Back in October Changers appeared offering a solar powered gadget-charging system designed to power up your USB devices, smartphones and the like, using a simple, one-button device. But this was not your average solar unit. The device uploads how much power it has generated to an online energy marketplace where users compare their energy savings with friends via Facebook/Twitter. It’s “Green Social”. Each saving is turned into “Changer Credits” which can be spent at the company’s retail partners.
But there was a problem. The Berlin-based company quickly ran into financial difficulty – hardware is a tricky business – and went bust. Luckily two of the former founders, Markus Schulz and Daniela Schiffer together with Kushtrim Xhakli the (founder of Trajnimi) and Andreas Rückemann, a former CEO from the photovoltaic industry, founded a new company. Blacksquared GmbH successfully bought back all the assets of the insolvent company to pursue the Idea of Changers.
Now the plan is to launch in Europe and Japan. Here’s their scenario.
Japan is a good market for Changers. There is a nationwide movement after the Fukushima disaster to turn the country green.
They are also launching in Japan with Daymon Worldwide, a huge retail consulting company globally.
So: I’m a Japanese consumer with a Changers device. On my way into work I enter the subway in Tokyo and my Changers solar charger automatically transfers via NFC my “4 CC” (Changers Credits) from my account from the energy I’ve stored up that day with the charger sitting on the apartment balcony. Before I leave the train to enter my office I get a notification about the 48 CCs I got from a car-sharing startup for my eco-driving behaviour, and I can spend that how I like.
Sounds pretty futuristic huh? Well, it remains to be seen if this plucky startup can pull it off, but we love the idea here at TechCrunch.