Our 26th September pitch event at Urban Innovation Centre in Clerkenwell, London, was packed with more than 90 attendees and a fantastic line-up of five companies. The companies represented very different sectors, from buildings to industry to electric vehicles to online second-hand shopping. However, all of them had not only a very strong investment case but also a very clear contribution to make to solving the climate crisis – so all were perfectly aligned with Green Angel Syndicate’s objectives:
If you are interested in learning more about any of these five new attractive opportunities, or about our three other live deals – Utonomy, The Scottish Bee Company and Gecko Rubber - please click here. For more information about the current follow-on investment opportunities in Piclo and Alusid announced at the 26th September pitch event please email email@example.com.
IndiNature – 100% plant-based home insulation system
Ambition – IndiNature manufacture an innovative construction insulation system made entirely of plants, with two aims: to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, an essential task to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings; and to reduce the impact of insulation material, thanks to a product that is made from renewable resources and is re-processable and biodegradable.
Market and business model – IndiNature address a large and growing market – the construction insulation market. This is a £40bn market globally, of which £760m is in the UK. The route to market is for architects to specify IndiNature’s product and for building contractors to purchase it. IndiBreathe's competitive advantages are not only that it is very cost competitive, but also that it is 100% plant-based, using no petrochemical plastics at all.
What it’s achieved so far – IndiNature was founded in 2016. In 2017, the company won a place on the Climate KIC business accelerator in Edinburgh as well as Best Circular Economy Initiative at Scottish Resources Awards; in 2018, IndiNature was named Top 30 European Cleantech Startup. To date, it has received $320k in grants and garnered £186k in sales leads and letters of intent. IndiNature have manufactured prototypes and installed their product in a building.
Team – The co-founders are Scott Simpson (MSc Architecture), Managing Director; Sam Baumber, NXD, with 17 years in building enterprises as well as commercialisation and start-up experience; Ewan Mealyou (MSc Business Management), NXD, with 30 years senior management and start-up experience; and Euan Lochhead, practicing architect specialising in sustainability and historic conservation.
Exit – The founders are committed to growing the business for the long term but can foresee an exit to a large corporation in the construction or construction material sector.
Fundraise – Raising a minimum of £250k in seed equity, which will unlock public investment and asset finance, to set up production in Scotland, notably to purchase machines.
Coomtech – Energy efficient drying technology for bulk materials
Ambition – Coomtech has developed a drying process for bulk materials that mechanically removes surface moisture, rather than evaporating the water by means of CO2-generating heat. It aims at replacing the current drying process used for billions of tonnes of raw materials and minerals each year, across many industries, a process which is both costly and energy inefficient.
Market and business model – Coomtech’s application is the drying of minerals, sand, construction products and food stuffs. The global construction minerals market is large ($75bn) and growing. Companies in these markets are facing increased pressures to reduce emissions and energy use. For example, drying ingredients for cement, the most used product globally after water, releases 7% of the of the total CO2 emitted globally.
The Coomtech technology cuts greenhouse gas emission by up to 80% and energy use by up to 75%. It will also enable very substantial operational cost savings – making the case for its adoption very compelling. The company simply proposes a module to be included into plant builds, replacing the old inefficient module. The business model delivers revenue in the form both of capital at construction and of annual revenue, with typical contracts lasting 5-10 years.
What it’s achieved so far – The technology was invented, and initial seed investment was secured in 2013. Since then, the technology has been tested and improved in a pilot plan and numerous patents have been filed, in 12 countries globally. In total, since incorporation, £2.9m have been spent, of which more than half in R&D. Coomtech have established a formal commercial relationship with Fairport Engineering, a UK-based EPC contractor with a long established track record.
Team – Philip Jarvis (CEO) has recently joined the business to take it forward through commercialisation. Philip has substantial executive leadership experience notably with Xerox. Peter Anderson (co-founder and COO) brings 30 years’ experience as a Director and MD of operating and manufacturing businesses. Chris Every (co-founder and Commercial Director) has held director and CEO roles at major blue chip corporates and at cleantech start-ups.
Exit – Coomtech anticipates an exit within five years to either a yield seeking financial investor (PE) or an industry investor who could implement a faster global roll out.
Fundraise – Raising £3m, including a £1m “early bird pre-round”, to be used for working capital, development and market expansion.
Ventive – Naturally intelligent ventilation
Ambition – Ventive have developed a unique method of ventilating buildings, without the cost and complexity of traditional systems. The system reduces heat loss in winter and helps cool in the summer – reducing CO2 emissions while improving comfort.
Market and business model – Harnessing natural forces to drive airflow, Ventive recovers heat from the stale exhaust air into the fresh supply air. Systems are pre-loaded with sensors, so they can respond to the environment they are in, working silently in the background.
Ventive is targeting a £2bn market across the domestic, educational and commercial sectors in the UK and Europe. Ventive have a range of products, at different development stages, but all providing fresh air with energy recovery as standard, that can be fitted to different types of new or existing buildings: Windhive (roof mounted; supplied to commercial, education and domestic clients), In-Vent systems (mounted in the walls and designed for offices and schools) and Ventive Home (using an exhaust-air heat pump, providing fresh-air, hot water and heating to houses).
Drivers for demand include the energy saving potential linked to the reduced need for active heating and/or cooling, but also legislative measures (e.g. in schools, legislation requiring better air quality, and, in commercial real estate, legislation requiring environmental performance). By 2025, all new UK homes are due to be off-gas, which will boost demand for solutions such as Ventive.
The company operates a B2B model, selling to specifiers (Architects & M&E Consultants) and contractors. Longer term, Ventive also sees a large potential from sales of data services to both commercial and domestic clients.
What it’s achieved so far – So far, Ventive has received £1.8m in grant funding and £1.9m in equity investment. The company has established sales in both domestic and commercial sectors: it has shipped more than 800 domestic units and installed over 100 commercial units; and is seeing repeat orders from major UK companies. Since 2010, Ventive has won many awards and accolades including The Sustainable City Awards, Sustainable Homes, UK Green Building Council, Construction News Awards and Shell Springboard.
Team – Tom Lipinski (co-founder and Technical Director), is a multi-award-winning entrepreneur specialising in building physics, architecture and design; Rob Morrison (co-founder and Managing Director), has over 15 years’ experience in senior management and business development in the construction sector.
Exit – Ventive foresees either a trade sale to a competitor or an automation tech company, or an IPO. Several acquisitions have taken place in the space in the recent years, including Nuaire (2015), Breathing Buildings (2016), Netatmo (2018) and Simx (2018).
Fundraise – Ventive are seeking £2m to launch the company from its existing platform.
Flexible Power Systems – Enabling the optimal deployment of electric vehicle fleets
Ambition – Flexible Power Systems assists companies in making optimal investment choices when procuring and deploying large fleets of electric vehicles – thereby helping the adoption of EVs and accelerating the much needed clean transportation revolution.
Market and business model – Flexible Power System’s target market is companies with vehicle fleets in the logistics, retail, service, government and construction sectors – representing 265k vehicles in the UK alone.
These commercial vehicle fleets will plan for large scale procurement of electric vehicles over the coming years. Procurement best practices for diesel fleets are not adapted to EVs – for example, unlike diesel vehicles, EVs differ in terms of cost, range and interaction with other electricity consuming processes at depots – hence a risk of wasted investment if vehicles are mis-specified.
FPS’s decision support software aims at optimising the client’s investment when procuring large numbers of EVs – based on data such as vehicle usage, journey dynamics or seasonal trends, enabling the fleet operator to select the best mix of vehicles for each single site, and ensuring feasibility of the deployment by simulating the implied charging load of every EV at every site.
The company anticipates revenues from one-off licence fees plus recurring subscriptions. Beyond its initial offering, FPS has identified a long term opportunity in supply chain energy optimisation.
Source: Flexible Power Systems
What it’s achieved so far – FPS was founded in 2017 and since then, the company has secured £2m in grant funding from BEIS and Innovate UK, as well as significant collaboration agreements with Waitrose (sharing large amounts of order and journey data with FPS, to enable software development), First Group (idem with bus arrival and departure events), Sainsbury’s (R&D project) and Hitachi (test case).
Team – Michael Ayres (Managing Director) has more than a decade’s experience in early stage cleantech companies, and the team also includes Jeremy North (Finance Director), David Warwick (Data Analytics Lead), James Derby (Engineering Director) and Lionel Curtis (Vehicles Lead) – all highly experienced in their respective fields.
Exit – FPS foresees a trade sale to an energy major, electricity supply company or fleet finance provider who would wish to incorporate the software in their product offerings.
Fundraise – FPS is seeking £1.6m in SEIS and EIS eligible equity investment, to combine with £2m in non-dilutive grant funding, most notably to accelerate its sales activity and for further product development: enhancing the current planner, developing the other modules and converting the software into a product.
Thrift+ – Innovative circular economy model for the second-hand clothes
Ambition – Thrift+’s ambition is to change the way that the everyday shopper shops for everyday clothes, by making it easy and rewarding to donate your best second-hand clothes to your favourite charity. Capitalising on the movement away from fast fashion, Thrift+ aims at being the UK’s next billion £ fashion retailer.
Market and business model – Thrift+ is an online marketplace enabling owners of quality clothes to donate them so that they are sold second-hand. Thrift+’s uniqueness stems from its “donation with reward” model – whereby the proceeds of the second-hand sales on the website are divided in: one third for the donor; one third for a charity of his or her choice; and a third to pay for the service.
The service itself is made to be seamless: donors order a ThriftBag, fill it up, and return it via 7,000+ local drop-off points or by booking a collection. Thrift+ track every item and every transaction allowing the donor to follow their donation all the way to their chosen cause. Donors can use their Thrift+ credits to shop online, but the credits can also be exchanged for partner discounts – creating the a ‘circular model’ for retailers to offer to their customers.
What it’s achieved so far – Thrift+’s retail sales are already significant, and three key developments are on the way: the company is launching a partner offering with Farfetch, the online clothes retailer with 400,000 UK customers, in October; it is tripling its capacity by taking space in a 180,000sqft retail warehouse; and it will soon be a Registered Merchant of PayPal Giving Fund, which will enable it to fully automate donations to any charity in the UK.
Team – Joe Metcalfe (Cambridge University), Founder, has experience with Credo and Charity Street; Poppy Rainer (Oxford University), CTO, has previous experience with Accenture and Argos; Kay Hubbard (Reading University) is head of Operations, with experience at Disney and Headstart.
Exit – The team envisages a trade sale to a large US second-hand online marketplace willing to expand to the UK; or to a more traditional UK fashion retailer willing to expand into Thrift+’s fast growing segment.
Fundraise – Seeking £1m to fund the next 12 months to establish Thrift+ as the place to shop second-hand; scale operations in the new warehouse; and partner with retailers & charities to acquire donors.