European B2B Electricity Startup Map by UVC Partners
Our energy system is in the midst of a profound transformation. The shift towards cleaner, decentralized energy generation, electrification, and the evolution from passive consumers to proactive prosumers fundamentally reshapes the modern electricity system and its stakeholders.
Moreover, amid the backdrop of escalating electricity prices and stringent regulations, these challenges present fertile ground for startups to explore untapped opportunities. Thus, this map seeks to illuminate these dynamic shifts and illustrate how startups consistently uncover avenues to help electricity system stakeholders navigate this ever-evolving landscape. Finally, this map is intended to foster collaboration between all the electricity stakeholders by providing an overview of complex mutual interdependencies and connections between them.
List of Abbreviations
DER - distributed energy asset
RE - renewable energy
PV system - photovoltaic system
DSO - distribution system operator
OEM - original equipment manufacturer
PPA - power purchase agreement
REC - renewable energy certificate
The new electricity system challenges are driving a shift in how we generate, distribute, and consume electricity.
Therefore, we organized this map around crucial components of the electricity value chain: electricity generation, transmission & distribution, procurement, and consumption, particularly from the perspective of corporate offtakers. Within each value chain component, we've identified clusters where startups hold significant potential to innovate, highlighting the most interesting companies, use cases, and challenges they are tackling.
Our selection criteria focused on European B2B startups that have secured funding exceeding 1 million EUR and operate exclusively within the electrical facet of the energy system, i.e. X-to-power, excluding heat and gas-related ventures.
This map (see Airtable overview) is a work in progress, and we see it as an initial effort to gather innovative startups in one central location. If your startup is not yet featured, we would be happy to get to know you. Please take a moment to contact us via LinkedIn or email@example.com.
Clean, safe, and diversified electricity production is the cornerstone of an abundant and sustainable energy future.
In this category, we delve into solutions that enhance the efficiency, predictability, and longevity. Furthermore, we highlight technology innovators that diversify emission-free energy generation.
This cluster encompasses companies offering renewable energy (RE) operators essential toolkits to enhance the planning, operation, and longevity of renewable energy assets.
These solutions enable operators to scale efficiently and minimize yield losses. The primary use case within this category involves software tools that empower engineers to better plan, design, and connect renewable energy systems (e.g. PVcase).
These planning tools can function as standalone solutions or extend to an operating platform. These platforms facilitate asset connectivity, enabling monitoring, analytics, performance enhancement, and reporting (e.g. AMMP, skyfri). By consolidating assets into a single operating platform, startups gain access to vast amounts of data, which is the foundation for digital twins of a real energy system used in predictive maintenance tools (e.g. smart helio, ANNEA).
As governments and businesses prioritize sustainability, investing in renewable energies presents a compelling opportunity for long-term growth and environmental impact. Renewable energy deployment is targeted to reach a share of 45% in Europe by 2030¹ and will drive substantial demand for solutions to plan, monitor, and market renewable energy assets.
¹ https://energy.ec.europa.eu/topics/renewable-energy/renewable-energy-directive-targets-and-rules/renewable-energy-targets_en#:~:text=The%20revised%20Renewable%20Energy%20Directive,renewable%20energy %20in%20the%20EU
New Generation Technologies
In this cluster, we collected startups revolutionizing how energy is generated.
Improving production efficiencies and expanding technological energy generation is paramount for reliable and uninterrupted energy production. Solutions are emerging across various forms of energy, including wind, waves, solar, geothermal, hydrogen, and biogas.
Simultaneously, we strongly believe in emerging fusion solutions that can pave the way for an abundant and sustainable energy future, diversifying and multiplying production output. In this pursuit, our portfolio company Proxima Fusion, is at the forefront, pioneering innovative reactor technology to drive this future forward.
Electricity is at the heart of modern economies, and its share of final energy consumption is projected to rise from 20% today to over 50% by 2050 in a Net Zero Scenario². New generation technologies and renewable energy asset deployment strategies are required to meet the increasing demand for clean, secure, and cost-effective energy.
Electricity Transmission and Distribution
The grid serves as the foundational backbone of our entire energy system. Its stability and utilization efficiency are essential for delivering power to consumers.
However, it has become increasingly vulnerable because of a changing landscape. The intermittent nature of connected renewable energy generators is a challenge for balancing the grid; rising electrification strains the grid, leading to inefficiencies and congestion, while costly grid expansions offer temporary relief.
Plus, the entire energy system is shifting towards decentralization, with a growing number of resources (DERs) leading to a distribution grid not built for this purpose. New infrastructure, innovative grid management systems, and balancing systems are needed to address these challenges. The startups offering these solutions are discussed further.
Grid Infrastructure and Equipment
Within this cluster, we've compiled solutions to enhance grid infrastructure and stability. For example, more sustainable verticalized grid equipment solutions such as switchgear by nuventura. Additionally, startups in this cluster are dedicated to grid-scale energy storage applications. Grid-scale energy storage is a vital component of a decarbonized grid, allowing for storing variable power from sources like wind and PV plants. This energy can be stored in various forms, such as thermal energy (e.g. Lumenion), using multiple battery storage technologies like compressed air, air-breathing membrane, and redox flow.
Better technical ways to store large capacities are crucial for stable grid operation in the future. Without them, the challenge of matching intermittent energy supply from renewable sources with fluctuating demand will remain.
As many grids are decades old, the European Union estimates investments of EUR 500bn+ in the upcoming decade to adapt our grids to the expansion of renewables³, leading to a tremendous opportunity for both grid equipment and infrastructure providers.
Grid Monitoring and Management
This cluster encompasses platforms designed to empower utilities with enhanced control over their grids, offering full visibility into grid components and energy flows to promote grid stability and improve infrastructure utilization.
In light of the opportunities presented by electrification and the integration of renewable energy, new challenges are emerging for electricity grids. These grids were not initially designed to accommodate the growing capacity, and the variable nature of renewable energy makes it challenging to align supply with demand.
Consequently, equipping grid operators with new tools tailored to address these challenges has become critically important.
The first use case we identified is software assistance tools (e.g. Plexigrid, Envelio). The need for software assistance tools has grown with the increasing integration of renewable energy into the distribution grid, particularly for Distribution System Operators (DSOs). For instance, Plexigrid has grid monitoring, analytics, and a management platform.
Another benefit from these tools, beyond providing visibility and transparency throughout the grid, is that they enable utilities to create more dynamic energy tariffs that reflect real-time electricity prices and network congestion, making grid management more efficient. The second use case comprises solutions focusing on the hardware enabling enhanced monitoring of grid conditions (e.g. Laki Power, Sentrisense, Heimdal Power). Last but not least, integration-platforms-as-a-service (e.g. Greenbird) enable utilities to develop, deploy, run, and manage several integrations.
As the adoption of DERs continues to rise, grids face increasing challenges from intermittent loads and low-voltage generation connections. New monitoring and analytics solutions are needed to enable grid operators to perform higher throughput and integrate DERs faster.
Virtual Power Plant and Flexibility Trading
This cluster includes startups that facilitate the connectivity of distributed energy assets and help stabilize grids and balance portfolios by leveraging the flexibility of these assets.
The importance of these solutions is in enhancing grid controllability and visibility of its components, all reliant on data flowing from interconnected distributed energy assets. Moreover, the increasing number of flexible loads and generation assets pose both challenges and opportunities for the energy system. They enable stakeholders throughout the electricity value chain to engage in flexibility trading across various energy markets (e.g. day-ahead, intraday, ancillary market), ultimately enhancing the services offered by electricity generators, retailers, network operators, OEMs, asset aggregators, and owners.
Companies offering unified APIs (e.g. Enode, re.alto, spotmyenergy) enable connection, optimization, and aggregation of energy assets. These solutions assist utilities and energy traders in predicting and controlling energy production and consumption, ultimately achieving optimized power dispatch. When connected to one API, energy assets such as generators, storage systems, and flexible prosumers of all dimensions can be controlled remotely as one entity comprising a Virtual Power Plant (VPP) (e.g. Next Kraftwerke, DieEnergiekoppler).
Another use case is trading-as-a-service platforms that focus on specific types of assets (e.g. energy storage - Entrix, Suena) or asset-agnostic (e.g. Enspired, Resonanz), thus maximizing investment returns for the owners. Other use cases in this segment include Data-as-a-service models (e.g. Naeco Blue) that provide feed-in forecasting for renewable energies to help optimize trading.
Fluctuating electricity consumption is now accompanied by variable electricity generation through distributed energy assets (DEA), leading to new opportunities to aggregate DEA, keep supply and demand in balance, and market flexibility in the energy market.
The way energy is procured and traded by companies is also changing. The volatility in energy prices and their upward trajectory creates new startup prospects. At the same time, stakeholders gain access to new energy procurement methods. Additionally, in the face of rising regulatory requirements, the source of procured energy has greater significance, making transparency an imperative consideration in energy procurement.
Renewable Energy Certificates
Within this cluster, we have collected the startups specializing in helping utilities and corporate offtakers manage energy portfolios and gain greater transparency of energy origin. In recent years, increasingly stringent regulations regarding sources of energy come from have come to the forefront. Therefore, novel certification approaches incorporating precise timestamps and geographical origins of energy production have become necessary.
These solutions help reduce the disconnect between real renewable energy availability and consumption. Notable use case within this cluster includes companies that match consumption profile on an hour-by-hour basis, providing end-to-end certificate management platform for companies (e.g. renwabl) and utilities and energy retailers (e.g. Granular). Other solutions focus more on providing energy management platforms for corporate energy buyers, empowering them to make more informed and quicker energy procurement decisions (e.g. flexidao).
To better balance local supply and demand in our distributed energy systems of the future, new monitoring solutions and granular Renewable Energy Certificates are required.
New Green Energy Products
In this cluster, we focus on the emergence of new B2B energy providers that are revolutionizing access to energy products traditionally reserved for large corporations. These innovative providers offer Green Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) that empower business customers to effectively reduce their scope two emissions and ensure stable revenue streams for renewable energy generators, reducing their reliance on subsidies.
Startups in this cluster critically analyze a company's current power consumption, help define an ideal power purchasing strategy, and connect them with the PPA provider.
Our portfolio company, REEL, introduces innovation by intelligently pooling the consumption of multiple companies with matching consumption profiles into a single PPA, enhancing both efficiency and accessibility in the process.
Tighter climate protection targets and increased volatility in energy prices disrupt energy procurement. Challenges in implementing the sustainability strategy and managing costs and liquidity risks in volatile markets currently arise. This leads companies to redesign their energy purchasing and choose new products such as Power Purchase Agreements.
Corporate offtakers are transitioning to more proactive consumers in light of greater flexibility through new distributed energy assets such as on-site PV generation, stationary battery storages, and wall boxes. This transition presents new opportunities for startups dedicated to empowering these former passive consumers to embrace flexibility and efficiency in their energy usage. Solutions span every facet of corporate offtakes energy operations, from optimizing consumption and bolstering local generation to reduce grid reliance and loading to enhancing operational efficiency and facilitating flexible trading.
In this cluster, we collected solutions enabling corporate offtakers to improve their energy operations efficiency by providing more visibility, analysis, and actionable consumer insights.
Corporate energy offtakers face new challenges, characterized by rising energy costs, evolving sustainability compliance regulations, and a shift from passive consumption to proactive participation in an energy system as prosumers. These challenges demand that corporate consumers adapt and refine their consumption behavior. Consequently, the need for solutions providing comprehensive visibility into energy flows, consumption analysis to pinpoint inefficiencies, and actionable insights for addressing them becomes imperative in facilitating organizations' adaptation to this changing reality.
Within this cluster, some startups target individual consumers (e.g. ecoplanet, nista), while others enhance the capabilities of utilities providing services through them (e.g. GreenPocket). Some solutions focus on operational improvements, while others offer corporate offtakers the opportunity to trade their flexibility on the market. Certain startups also combine the enhancement of operational efficiency with electricity procurement offerings (e.g. kerith). All these solutions heavily rely on data availability at different levels, spanning from overall energy consumption data to granular machine-level consumption data.
Customers, shareholders, and regulators actively seek ways to hold companies accountable for their greenhouse gas emissions. To reduce emissions sustainably, increasing efficiency and saving energy are essential pillars of any corporate climate strategy, leading to the need for solutions to manage and actively control energy efficiency.
Within this cluster, we have identified potential solutions evolving into tools for optimizing energy consumption in existing commercial buildings. Developing solutions to enhance the energy efficiency of buildings is crucial to reducing energy consumption, lowering operating costs, and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to both environmental sustainability and cost savings for corporate offtakers.
Notable use cases in this cluster encompass verticalized solutions focusing on HVAC (e.g. Dabbel) and smart thermostats. On the other hand, platform solutions like aedifion and Citron gather data from all building systems to enhance efficiency. These tools excel in visualizing energy flows, monitoring the performance of diverse building systems (such as elevators and boiler rooms), providing energy efficiency recommendations, and enabling automated control over these systems. It's worth emphasizing that all these solutions heavily rely on precise and granular electricity metering, making solutions like metiundo crucial for their functionality.
Buildings are responsible for 38% of energy consumption and 29% of greenhouse gas emissions in Europe⁴. Corporate offtakers therefore have great leverage in their real estate to reduce emissions and require dedicated solutions
The design of energy systems transitions from centralized to distributed, local due to the growing number of DERs. With this shift, utilities and commercial and industrial prosumers are becoming interested in solutions that enable holistic planning and managing of their local energy system, allowing them to better integrate their distributed energy generation assets such as PVs.
Therefore, in light of this transition, decentralized energy systems designed to ensure uninterrupted, independent power supply, cost and energy efficiency, and alignment with sustainability goals are gaining significant relevance. Use cases in this cluster vary depending on the scale of the energy system to be planned. For instance, Sympheny offers concrete energy system design solutions using digital twins to support data-driven decision-making at the urban planning level.
Zola provides community-level electrification solutions. At the individual building level, solutions like node.energy, solarize, and Ampeers Energy enable businesses to implement tenant electricity, assisting with planning, implementation, and billing.
In addition to new electricity procurement strategies, electricity generation on own premises or surrounding properties effectively reduces CO2 emissions for corporate offtakers. To design and operate these energy systems, corporate offtakers require dedicated solutions.
Stationary Energy Storage
This cluster encompasses solutions tailored to assist corporate offtakers in planning and integrating local energy storage systems. The changing energy landscape is prompting businesses to rethink their options. One of the sector's significant challenges lies in solving power interruptions and escalating costs, making local energy storage appealing. Additionally, it contributes to reducing the load on the local grid. Within this cluster, several use cases stand out. Firstly, companies like Geniess provide analysis services and guidance to identify the most optimal storage solutions for capacity and investment.
Secondly, startups offer battery-as-a-service for various applications, e.g. by Clean Energy Global. Thirdly, battery technology providers such as STABL or phellas bring innovations to battery design; for instance, STABL, our portfolio company, developed inverter technology capable of reducing energy storage losses by 70%. Lastly, some companies focus on providing services related to energy utilization, such as peak load avoidance and self-consumption optimization, as demonstrated by Cactos and Voltfang.
Worldwide energy storage installations are projected to increase 15 times and reach a cumulative 1,194 gigawatt-hours by the end of 2030⁵. Corporate offtakers will take a significant share in the overall stationary energy storage market to reduce energy costs through peak shaving and increase self-generated electricity consumption.
This cluster provides an overview of startups that facilitate the ongoing electrification of the mobility sector. Companies are increasingly seeking support to electrify their fleets and are actively searching for appropriate services and infrastructure solutions to address this challenge effectively. Within this cluster, various startups offer solutions to support mobility electrification.
For instance, startups like our portfolio company ChargeX specialize in designing, planning, and implementing customizable yet scalable solutions encompassing hardware and software. They provide lucid services throughout the charging station's lifecycle. Other solutions, such as those offered by Paragon Mobility, focus on semi-custom solutions tailored to specific needs. Companies like Rocsys innovate the charging process to make it fully autonomous.
The EV charging wall boxes market will rise significantly, and AC charging will be the backbone: By 2030, the global electric vehicle (EV) stock will expand to 350 million vehicles while charging infrastructure is still massively underdeveloped ⁶. Charging at the workplace is in demand by employees and also helps to achieve climate targets of corporate offtakers.
About the Authors
Svetlana Tokareva is an Investment Analyst at UVC Partners. She is an engineer-turned-VC with a strong background in the energy sector. Armed with a Master's in Power Engineering and Business Administration from TU Munich, she's a bridge between technology and business. Besides her product and biz dev roles at the operator's side, in her research, she's been deep-diving into technical and economic aspects of smart grids, coupling of mobility and energy sectors, and sustainable charging of electric vehicles. Her goal is clear: to support and empower founders in energy and climate tech domains to create a lasting impact on the world.
Jakob Banhardt is a member of the Berlin investment team at UVC Partners. He has a mechanical engineering and management background and previously contributed to Planetly, a start-up for ESG management software.
About UVC Partners
UVC Partners is a leading Munich- and Berlin-based early-stage venture capital firm that invests in European B2B tech startups from pre-seed to series A. With about €400 million in assets under management, UVC Partners typically invests between €500,000 and €10 million initially and up to €30 million per company. The portfolio includes category leaders in deep tech, climate tech, hard- and software, and mobility with various technologies and business models. As an independent partner of UnternehmerTUM, Europe's most extensive innovation and startup center, UVC Partners has access to proprietary deal flow, an industrial network of more than 1,000 corporates, and access to talent from the leading European technical university. The investments include Flix, Vimcar, planqc, Tanso, Isar Aerospace, TWAICE, DeepDrive, STABL, and many more. They all benefit from the team's extensive investment and exit experience, their ability to build sustainable category leaders with a competitive advantage, and their passion for growing the game changers of tomorrow.
Learn more at www.uvcpartners.com
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