In 2016 Green Angel Syndicate made an investment in Powervault, a British company that makes smart energy storage systems for the home. Three years and two further investment rounds later, the company has secured its first deal with electricity supplier EDF and is well placed to take advantage of the emerging market for domestic batteries.
“Investment from Green Angel Syndicate and their active support in the business has helped to unlock money from other places,” says Joe Warren, Managing Director, Powervault. “They helped us with fundraising, marketing, branding and PR. Since we started working with them we have sold 500 systems, increased revenue and tripled our staff.”
“We have had two GAS members on our Board – Simon Acland and Nick Lyth – who have provided excellent support. Simon has just stepped down as Chair after five years, having found someone to take over who has specific previous experience building a manufacturing company to £20 million of revenue and a successful exit – just the path that we need to follow. Simon’s been able to use his contact base to open doors at a senior level with some of our key partners and potential partners – EdF, UK Power Networks, Engie, SSE and Good Energy amongst others. I know he would say that it is Powervault’s team that has done the hard work to develop those relationships, but it has been incredibly helpful to have the door opened! Fortunately Simon is staying on the Board as a Non-Exec. He has over thirty years of successful experience investing in technology companies, so has been able to help us find our way through the start-up maze in many other ways too. Nick’s sales and marketing skills have also been really useful.”
Powervault technology was originally designed to allow households with solar panels to store their own solar energy. The team later realised the benefits their smart technology could bring to the wider market by working with electricity suppliers. “It is about being able to unlock the value of tracking electricity price and bringing that value to customers,” explains Warren.
Energy storage is crucial to maintaining the resilience of our electricity supplies as more renewable sources join the grid. This includes large scale ”grid connected” storage as well domestic battery systems that will increasingly be used by local operators and suppliers to help balance the grid, matching supply and demand and reducing customer bills.
“We have recently completed a two-year trial with UK Networks, a distribution network operator, that showed our product could reduce demand for peak consumption by 60%,” says Warren. As a result, the company has a contract with UK Networks to install its product in Barnet, North West London, which it hopes will be the beginning of a wider roll out.
Competition for Powervault’s product comes from Tesla in the US and Sonnen in Germany. According to Warren, it is Powervault’s clever cloud control software that gives their product the edge. “We have a good customer proposition. We are able to create bespoke deals according to suppliers’ needs, helping them to achieve increased margins and better customer loyalty.”
What is next for Powervault?
The Powervault team has a lot to be excited about for the future. They are developing their relationship with EDF and have other supplier deals in the pipeline. They are also working with social landlords to create self-funding solar installations for social housing.
“We have been looking carefully at the life-cycle of our products since we founded the business and our long term aspiration is to achieve closed loop recycling. We already offer the option of second life batteries in our products and have a battery recycling agreement in place.”
Latest generation Powervault technology has the ability to interface with other products in the home, such as appliances or the charging system for an electric vehicle, allowing it to operate as an integral part of the smart home of the future. “One day Powervault will be as common in the home as washing machines,” says Warren.
Author: Rachel Owen (GAS member)