycling, business trips, and material usage. Added to the effects of our solar energy distribution and waste-reduction business, this will further neutralize our emissions and contribute to our goal of being the first carbon-negative energy distributor in the world.
Roadmap towards sustainability: Become the category leader for the instant battery
The not so secret ingredient to our sustainable business is convenience. This is how we will beat less sustainable products. Our solar powered rental power banks are an instant solution for people who run out of power when they are on the go.
Our services reduce your 30 minute waiting time to 30 seconds. That’s the average time it takes you to rent a powerbank at our partner retailers. Our power bank does not charge your phone faster, but it solves your problem 60 times quicker and you don’t have to wait for it to charge. Rent a Chimpy Powerbank and you are instantly free to move, and charge on the go while using the phone.
This massive increase in convenience helped make our sustainable service popular. And this is the value that we will offer our customers in the future. We aim to become the most convenient and most instant solution for any power issue on the go. We call this category the instant battery and we want to be its leader.
So what is our grand plan for a sustainable future?
1. Roll out our powerbank rental service internationally.
We want to massively scale our distribution. Unexpectedly running out of battery on the go is a universal problem. People around the globe experience it regularly. This is why we have started to roll out our service to new metropolitan areas in Europe. We want to supply people anywhere with convenient solar power.
2. Build instant battery services for devices other than smartphones, and other charging standards. The use of smartwatches, headsets, laptops, e-bikes, e-scooters, e-cars, and drones is on the rise. Whenever Chimpy can offer better convenience for recharging one of these devices on the go with solar power, we will introduce a new charging service. Using current technology standards, rental powerbanks are the most convenient way for users to charge a battery while on the go. But technology is evolving. Whenever new charging standards (i.e. wireless charging, fast charging, long-distance wireless charging) reach a critical mass of user adaptation, we will extend our service to these technologies.
3. Open our rental platform to enable other brands to rent their re-usable products in retail stores instead of selling them. While growing our solar power business, we want to open our rental platform to other brands to rent circular products instead of selling linear products, giving more brands access to a waste-reducing rental distribution.
Our goal: Be the category leader for the instant battery and a fully carbon emission negative power distributor. By investing in making our service the most convenient to consumers, we want to lead the instant battery category in every market we operate, always with our goal of being a fully carbon emission negative power distributor.
Become part of this transition!
To support this transition to a circular, renewable, and carbon-negative future we are looking for partners who share our values. If you work with retail brands, convenience store networks, food chains, festival organizers, power production & distribution companies, telecom operators, mobility operators, innovative battery companies, and consumer brands, whether you are a motivated job applicant or investor, please reach out to us and become part of this journey.
Andreas Braendle, Co-Founder & CEO Chimpy, 2020