Thursday Dec 08, 2022

“Dare to dream big.” Interview with Enpal Founder, Mario Kohle – EU-Startups


Enpal earned the distinction as Germany’s first green unicorn when in October 2021, it secured 150 million euros from the world’s largest tech investor, Softbank. 

Based in Berlin, Enpal is making it easier for homeowners to switch to solar energy by offering a complete package consisting of a solar system, energy storage, its own green electricity tariff and smart home environment on a subscription basis. Founded in 2017, in just 4 years Enpal became the largest provider of solar solutions for homeowners in Germany, with over 12,000 customers.

We caught up with Mario Kohle, Enpal’s Founder & CEO to find out more about scaling a unicorn, his personal entrepreneurial story (which includes some twists and turns), and the rooftop revolution Enpal is instigating. In this inspiring interview, Mario also shared that Enpal is currently embarking on a bold and exciting mission: to supply one million households with their own solar system by the end of the decade and become one of the largest green energy platforms in Europe.

Before founding Enpal you were the CEO of startup Aroundhome. What motivated you to pivot and launch Enpal, taking on another sector?

In 2008, during the economic crisis, a school friend I founded the internet marketplace Aroundhome, which provides products and services for all aspects of the home such as kitchen construction or stair lifts. In 2019, the leading German media group ProsiebenSat.1 acquired Aroundhome, which at the time generated external sales of €1.5 billion. 

I left Aroundhome in 2017 because I was increasingly concerned about the climate crisis that we’re already facing every day. I just wanted to do something about it – but with the skills I knew best: building a successful company from scratch . 

At Aroundhome, I already had a lot of touchpoints with companies that sold rooftop solar systems. I quickly realised the great potential of the renewable energy market. Buying your own photovoltaic systems is still very complicated, complex, and expensive, and there is a lot of bureaucracy involved. This can be very frustrating and overwhelming for customers. With Enpal, we wanted to make this whole process super easy and offer our customers a no-brainer solution. So I asked two of my best friends, Jochen Ziervogel and Viktor Wingert, if they wanted to join. 

By the way: Our company name “Enpal” is a combination of “energy” and “pal”. That’s exactly how we see ourselves: as a good friend that helps you switch to your own green energy. 

Do you have any advice for first-time founders or founders who want to change direction/pivot into new products or sectors?

Always use a crisis as an opportunity: We have grown so much as a company during Covid because we wanted to come out stronger, which we did. This doesn’t mean that we were only chasing high evaluations. When you think of yourself as somebody that made it in the world, you stop becoming somebody. I live with this mantra every day and so does everyone working at Enpal. We always aim for the next step possible, and we are driven by how we can offer our customers the best experience and product, how we can build …….


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