Chris: Hi! Can you tell us more about yourself and the role you're playing in that blooming project?
Alex: I am Alex Rawitz, one of the Cofounders of DIMO and the COO of Digital Infrastructure Inc. one of the companies building the DIMO Network. I’ve spent ten years in and around startups, building startup ecosystems, working in IoT and crypto, and now combining all of that experience here. It’s an honor and a pleasure to chat about DIMO.
Chris: Thanks for accepting my invitation to the interview. So talking of the DIMO.zone - how do you help drivers to get the most out of their car?
Alex: Cars produce an unbelievable amount of data. Many people are familiar with the way some data is limitedly used for automotive apps and services: insurance cos that give you discounts for your driving habits, a CarFax report that lets you prove the health of your car before you sell it, or a vehicle GPS that can help locate you if you need roadside assistance.
The problem is 1) drivers don’t control the data (it lives on the servers of each company that collects it) and 2) developers that could offer you better automotive services can’t access the siloed data either. People should think of cars as a connected device, just like their phone. Imagine if your phone only came with the apps that the phone maker gave you?
The whole magic of your phone is the app store and the freedom it provides. So whether you have an Android or Apple and prefer TikTok or the NYTimes Crossword puzzle, you have access to apps from third party developers that make your phone amazing. Back to the auto industry: you have dozens of hardware makers who are trying to control their own app ecosystems. The vehicle experience for all will get better with an open platfrom — DIMO.
Chris: Interesting. How old is the company? How was the idea formed?
Alex: Digital Infrastructure Inc. started about two years ago. It was a product studio working on a range of projects in IoT, mobility, and robotics. The idea for DIMO Network began there, and the team at Digital Infrastructure Inc. started working on it about a year ago. Since then, the DIMO Foundation began independently as a non-profit to support the development of the DIMO Network and several other companies have joined the effort.
The idea came out of a variety of experiences. Much of our team has a background in the auto world from auto marketplaces to AV projects, and we also have deep experience in crypto. We marveled at what Helium had accomplished with their IoT network, and had the idea to build “Helium but for cars” in order to support the connectivity infrastructure we believe is necessary for next generation mobility.
Chris: Do I understand correctly that your App is a piece of art?
Alex: As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder! We get pretty uniform feedback that the DIMO app looks beautiful, and we’re really proud of that. For me, art is both form and function, and we’re still really looking forward to upping the functionality for users.
Chris: Can you tell our readers about your Ecosystem?
Alex: The DIMO Ecosystem is a way for drivers to spend the money they’re already spending on their car (financing, maintenance, etc.) and put it to better use. Today, we are bringing select partners to help users save time and money. We’re also introducing new services like Vehicle Genius, which helps users navigate the complex auto-world to save money. Over-time, the ecosystem will have brand new apps that users have never seen before: we’re excited about people building truly peer-to-peer versions of Lyft or Turo right on top of DIMO.
I’ve personally used DIMO Ecosystem partners. Funny though it may sound, I’m not really a car guy, so paying Vehicle Genius to help me with all my car questions is awesome. Beyond that, I’m using Lease End to save a ton on my financing. The best part is that drivers earn extra $DIMO when they spend in the ecosystem.
Chris: I was also deeply interested in the Rewards system you assign to certain users. Can you elaborate on this?
Alex: There are two ways that DIMO users earn $DIMO rewards when they connect a vehicle. Everyone earns a portion of the weekly drop (baseline issuance) after connecting a vehicle, and they earn more when app developers and data consumers pay for their data or vehicle access (marketplace issuance). Between the ecosystem and the marketplace rewards, one way to think about $DIMO is like an airline reward point for your car.
Chris: What are your company's upcoming big things you all anticipate?
Alex: We have a lot of exciting features to bring to users this year. First off, we’re really focused on delivering more immediate utility. This means a huge upgrade to the amount of data available to the average driver as well as new data points like error codes and new visualizations that offer a better picture of the evolving health of your car.
Beyond data, the biggest thing we’re working on in the short run is what we generalize as “roles and rights.” This is a broad category of features that will enable a variety of ways for users to share their vehicle and its data with others. It could be spouses sharing data access to a car or a fleet manager delegating access / info to a driver. This will open up a huge range of features for users and perhaps more importantly, developers.
Chris: Amazing! Anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Alex: We’re excited to lead this brand new physical infrastructure network crypto category that's already gathering steam and should be a novel new area.
Messari covered the sector for the first time recently and one of our investors labeled the category "Token Incentivized Physical Infrastructure Networks" in an article. There are a ton of terms (TIPIN, PoPW, EdgeFi, DePIN and more) and we are starting to see conferences and virtual events on the subject. It's sort of like DeFi before DeFi was a thing, and I think users really need to pay attention to his sector.
Chris: Thank you! Any last word before the Festivities season?
Alex: The DIMO Shop is open, and users can save $40 with code MAINNET. Not to mention, with Shop Pay Installments, many users can make payments of less than $100 per payment for a device. It’s never been easier (or cheaper) to get started with DIMO.