Yesterday, German blockchain start-up Gapless announced it raised €5.5 million ($5.9 million) in a seed round led by FinLab EOS VC Fund, the joint venture between FinLab and EOSIO blockchain developer Block.one. The start-up is developing a vehicle management platform using blockchain and currently has over 50,000 registered vehicle profiles.
Existing investors Porsche and entrepreneur Kersten Jodexnis were also part of the funding round. Launched in late 2018, Gapless enables users to build a comprehensive vehicle history and access third-party services through a mobile application. The solution is aimed at classic car collectors and luxury vehicle owners and is currently in production in Germany, the U.S., U.K., the Netherlands, Austria, and Switzerland.
The solution essentially digitizes vehicle documents such as ownership, insurance, and warranty. Moreover, the application has logs of nearly all vehicle brands and makes, and monitors product recalls so it can notify users. When registering a car on the app, users need to furnish their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), a unique 17-digit ID assigned to every car.
With blockchain at the backend, document storage becomes easier for vehicle owners. A problem with classic vehicles is that documents may get lost, which makes it difficult to prove ownership.
On the other hand, the app also records the odometer readings of the vehicle which means potential buyers might have more trust in the cars on the platform. These features, along with a value tracker, enables owners to provide an extensive report on their car when they are selling it. This report will also include vehicle history information such as previous owners, accidents, damage, and theft, among other things.
“Gapless shows how blockchain technology can change services from the ground up – and always thinks from the user’s perspective,” said Stefan Schütze, Managing Director of the FinLab EOS VC Fund.
Gapless has numerous other features, and it calls itself a digital garage of the vehicle. Users can either enter maintenance details or schedule a service event directly through the app. Based on the make of the car and other information, it gives maintenance reminders to the vehicle owners. Users can also add photos, spare part details, and aftermarket customizations of their vehicles on the platform.
Sports car maker Porsche has backed Gapless right from the beginning and had previously stated that it intends to invest €150 million ($162 million) in emerging technologies such as AI and blockchain.
Porsche has also experimented with blockchain-enabled cars for logging locking and unlocking a car, which could enable a parcel delivery agent to open a car.
A similar initiative to Gapless was explored by Lamborghini, which adopted the Salesforce blockchain for its vintage car authentication. Meanwhile, EY is working with an Aussie start-up for developing a blockchain-based vehicle service marketplace.
Among blockchain projects by German automakers, Daimler has taken quite a few strides with its car wallet and remanufactured parts platform. Mercedes is using blockchain to track EV battery emissions, supply chain compliance, and in the used car market.
Meanwhile, BMW is involved in a vehicle identity project as part of the MOBI consortium and is using blockchain for parts traceability in its supply chain.