Bluedot debit card for electric car owners offers cheaper charging and cash back • TechCrunch

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Electric vehicles will account for about 6% of all new cars sold in the United States in 2022, an increase of 3.1% from the previous year, and this number will continue to grow in the coming years. Although still a young industry, the ecosystem surrounding electric vehicles—from charging and installation of electric vehicles to insurance products and parking—is becoming increasingly disconnected and complex. .

Bluedot, the founders say, is a banking and rewards platform for electric car owners that aims to improve the after-sales experience. How it works: Private property owners or fleet managers sign up for a Bluedot debit card, which they use for all car-related purchases, but primarily to charge their electric vehicles. Bluedot currently offers customers a flat rate of $0.30 per kilowatt-hour of charging with EV charging stations and 20% cash back for non-participating charging networks. Customers find stations and pay directly to partner charging companies on the Bluedot app, saving them the hassle of downloading multiple apps.

Bluedot users also earn 5% cash back on all car spends, plus an additional 2% cash back on all other spends. In addition, the company offers users rewards at nearby shops and restaurants. So, while waiting for their car to charge, a customer can go to their local Starbucks for coffee and get 10% back on their purchase, or shop at Whole Foods and get another 15% back.

The startup, which will join Y Combinator’s winter 2023 cohort and recently closed a pre-seed round of $2 million, is initially targeting charging stations as an industry on the brink of growth. bursting with federal and state funding. The Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden in August 2022, gives all states access to more than $1.5 billion in funding to facilitate electric vehicle charging projects. This may seem like a big push to set up infrastructure without integration.

The Bluedot app connects nearby EV charging stations and offers rewards for charging. Image credits: blue dot

Bluedot wouldn’t say which charging companies it’s working with to offer its fixed rate, but the startup said customers can start charging through Bluedot’s app at about 60% of all charging stations in the US. To expand its network of partners, Bluedot is targeting smaller and newer fulfillment companies that may not have the resources to build their own app and payment platform.

“E-Vehicle charging startups are looking for solutions like ours to increase driver visibility and accessibility, streamline payment processes, and improve charging station usage,” Selinay Filiz Parlak, founder and CEO of Bluedot, told TechCrunch. “Bluedot is working to integrate financial technologies to help these companies make charging stations viable and affordable for drivers.”

“Currently most charging stations are between 5% and 8% utilization. Bluedot aims to increase this figure to more than 15%. We started with small charging station companies, but our goal is to integrate all brands with fintech for users,” continued Parlak.

Today, Bluedot’s main customers are private drivers who found the startup through partnerships with car dealerships and ride-sharing companies. According to Parlak, Bluedot’s next target is fleets that help them manage costs and billing processes and get better deals.

“For example, one of our partners is a leasing company that leases cars to a group of suppliers led by a fleet manager,” Parlak said. “They want to offer a broader ecosystem of charging stations that are easier to pay for and then repay, which is what we offer. They also want better deals on electrification.

Bluedot also tracks consumers’ charging habits, how much they spend, how much energy they use, the main charging locations, how much carbon dioxide emissions are avoided by using EVs, and more. manually extract data. Automate this task to make the company smarter and more scalable in the future.

At YC, Bluedot wants to focus on growth and product development.

“Our goal is to build partnerships and make deals before demo day,” Ferhat Babajan, CEO and founder of Bluedot, told TechCrunch. “Specifically, we aim to establish partnerships in the areas of car dealerships, payment networks and car-related expenses. In addition, we are planning to start pilot tests for the Bluedot Fleet Card.

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