Intriguing blockchain projects are scarce. Gapless is one of them. Having recently raised €5.5 million in an investment round led by the joint venture of FinLab AG and Block.one, the company has reaffirmed its position as one of the pioneers of blockchain technology.
The Gapless app is an end-to-end solution for car owners looking to keep full and transparent history of their vehicle. Not only that, the app also makes car management easier and more streamlined. However, Gapless as a company has much bigger goals. The vision of its founders is one of a transparent marketplace for assets that expand way beyond cars.
In light of its recent success and impressive goals, we reached out to the Gapless team in hopes of learning more about their history, present situation, and future plans.
Jan Karnath, the CEO of the company, agreed to answer our 15 questions. Whether you’re an investor, user, or just interested in various blockchain applications, the answers below build a good picture of where Gapless is at the moment and, more importantly, where they are headed.
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born in Germany and lived in the US and Cape Town before moving to Berlin with my family. I am a serial entrepreneur and prior to this I worked for several years as a Strategy Associate at SAP. In 2018 my co-founders and I founded Gapless.
2. Can you explain, as simply as possible, exactly what problem Gapless solves?
Gapless aims to bring transparency and trust into the market for used premium cars. This marketplace has been bogged down [by] fraud for decades, and it can be a nightmare for average buyers and sellers to navigate. Gapless has the power to make every part of the process simpler and more transparent.
But Gapless is also about streamlining car ownership. It assembles all the documentation, scheduling and budgeting – all the hassles of owning a car – onto one, intuitive digital platform. This eliminates the need for logbooks, stacks of paperwork and excel spreadsheets. With Gapless, you have everything you need to stay on top of your car’s health and management on a single app.
3. How did the idea for Gapless come to be?
I was struck by the potential blockchain provides for decentral [sic] business models. We asked ourselves which industries could benefit from this technology, and landed on markets for non fungible assets, like cars. In the future, Gapless will also bring trust, transparency and security to other markets.
4. Why did you decide to call it Gapless?
We originally chose Gapless because it refers to a gapless vehicle history, which only the most meticulously documented vehicles have. To record such a gapless history is something that requires dedication and passion, just like starting a company.
5. How long have you been working on Gapless?
My co-founders Andreas Joebges & Malte Häusler, and I founded Gapless in September 2018.
6. Can you share some key stats about Gapless that show how the app has progressed since its advent?
We launched the Gapless app in April of last year and started first marketing activities in May. Since then, 50,000 cars have been added to the Gapless platform. In total, our users from the UK, US and Germany have over 500,000 events in their vehicle timelines.
7. What are three key features of Gapless that make the app stand out?
Some of Gapless’ key features include the data packages, maintenance reminders and the vehicle profile itself. When you make a Gapless profile for a car, you can choose to unlock data packages with detailed information about the car and its history, much of which you may have never seen before. This data is integrated directly into your vehicle timeline, where it is automatically organized and displayed through an intuitive interface. These packages also include information about your car’s recommended maintenance, which Gapless uses to notify you exactly what your car needs ahead of time.
Going forward, as you add information to your car’s profile, you are creating a blockchain-verified documentation of your car’s life. Detailed, trustworthy and easy to understand. This kind of document becomes invaluable should you ever decide to sell the car.
8. Can you explain exactly how blockchain helps enable Gapless?
Blockchain enables Gapless to store data about assets on our platform in a decentralized, tamper-proof way that is accessible to the average consumer. Thanks to its [sic] blockchain’s inherent transparency, Gapless will guarantee in the future the validity of all the information on our platform.
9. How would you describe the work environment at Gapless?
I’d say the Gapless work environment is pretty comparable to many Berlin startups. Our young team is highly motivated, very international and constantly growing. When we aren’t working from home, Gapless operates in an open office in central Berlin with freely available snacks and drinks and much more.
10. How are you managing the situation with the global COVID-19 pandemic?
Gapless has had an easier time adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic than other companies. We are a very digital company, so we were able to make a smooth transition to home office in mid-March. Many of the key tools of working while on lockdown – Slack, video conferences, shared documents – are all tools that we were already using every day. The pandemic has been more challenging for some of our partners, like OEMs, workshops and insurance companies, for instance. Accordingly, we’ve rerouted some of our energies away from these partnerships, and toward developing new ideas and improving upon our existing products.
11. I see that you are working with Porsche. Can you tell us a bit more about your partnership with the car giant?
Not right now. But I can tell you that we have great things in the pipeline that we will share in the future.
12. Can you tell us about potential partnerships with other car manufacturers? Are any in the works?
Not right now. But again I can tell you that we have things in the pipeline that we will share in the future.
13. What do you think are the biggest challenges you will face as Gapless grows?
Gapless will of course face many of the same challenges that all startups face, like maintaining a good company culture, dealing with growing, finding new investors, [and] adapting to economic trends. We take all these factors into account, and we welcome the future with open arms.
14. What do you hope to accomplish in 2020?
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we were striving towards our goal of doubling the number of cars on our platform to 100,000. Naturally, growth is still a top priority for us, and we’re still striving for that number today. However, we’re also trying to use this uncertain time as an opportunity to be creative. In that spirit, we are testing and developing new features that we’d originally planned to tackle later on in our roadmap.
15. As a closing remark, can you share with us your long-term vision for Gapless?
We want to become the go-to platform for all the things you love. In other words, cars are just the beginning. We aim to build transparent, secure and convenient marketplaces for many different types of collectible assets like motorcycles, watches, or art.