Posted By

Isabela Ortiz


Before Don Frieden started his company, gas stations hadn’t innovated their payment technology
since 1997. He knew that needed to change.

Original Post | Innovationmap

Before Don Frieden started his company, gas stations hadn't innovated their payment technology since 1997. He knew that needed to change.

P97, founded in 2012, exists to use innovative technologies to simplify and energize daily journeys, Frieden explains on the Houston Innovators Podcast.

The fast-growing company — which has nearly 200 employees, most of whom work from Houston — has raised over $100 million in venture funding, according to Crunchbase, most recently closing a $40 million series C round earlier this year. This funding has supported P97 as its expanded its technology, even expanding outside of gas station payments and into other sectors, like consumer packaged goods, mobile app development, and alternative fuel sources.

Part of what P97 is focused on too is adapting new technologies, including biometrics, and applying them to the payments world. Voice-enabled payments is something in particular that Frieden is working on.

"One of the things we’re most excited about is voice enable payments through our partnership with Amazon's Alexa," he explains. "The landscape of payments at gas stations underwent this next revolution, and we're using cutting-edge speech recognition and artificial intelligence to allow drivers to pay for fuel just using their voice.

"It makes the process faster and more efficient, and is completely hands-free," he continues, explaining that biometrics are also safer compared to card transactions. "From this time I say, 'Alexa, buy gas,' six seconds later, the gas would be turned on and any loyalty rewards I have would be applied, all from the comfort of my car."

Frieden shares more about the future of P97, payments, and the energy industry as it intersects with P97 — including the future of alternative fuels — on the podcast. Listen to the interview below — or wherever you stream your podcasts — and subscribe for weekly episodes.

The popularity of electric vehicles is growing at an exponentially fast rate. According to Forbes, in Q2 of 2022, electric vehicle sales accounted for 5.6% of the total auto market, up from 2.7% in Q2 of 2021. While some of the growth can be attributed to drivers desiring an environmentally friendlier method of travel, the transition from gas to electric power is largely fueled by government incentives. Taking the lead is California which recently passed a plan that, according to the New York Times, requires all new passenger cars and light trucks sold in the state to be electric vehicles or plug-in electric hybrids by 2035. New York, following California’s lead, will also require all new vehicles sold in the state to be electric by 2035. With the Biden-Harris Administration announcing that all 50 states have submitted their EV infrastructure deployment plans, and auto manufacturers planning to produce more EV and hybrid vehicles in the coming years, there is no doubt that EV is the future. Now the question is, how will gas stations and convenience stores adjust their models to stay relevant in the EV world?

From Gas Stations to EV Stations

According to the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), many convenience store brands, including 7-Eleven, Sheets, and Circle K, are investing in EV infrastructure. Although this infrastructure is costly to install and charging stations will bring little profit to convenience stores, at least in the short term, many hope that while waiting for charging to complete, drivers will go into the store and buy their favorite snacks to pass the time. Many have started to brainstorm ideas to make electric vehicle charging more of a destination stop for drivers. Forbes has suggested a few ideas to keep EV drivers in the store longer, such as “sit-n-wait” environments, rentable workstations, and auto detailing services. P97 Networks has many tools to get drivers into the store to take advantage of existing and new services. For example, drivers could use the convenience store’s mobile app to find charging stations nearby, make a reservation, pay for and activate the charger, and earn loyalty points on in-store transactions. Additionally, convenience stores could use apps to communicate with drivers via push notifications, in-app messages, SMS, and emails. Offering deals and discounts through the app may be the incentive a driver needs to enter the store and make a purchase. With so many ideas and the rapid growth of EVs, the only thing that is certain is that the convenience store in the future will look quite different than the gas station of today. 

P97 Networks, a leading connected commerce company that serves the retail fuel and convenience industry, is working diligently to fuel the modern world. P97’s connected commerce technology supports one of the largest EV charging networks in Canada as well as in Europe today and P97 is dedicated to supporting the energy industry with the electrification of transportation. To learn more about P97’s EV solutions, visit to schedule a demo with a sales representative.

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