Green Angel Syndicate’s fourth pitch event took place at the spectacular Taylor Wessing offices on 15 February, with a packed room of investors and five high profile companies targeting five diverse but highly essential areas of the green economy:
Here is a quick summary of what we learned from these businesses, which are all a perfect match for Green Angel Syndicate: businesses with exciting long-term growth potential, able to make a positive contribution to the economy, and good for the environment and for the people on our planet.
If you are interested in knowing more about any of these investment opportunities, please contact Simon Acland or Nick Lyth.
Naked Energy – Hybrid Heat & Power Solar Energy
Ambition – To become the market leading solar, thermal and hybrid technology company, unlocking the global potential for renewable tri-generation (heating, cooling and power).
Market – Naked Energy has created a range of modular solar collectors called Virtu, one generating both heat and power (PVT) and one solar thermal collector for hot water (HOT). It is addressing both the electricity and heating & cooling markets, focusing not on the commoditised solar PV market but rather on the solar thermal market which it sees as larger and underexploited. Target clients are commercial buildings with flat roofs such as commercial centres and hotels.
Business model – Naked Energy targets an ’energy-as-a-service’ model in partnership with energy service companies and leveraging project finance for large installations. It aims at delivering best-in-class economics to its clients, with a very short payback time. Competitive advantages include Virtu’s performance (proven higher level of energy density) and practicality (PVT and HOT collectors can be mixed in any ratio to adapt to each client’s needs and are easy to install). Manufacturing is due to be outsourced to Naked Energy’s global partner Jabil Circuit (the world’s eighth largest PV manufacturer), hence a capital light business model.
What it’s achieved so far – The Virtu product is an innovative combination of well-established technologies. Its patented design results in proven market-leading efficiency levels. The product has been field tested in different geographies and passed due diligence undertaken by Jabil. The first-generation units have completed over a full year on the rooftop of a hotel in Malta. The company was founded in 2011 and has raised £3.8m to date in grants and equity.
Team – Christophe Williams (CEO) has worked as a senior creative executive in the advertising industry for over 15 years. Dr Adrian Murrell (CTO), Chemistry DPhil from Oxford University, has 20 years’ experience in industrial research and product development, including the role of CTO at Applied Materials. Nicholas Simmons (CFO) was Yahoo!’s first European Finance Director. Naked Energy has several high-profile advisers and a technical cooperation with Imperial College London.
Exit – Expected by 2022 through a trade sale although an IPO may be considered in the context of creating a larger Energy Service Company.
Fundraise – Raising £3m (A round growth capital) to start the outsourced production and hence enable the commercial launch.
Powervault – Home electricity storage
Ambition – To dominate the home energy storage sector by delivering a market leading return on investment for customers. The firm’s mission is to help homeowners in the UK cut energy costs, increase energy security and reduce carbon emissions.
Market – Powervault targets the 26m homes with smart meters or solar panels by 2020. It builds home energy storage batteries to store electricity from a home’s solar panels and electricity bought from the grid when it is cheap, and to discharge either for the home’s own usage or into the grid, as a service to the utility. The emerging home energy storage market is being driven by key trends: 1) the growth in solar panels (approximately 900k); 2) the rapid fall in the price of batteries and 3) rising electricity prices.
Business model – Powervault’s units are designed to enable a return on investment of up to 15% thanks to a combination of a low-cost structure (device itself; partnership with Renault-Nissan to recycle electric cars’ battery cells; simple installation) and the aggregation of multiple revenue streams (energy savings for the household, services to utilities). The company is discussing with utilities so that they become distribution partners, in addition to its existing distribution channels.
What it’s achieved so far – Founded in 2012 by Sustainable Venture Development Partners, Powervault has won several awards and received over £285k in grants and prizes and it has raised more than £3m in equity rounds from VCs, crowdfunding and angel investors. The company has sold approximately 500 devices so far and has a revenue run rate of over £1m, as well as partnerships with Tonik, Green Energy UK and UK Power Networks (8m homes in the South East). The new version of the Powervault appliance, due in April, will be able to interact with other smart devices and appliances in the home and even mine bitcoins.
Team – Joe Warren (MD) has 10 years’ experience in the smart grid sector (Open Energi) and previous experience in the Internet sector (Pipex). He obtained a BA from Oxford University and an MBA from INSEAD. Toby Nightingale (CTO) has 25 years of international experience in bespoke engineering research, design and development. He has brought products from initial concept to large scale mass production. Matthew Harnack (Commercial Director) has worked in the renewable energy industry for over twenty years, including roles at Good Energy and Ofgem.
Exit – By 2021 through a trade sale to an OEM, utility or smart grid firm, or an IPO.
Fund raise – Raising £500k EIS. Powervault will need two rounds of £500-750k to reach breakeven.
Elmtronics – Electric Vehicle Charging Points
Ambition – By 2020, number four player in what will be a very large EV charging market in the UK. This will notably entail developments in software and rolling out a new concession model.
Market – The UK EV market is predicted to grow exponentially over the next decades, from 135k electric cars today to 10m by 2030, and from 150k chargers today to 20m by 2030.
Business model – Elmtronics installs, maintains and operates EV chargers. This includes the selection and installation of the charging equipment, on-going maintenance and related software solutions.
What it’s achieved so far – Founded in 2014, currently focused on the B2B market for private companies and public entities, with 145 customers, 170 charging points to be installed in 2017, and a market share of 6%. It is revenue generating and profitable. It has secured partnerships with e-On and Nissan. It aims at differentiating through superior customer satisfaction, a result of its high-quality charging equipment, excellent customer service and user-friendly management solution.
Team – Dan Martin (founder CEO and Commercial Director) and Anthony Piggott (founder and Technical director), both boasting a decade of experience in EV charging; Paul Lancaster (FD and co-owner) and Jean-Jacques Jouanna (NXD and co-owner); a team of 13 plus installation partners.
Exit – By 2020-2022 through an acquisition by an energy, EV charging, facility management or electricity service company. One international energy company has already expressed interest.
Fund raise – £400k at £3.6m pre-money valuation to fund software development and a relaunch in the residential market.
Rovco – Subsea Robotics Technology Enabling real-time Visual 3D Data Capture
Ambition – To revolutionise subsea survey with its autonomous underwater vehicles and artificial intelligence-powered 3D data collection.
Market – Rovco is subsea robotics company offering an end-to-end solution for real-time subsea visual 3D data capture. It targets offshore wind and oil decommissioning, both very large markets (e.g. a total of $210bn for oil decommissioning globally between now and 2040).
The problem, solution and business model – Existing solutions for subsea 3D vision are limited due to poor computer vision and data transmission. Monitoring and inspection missions currently require extensive teams and large, polluting vessels, and are very costly (typically £10m for a three-week campaign). Rovco is developing automated underwater vehicles (UAVs) and related software, generating real time 3D imagery with low bandwidth requirement, providing better quality images, 3D navigation and enhanced data collection. Ultimately this will dramatically cut the costs of underwater inspection and monitoring. Rovco targets patenting for its technologies by 2019.
What it’s achieved so far – Rovco’s autonomous, AI-based 3D survey product will be in development for a few years, but the company is already generating significant and fast-growing revenue, using its existing technology (‘the world’s most powerful subsea camera’), providing a lower cost and better service than competitors. It has raised a £150k SEIS round from Sustainable Ventures, collaborates with Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and has won £240k worth of grants.
Team – Brian Allen (CEO) has 15 years’ experience in subsea and 9 years in robotics, and he has delivered £20m+ subsea projects. Iain Wallace (CTO) has a PhD in artificial intelligence, worked on the Mars Rover Vision Systems for the UK & European Space Agency.
Exit – Rovco is planning on an exit via a trade sale in five years.
Fund raise – £500k EIS at a target pre-money valuation of £3m, with funds to be used for the development team, the sales team and to launch the 3D service.
Plantwork Systems – Breaking New Ground in Fresh Water Treatment
Ambition – To provide innovative, sustainable solutions to all sectors of the wastewater treatment industry, combining biological engineering with mechanical and electrical design.
Market – Water and sewage companies in England have a £20bn budget over the next five years, part of which will be invested to improve the quality of the water released from treatment plants. For example, the Environment Agency aims to cut the maximum concentration of phosphorus to 0.1mg/l by 2025. Plantwork’s system called NUTREM can biologically remove phosphorus and nitrogen to very low levels – unlike current systems which rely on chemicals. The company has also developed a ‘sludge thickener’ system enabling a 75%+ reduction in sludge volumes.
Business model – Plantwork is a turnkey contractor: it develops the solution fitting the problem of each water company, designs the product using its specific technology, and delivers it to the client. It expects to generate high margins as each plant has a bespoke character. For the sludge thickener, which is expected to be the main revenue generator in the short term, the business case for the customer derives from its savings on sludge tankers and hence on transportation cost.
What it’s achieved so far – Plantwork has a demonstrator pilot plant which has been operating and yielding data for over three years. It has got grants from UKWIR and Innovate UK, developed strong links with the Environment Agency, and is working on a multimillion pound pipeline of orders.
Team – John de Moraes (Executive Chairman), Robert White (MD), Raj Oliver (Commercial Director), Adam White (Operations Director), Matthew Jones (Finance Director) and Dominic Oliver (Head of Business Development).
Fund raise – Raising £600k EIS at a pre-money valuation of £7.5m.
Find out more
If you are interested in knowing more about any of these investment opportunities, please contact Simon Acland or Nick Lyth. For those who missed the pitch evening last week, or if you wish to refresh your memory, you can now see the full recording here. Please note, you will need to register first.