Our 6th June Pitch Event at Browns Covent Garden in London was another record-breaking success, with a packed, engaged audience of more than a hundred, five new excellent pitches and a very positive update from one of our existing live deals.
Of the six presenting teams, three focused on segments of the renewable energy value chain, and the three others on equally essential sectors of the green economy: energy efficiency, the circular economy and clean agriculture.
If you are interested in learning more about any of these six exciting opportunities, as well as our three other live deals – BuyMeOnce, Smile Plastics and Simplifai – please contact Nick Lyth
AirEx – Smart ventilation system, tackling energy efficiency and fuel poverty
AirEx first presented to Green Angel Syndicate in November 2018 and was invited to return to update GAS members on its progress since then – including the key milestone of having been officially selected by Ofgem for its Energy Company Obligation innovation scheme. Our due diligence is well underway and completion of the investment round is expected shortly.
Ambition – Improving energy efficiency in the housing stock is one of the largest levers that need to be worked on to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in countries such as the UK. AirEx tackles this huge issue thanks to its intelligent ventilation control system that helps householders reduce their heating energy bills without compromising air quality.
Market and business model – AirEx replace the existing air vents in homes with a ‘smart vent’, that regulates the airflow by automatically adjusting its aperture. This is based on self-learning algorithms that analyse information from the system’s smart sensors (monitoring environmental conditions such as the temperature, humidity and air quality in the house) and can predict occupants’ behaviour and weather patterns.
The primary target market for Airex is social landlords, for which it will charge an install price and a subscription fee. However, the company also focuses its commercial efforts on utilities, which, under Energy Company Obligation regulation, will have large budgets to spend over the coming years on the trial of innovative energy efficiency technologies.
Airex is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce a building’s CO2 emissions, with a much lower capex per tonne of CO2 saved than draught proofing, underfloor insulation or boiler replacement.
What it’s achieved so far – In November 2016, Airex secured its first R&D grant and made its first prototypes. Since then, it has achieved independent validation of its product, won the Business Green ‘Cleantech Startup of the Year’ award (2017), secured certification and manufacturing partners, and has been selected by Ofgem for its ECO3 innovation scheme – paving the way for a large scale trial with EDF Energy over the coming year. Airex also has live trials with several large social landlords. To date, the company has secured funding of £355k including £175k in equity (£100k from Sustainable Accelerator and £75k from Greenbackers) and the rest in grants.
Team – Agnes Czako is co-founder and Managing Director. Andrew Wordsworth (Sustainable Ventures) is co-founder and Chairman, and the company has a development team of three.
Exit – Airex foresees a trade sale to a building technology manufacturer firm by 2022-2023 and is already engaging with large corporate partners.
Fundraise – Seeking £500k (EIS) to enable the reduction of the units’ production cost and to complete the product’s ECO3 certification by April 2020, thanks to the delivery of a large scale trial project with EDF Energy. The company expects that it will need a further £1m investment to achieve positive EBITDA and to accelerate the commercial deployment of AirEx on a pan-European level.
Loopster – Online platform for nearly new kids’ clothes
Ambition – Loopster is an online platform which makes buying and selling second-hand kids clothes effortless. Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world: Loopster extends the life of clothes, reduces their carbon and water footprint and reduces the amount going to landfill.
Market and business model – The UK second-hand stores market is estimated at more than £900m, including £200m for children’s wear. For sellers, Loopster do all the hard work; they simply fill a bag with their clean discarded clothes and send it to the company. For buyers, Loopster enables cash strapped parents to shop quality second-hand clothes at a price lower than supermarket ranges. Loopster sells its products at 25% of retail price but still believes it can generate a healthy direct margin by buying the clothes at a fraction of the retail price.
What it’s achieved so far – Loopster was founded in 2017, got initial financing from family and friends in September 2018 and took part in the ween social tech accelerator in early 2019. Since September, the traffic on the site has grown by 350%, the company has received more than 1,250 orders for its Clear Out Bags, without any promotion, and revenue has grown by 17% month-on-month. Loopster has been featured in the press including BBC Radio 4 and The Guardian.
Team – Jane Fellner, the founder, is a former award-winning investigative filmmaker for Channel 4 and the BBC, with first-hand experience of the human cost of producing cheap clothing. The management team have decades of experience working in digital marketing and development backed up by advisors including the founder of IT Lab and the founder of ClearlySo.
Exit – Loopster aims to exit to one of the US resale giants such as TheRealReal or ThreadUp.
Fundraise – Raising at least £250k (SEIS, EIS) to develop the backend (to reduce the processing time of clothes); to optimise the frontend and improve conversion; and to move into women’s clothes.
OnGen – Commercial assessment tool for onsite renewables and storage
Ambition – OnGen is a software service that automates the assessment of complex renewable energy systems and storage, without the support of a technical expert – enabling all energy users to realise the benefits of meeting their energy needs from locally generated renewable energy.
Market and business model – OnGen’s tool allows anyone with access to energy data to quickly, accurately and cost effectively determine which renewable energy generation technologies they could deploy on a given site; what size these should be; how much they would cost; the financial return they would generate; and how much carbon they would save - “all from just the address and a click of a button”. OnGen’s primary target clients are the private sector, including energy brokers, community funders, facility managers and energy suppliers.
What it’s achieved so far – OnGen most won the Energy Managers Association ‘Best energy saving product of the year’ award at the end of 2017 – and it has signed up a wide range of customers, in both the public (e.g. NHS Scotland; the Greater London Authority) and the private sector (Arbnco; CoopEnergy; CBRE, etc.).
Team – Christopher Trigg (ACA), Managing Director, was a founding shareholder and financial director of Spark Energy, and the founder and MD of Clearer Energy.
Exit – The founders would consider a private equity-funded management buyout or a strategic sale to an energy broker, battery manufacturer, energy supplier or energy consultancy.
Fundraise – Seeking £1m (EIS), to further develop the product (e.g. to include renewable heat technologies or off-grid/mini grid systems for EVs) and to hire to accelerate sales & marketing.
Ripple Energy – The clean energy shared ownership platform
Ambition – To develop shared ownership of large scale onshore windfarms so that consumers can directly act on climate change, as well as reduce and stabilise their electricity cost for the long term, with zero hassle.
Market and business model – Ripple targets households, typically offering them to own 1,200 watts of a windfarm for an upfront payment of £1,300, and in exchange supplying their electricity for 25 years and reducing their electricity bill by £85 per year.
Ripple will have three revenue streams: the arrangement fee i.e. a commission on the construction cost of the wind farm, paid upfront; the customer acquisition fee, paid by the supply partners for any new customers they acquire thanks to the Ripple offering; and the monthly management fee, a share of the wind farm’s O&M costs.
Source: Ripple Energy
What it’s achieved so far – Ripple was founded in 2017 and has secured £150k equity investment in spring 2018. The team has been building the platform, identified potential pilot projects, and secured letters of interest from three electricity suppliers. Early commercial traction is evidenced by the 1,000+ pre-registered customers (no marketing campaign so far). Ripple has received significant national and trade press coverage.
Team – Sarah Merrick, founder and CEO, has 18 years’ experience in the wind sector and was vice-chair of RenewableUK. Miklos Parrag, CTO, has 20 years’ experience in tech, including online consumer platforms. Simon Peltenburg, Chief Projects Officer, is a wind farm developer with 15 years’ experience in the wind sector.
Exit – The team foresees a trade sale to a new entrant in the home energy market, by 2024.
Fundraise – Raising £750k+ (EIS) to launch Ripple’s platform in the UK, including completing the development and launching a pilot project (opening for ownership by September 2019 and entering its operational phase in April 2020); growing the team and gearing up for a full scale project.
Rootwave Ubiqutek – Eliminating weeds with zero chemicals
Ambition – Ubiqutek’s RootWave technology kills weeds using electricity in a scalable and sustainable way – contributing to improving health and the environment by reducing the use of chemical herbicides.
Market and business model – The need to control weeds is a large ($31bn) and growing global industry, dominated by herbicide manufacturers, but the harmful impacts of these chemicals for the environment and for human health are now well-documented and their future is in question.
Ubiqutek is generating revenue from the sale of its professional hand-weeder for spot-weeding and invasive species, but beyond that, the company aims to scale by integrating its technology with partners who have existing weeding platforms across agriculture, consumer, horticulture and amenity markets. For example, it is integrating its technology with three agri-machinery companies for cereal, vegetable and fruit crops, including the Small Robot Company’s autonomous robots.
Source: Rootwave Ubiqutek
What it’s achieved so far – Ubiqutek was founded in 2012. It has received a total of £2.5m in EU and UK grants as well as £1.8m in equity from friends & family, angels and Yield Lab accelerator. Rootwave Pro, its professional hand-weeder was launched in 2018. In 2019, it was granted patents in Australia and Europe, and has signed an agreement with a global agrochemical company.
Team – Andrew Diprose, CEO, has a long experience in management consultancy, with Accenture and Alpha Financial Markets Consulting. Robert Diprose (MBA), founder and Chief Research Officer, notably spent 10 years with QinetiQ as a system engineer.
Exit – Will be looking for a trade sale to a strategic partner in one of its target industries.
Fundraise – Raising £4m (EIS) to support the commercial development with key integration partners.
Sennen Tech – Efficient management solution for renewable energy assets
Ambition – Sennen Tech’s mission is to give owners of renewable energy assets the ability to manage those more efficiently and reliably, by collecting data in the most cost effective way.
Market and business model – For owners and operators of renewable energy assets (solar, onshore and offshore wind, etc.), the operation and maintenance cost contribute to ~25% of total lifetime costs – representing annual expenditures of £50bn today and due to grow to over £100bn by 2025.
For these corporates, Sennen Tech provide a software-as-a-service solution consisting of a proprietary asset and enterprise management system. It prices its core functionality at £60-250 per MW per year, depending on the size of the client’s portfolio. Looking ahead, it anticipates vertical expansion (to help owners and operators of other types of assets such as water treatment plants, hydropower, etc.) and horizontal expansion as well (offering new functionalities).
Source: Sennen Tech
What it’s achieved so far – Sennen Tech has secured 60+ projects, five clients, representing more than 1,100MW – including the London Array wind farm, John Laing and Arevon Energy. Several trials and negotiations are ongoing with very large potential clients. This is significant traction for a SaaS offering that was launched only six months ago.
Team – Gaby Amiel, CEO, a qualified lawyer, has headed asset management teams at a renewable energy service provider and an environmental infrastructure fund. Paul Grimshaw, founder and CTO, has created the Sennen Tech dedicated platform.
Exit – Sennen Tech foresees an exit after 5 years, to an industry corporate or a tech company.
Fundraise – Raising £250k to consolidate and enhance its asset management product, including new advanced functionalities and AI-based features; and to accelerate customer acquisition.