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UK smart energy start-up secures investment

The company has developed a technology that connects and benefits both suppliers and users, while reducing carbon emissions

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Graham Oakes, founder of Upside, which aggregates energy stored in everyday connected devices
Graham Oakes, founder of Upside, which aggregates energy stored in everyday connected devices

In its first major round of venture capital financing, UK smart energy start-up, Upside Energy, has attracted £5.5 million in order to grow its team and speed up the commercialisation and deployment of its cloud-based smart-grid platform.

 

Legal & General Capital, principal investment arm of Legal & General Group, and SystemIQ, an investment and advisory firm, co-led the investment. Modern Energy, the Bulldog Innovation Group and individual investors also provided capital.

 

Upside Energy was founded by Graham Oakes, a systems engineer with 30 years’ experience who held senior roles at Sony, Sapient, Skype, Intel, Vodafone and Greenpeace. The company has developed a technology that connects and benefits both suppliers and users, while reducing carbon emissions.

 

While the market for renewable power such as wind and solar is growing, these come from multiple sources and are intermittent. This makes it harder for power stations to generate electricity consistently.

 

Upside Energy’s platform aggregates the energy stored in everyday connected devices, such as batteries and hot water tanks, to create a virtual energy store that can be drawn on as needed.

For National Grid, Upside Energy’s first customer, this means it can better balance electricity supply and demand from renewable sources.

 

Customers can also save on their energy costs or earn revenue if they avoid using electricity during peak times.

 

In addition to providing access to business connections and mentoring, UK innovation agency, Innovate UK, has supported Upside Energy in multiple collaborative research and development projects.

 

This includes a total grant of £470,000 to develop a pilot for its core service and communication protocol, with partners Sharp Laboratories of Europe, Select Innovations (enLight) and the University of Manchester.

 

It was also awarded an SBRI first-of-a-kind deployment contract for £43,000 to install home energy storage systems into 400 homes with an existing PV system.

 

Upside Energy is currently involved in an Innovate UK-funded project. It is part of a £2.9 million consortium to develop a physical and digital network to integrate systems that will enable the balancing of heating, cooling, electricity, and carbon, via a low-cost approach.

 

Other collaborators include Cranfield University, London South Bank University, Mixergy, Origen Power and Terra Firms Ground Investigation while cleantech specialist ICAX is the lead.

 

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