The bird is the word. Tap turns 3.

by Nico Spoelstra, Co-founder

Tap turns three today. Not the app, which was first launched in April 2021, but the company: Tap Electric B.V. was registered on this day in 2020. Since then, we went from a small driver app with access to a handful of chargers, to a full-fledged charging platform that manages chargers in four countries and helps users navigate the good, skip the bad and fix the ugly chargers. Sometimes, when I explain what Tap does and how we run our business, people respond with “Oh I didn’t know that”. So, here’s a mix of celebration and reflection.

A timeline so far


  • Quit my job, but stayed on as a freelancer to generate some extra bootstrapping money. 
  • Registered the company in November. 


  • The app publicly launched in April. Users could start and stop charging via the app or RFID, but only on a limited network around Amsterdam.

  • Won our first big deal with TotalEnergies in Amsterdam.

  • Launched cool new driver features, such as an RFID key protected with 2FA and AI-generated availability predictions.


  • Dan joined as co-founder (!).
  • We launched the charger management platform in the UK. Anyone can now connect their chargers to Tap, manage them and collect payments, for free.
  • We drew up the Tap culture, before we even had a team.


  • Dan led our seed investment round and we signed with LUMO Labs, Shamrock Ventures and Fair Capital.
  • Tap became a gang of five.
  • Accelerating growth.

We are

Leonardo Da Vinci, a woodpecker and curiosity

Year one

Steve Jobs inspired many people, many of them (like me) post-mortem. His own inspiration in turn came from Leonardo Da Vinci, who like Steve Jobs paid great attention to details that would never be seen by the ‘user’. Drawing the muscles and then paint a face over it; it feels a lot like Apple caring about nuts and bolts in the Apple II that no-one would ever get to see.

When an early version of Tap was largely done, I still didn’t have a name for the company. I had a little ‘incident’ two years prior at my previous employer, where we launched a product in the UK. Only to then realize that what sounds cool in Dutch can be quite revolting in English. So this time, I paid great attention to the task and made sure to check in with native English speakers before launching anything. I had just read Walter Isaacson’s biography on Da Vinci and was greatly inspired by the story of the woodpecker.

Da Vinci kept notebooks with him all the time, and scribbled things in there that kept his mind busy. One such note simply read ‘describe the tongue of a woodpecker’. Leonardo was on to something. As scientists discovered only much later, the woodpecker has a unique tongue that rolls up in its skull which dampens any external impacts. If not for that, it would crush its own skull every time it pecks on a tree. To me, that note is the ultimate display of curiosity and curiosity is why I founded Tap.

The woodpecker, a.k.a. tapper, is why Tap Electric is not called Newt, Solgo or Sparkit. (I have a long list with terrible names.) I tap, you tap, we Tap. The bird is the word.

When you’re just starting out and obsessively thinking about your customer, it’s the perfect time to set out some core principles for your product. Three years later, they still stand.


  1. Tap provides a uniform driver experience. Much like getting an Uber, charging your car should not make you think about payment, how to plug in or which app to use. One (button) tap to use them all, regardless of charger brand, operator, country or day of the week.

  2. Since everyone carries a display in their pocket, all info should be available at any time – before, during and after charging. We only work with chargers that let drivers track pricing, progress and performance. We warn users about bad pricing and inform them about the expected performance.

  3. Give every user the best product you have, not a white-labeled or freemium version of it. It is much nicer to work with product evangelists than with pushy SaaS-salesmen, where every desirable feature always seems one price level away.

  4. We do everything we can to drive prices down for drivers. Whether it’s through dynamic pricing that follows spot markets or by directing drivers to the cheapest chargers in the neighborhood. Fixed prices are bad prices, because they punish cheap chargers and make it hard to reward flexibility (a key currency in the energy transition), so our retail tariffs always follow the wholesale tariff set by the charger network operator.

Co-founding the company

Year two

After doing Tap on my own for well over a year, I grew tired of the solo-founder life. It was never my intention to do this thing alone and I asked a few others to join me, but after a few polite nos I decided to just go for it and not look back. In the summer of 2022, a lot of stress, despair and many lines of code later, I met with Dan to make him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

I presented him with recent developments in the UK and how that was slowly turning into an amazing growth driver for Tap. Tap had started connecting chargers straight to the platform, so they could be managed, maintained and exploited for free.

Tap’s primary customer was (and still is) the driver and it didn’t feel right to ask money from anyone other than the most important user of the platform. So it’s free to connect your charger to Tap. This allows us to keep a laser focus on providing the perfect driver UX. To this day, the first question we ask ourselves before any new feature is developed in Tap is ‘how does this benefit the driver?’.

Tap found a niche market in airbnbs and hospitality locations in the UK. Thanks to a partnership with Easee (we integrated their API for a super smooth onboarding of their popular chargers), Tap was ready to grow and I needed help.

Dan and I had worked together at GreenFlux, both as Product Managers. We knew that we had good chemistry, complementary areas of expertise, and a way to communicate with complete honesty without offending each other. By now I had finally forgiven him for crushing me at pong every Friday afternoon – no matter how much I practiced. On that afternoon in a café in the Leidsebuurt in Amsterdam, Tap promoted from a bedroom-startup to Dan’s attic (neither of us had a garage). We became co-founders.

Next up: figuring out our go-to-market strategy in the UK and feeling out investor interest. And then building a team around Tap. Dan would split his time talking to installers, hardware partners, charge network operators and potential investors, while we were getting better at telling the Tap story and our vision on this chaotic market.

You’re quite technical for a customer support rep

Year three

When a British customer called our support line not too long ago, the conversation quickly became rather technical, discussing how energy contract management could help this customer hand over site management to their property manager. “You’re quite technical for a customer support rep”, he said at some point. “Well yes, sir, I also wrote the code for this part.”, I replied happily.

When you call Tap’s support, there’s a good chance you get a developer on the line. When you write us an email, the answer will be from someone who knows every feature in the tiniest detail, from designing or building it.

Before Dan and I hired a team, we spent time defining our culture. You’ll never get another chance. So we wrote the 5 commandments that define how we Tap. Perhaps the most important of them is this:

Treat every customer request as a bug.

Whether something is broken, not clear or just isn’t supported yet, we treat it as a bug. And so, instead of simply answering a question by pointing at documentation, we want the customer to talk to the person who can solve his problem. We fix the product, simplify a flow, update a button’s text or we consider supporting their new case.

Sometimes, when a problem becomes a trend, you tend to throw more people at it and pray they handle every question or complaint within 24 hours. We throw developers and designers at it.

We raised EUR 1M in the summer of 2023, which allowed Dan and me to finally pay ourselves a salary. Bootstrapping had come to an end, although a lot of the bootstrapping principles still apply to Tap. Sustainable growth from happy partners and customers still works and feels better then ad-fueled growth. The investment allowed us to rent an office in the heart of Amsterdam and fill it with the smartest minds we could find. It feels good to hire people who know a lot more about something than I do, whether it’s design, analytics, marketing or code.


Year four

We have big plans for the next twelve months. We will help drivers find the cheapest charge with radical transparency, so that more people can make the switch to electric. We will build and connect more charging algorithms, so people can fill their car with ultra-cheap electricity. And by connecting more chargers across the world to the Tap network, we will process payments with less friction, less costs and more energy.

Electric cars should become the heroes of the grid. They will allow us to consume and store more unpredictable supply of wind and solar energy, instead of using more predictable but polluting fossil fuels. When we design systems to charge batteries at the cheapest or greenest moments, or when we pause charging to stabilize the (local) grid, we should not forget the responsibility to keep things simple and transparent for drivers.

This puts drivers at the core of the energy transition. Every algorithm and every interface has to be designed with them in mind. Connecting chargers means nothing if we cannot facilitate easy, transparent and affordable access to it for drivers. At Tap, we will continue building the user interfaces and algorithms that enable us to electrify mobility as fast as we can.

To celebrate our Tappy Bird-day, you can now play Tappy Bird in the app while you’re charging on of the 150.000+ chargers on Tap. Fun fact: the game has been hidden as an easter-egg in the app since year 1, paying tribute to Leonardo and the woodpecker. No-one ever found it. My colleague Dana reached a high score of 326. Can you beat her?

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