Company name: Upside Energy
Stage: Series A
Investment date: December 2017
Upside Energy has developed a cloud-based software platform that connects suppliers and users of energy by harnessing latent capabilities of connected devices. Capable of providing core services to transmission and distribution network operators, energy suppliers, battery owners, renewable energy generators and providers of commercial and residential property-based solutions, it enables customers to save on their energy costs or earn revenue by changing their demand curve to solve imbalances for the Grid. Following three years of development and testing, including collaborative studies with the UK government, universities and global equipment manufacturers, the Upside cloud platform is in its commercialisation and scale-up stage, and is being rolled out to the wider market.
Company name: BioCarbon Engineering
Sector: Sustainable Land Use
Investment date: March 2018
BioCarbon Engineering utilises Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or drones, to provide mapping, planting and monitoring for ecosystem restoration services. Every year, 15 billion trees are destroyed from natural and anthropogenic causes. Despite US$50 billion a year spent on replanting, there remains an annual net loss of 6 billion trees. Governments have made commitments to restore 350 million hectares of degraded land—equivalent to an area the size of India, which could accommodate around 300 billion trees—by 2030. The BCE system uses satellite and drone-collected data to determine the best location to plant each tree. The planting drones fire a biodegradable seedpod into the ground with pressurized air at each predetermined position at 120 seedpods per minute. The seedpods are filled with a germinated seed, nutrients, and other vital components. These penetrate the earth, and, activated by moisture, grow into healthy trees.
Company name: Electron
Investment date: April 2018
Electron is pioneering a unique blockchain solution that can build a transparent register of energy supply points, enable coordination and cooperation across multiple players, and facilitate valuable data exchange without the need for a central clearing mechanism. The world is moving towards a new energy system characterized by increasingly de-centralised renewable energy sources and changing patterns of consumption, as seen with the increasing demand for electric vehicles. This is creating the need for a new market infrastructure that can efficiently accommodate new devices, technologies and consumption models, and enable greater system flexibility. Distributed ledger technology, commonly known as blockchain, offers a collaborative, secure and efficient solution to meet these demands. Founded in 2015, Electron has already received numerous grants totalling £1m in grant funding from BEIS and Innovate UK, has partnered with the National Grid and Siemens, and recently announced the launch of a blockchain energy consortium to develop a flexibility trading platform in the UK market joined by EDF, Shell, Open Energi and other leading energy players.
Company name: OpenInvest
Stage: Series A
Investment date: August 2018
OpenInvest democratizes the investment process. It allows ordinary people to invest with their values, which can become an increasingly important component in shifting the >$2 trillion p.a. needed to deliver the Global Goals.
OpenInvest’s platform delivers customized investment portfolios aligned with an individual’s or institution’s values. ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investing, or investing with the intention to generate a measurable, beneficial social or environmental impact alongside financial returns, is increasingly in-demand.
Investors can align their assets with their values by customizing their portfolios through OpenInvest’s cause-based investment screens, including but not limited to: divestment from fossil fuels producers, deforestation, the prison industrial complex or weapons; supporting gender equality, LGBTQ rights, refugees and low-carbon leaders, among many others. Investors can also further individualize their portfolios by including or excluding individual companies. In the meantime, each user’s portfolio auto-rebalances to keep them tightly tracking market indices.
Built by hedge fund technologists and civil society leaders, OpenInvest is changing the way that people invest. The new funding will enable the company to further accelerate its growth and support its continued technological innovation. Recently, the company expanded its customer offering from retail investors to advisors and to institutions such as pension funds, family offices, foundations, and endowments.