Social impact fund backs Verv’s home energy management system and renewables platform
Verv, the Google-mentored start-up behind a cutting-edge smart energy hub and green electricity sharing platform, today announced that it has raised over £6.5 million (€7.26m) in its Series A round led by environmental fund Earthworm.
Earthworm has invested £5 (€5.58) million in Verv’s pioneering IoT and renewable energy trading technology that could drive down household electricity bills and carbon emissions by over 20%. Other investors in the round include European innovation engine for sustainable energy, InnoEnergy, Crowdcube and international energy and services company, Centrica.
Earthworm’s investment is an important backing of Verv’s vision to make millions of homes more green with a global network of smart hubs that offer a real-time breakdown of key appliance use and spend, as well as enable the trading of domestic renewable energy between communities.
Will Brocklebank, Head of Projects and Partnerships at Earthworm who has now joined the Verv board, said: “At Earthworm we are driven by sustainability and Verv represents a brilliant example of ‘enabling’ technology. Its energy metering, analytics and renewable energy trading platform will help millions to reduce energy consumption, to shift their demand to minimise cost and CO2.”
Verv will use the investment to continue its push into global markets, leveraging its growing footprint in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, supported by further development of its three-phase electricity smart hub which enables huge growth in reach by providing compatibility with even more buildings. Verv will also be scaling up its peer-to-peer energy trading pilots and taking its technology to new markets ready for commercial application, as well as expanding its internal home control system for the next generation of smart home energy management systems.
Verv’s customers include British Gas, PTT and Dubai Electricity & Water Authority. Verv conducted the UK’s first peer-to-peer trade of energy on blockchain technology last year at one of its pilot sites in Hackney, London where its cutting-edge energy trading platform is being brought to life.
Verv is Google-mentored having been one of a handful of UK startups selected to take part in Launchpad, Google’s global startup programme in 2017.
Head of Technology at Google, Mark Masterson, said of the Series A funding: “When I saw Verv pitch for a space on our start-up programme in 2017, I was extremely impressed by their vision and drive to push the boundaries of tech with their leading edge AI technology and blockchain. To see them bring this to life, expand their global footprint and achieve some amazing accolades like conducting the UK’s first trade of energy on the blockchain, I couldn’t be more proud. They are riding at the forefront of the energy industry to try and create positive change, and I wish them huge success going forward.”
Established in 2015, Verv has raised over £10 million (€11.17m) to date with investment from the likes of Innogy International Middle East, Scytale Ventures and equity crowdfunding. Centrica (British Gas), who had previously invested £1.9m into Verv through its social impact investment fund Ignite via a convertible loan, exchanged this loan for shares in the Series A round which is a huge testament to the Verv team and Centrica’s belief in them.
CEO & Founder of Verv Peter Davies said: “It’s vital to have investors that not only understand your vision and mission, but share your passion to deliver it. As our lead investor, Earthworm have huge expertise in the energy industry, as well as a strong foundation and network to help move us from start-up to scale-up. We couldn’t be more pleased to have them join our network of valued investors to help accelerate our traction. We are extremely excited for the next phase of our growth as we help to drive the transition to the decarbonisation of households.”
Sustainable accelerator InnoEnergy will support Verv with its impressive IP roadmap which already consists of 7 filed patents for its AI and blockchain technology, as well as connect the team to market and commercial opportunities across Europe.
Alexander Goos, Business Creation Manager at InnoEnergy, said: “Our industry connections and energy specific expertise will be a perfect fit with the needs of Verv. The solutions they develop potentially impact markets in ways that seem like fantasy today. Verv will not only generate efficiencies and insights for households, but also enable new business models for energy providers, utilities and other industries.”
About Verv’s technology
Verv’s technology reads data up to five million times faster than a smart meter, enabling it to identify unique energy signatures and unlock real-time consumption and cost per appliance, amongst other smart home features, to help drive behavioural change in the home.
Taking the smart home one step further, Verv has created a peer-to-peer renewable energy trading platform based on blockchain technology. The trading platform allows homeowners with renewable energy generation like solar panels to sell surplus energy directly to their neighbours at the best economic value for both parties. This enables green energy to become more readily accessible and affordable to the masses and also incentivises the uptake of renewable energy by offering owners a return on their investment, a particularly important point given the end of the feed-in-tariff.
Verv’s blockchain-based platform is currently being implemented at a social housing community in London where Verv executed the UK’s first peer-to-peer trade of energy using blockchain in April 2018. Centrica have joined the second phase of the trial which will focus on bill consolidation.