Tech startup Equiwatt has raised £300,000 to roll out its energy management app across the UK.
The app rewards customers for cutting consumption during peak times, allowing them to turn off applications simultaneously as a community, leading to significant reductions in collective demand.
To allow Equiwatt to scale up, a funding round involving the North East Venture Fund - supported by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by Mercia - and North East angel investor Owen McFarlane was launched, resulting in the £300,000 of capital. The round was supported by Williams Ali Corporate Finance.
The funding will allow the company to run trials in the Gateshead area where it is based, as well as create four new jobs.
For ever 1,000 households that use the app, 250 tonnes of carbon dioxide are offset according to Equiwatt. It is aiming to have 100,000 users in the near future.
Equiwatt is “a form of demand side response that is one of the first on a residential scale in the UK. Using connected technology and an engaging user experience through rewards and gamification, we are making it possible for consumers to take part in residential demand side response (rDSR),” explained Johnson Fernandes, founder of the app.
“By collectively switching off appliances across households at the same peak times, consumers can help to put less stress on the energy grid, improve the grid’s electricity supply efficiency and do their bit towards achieving a cleaner and sustainable energy system.”
Equiwatt was established in 2017, and is now ‘attracting the attention of an increasing number of major energy companies’ according to the company.
Speaking to Current±, Fernandes said the company was not yet able to announce any partnerships due to the early nature of them, but did point to work it had undertaken with Western Power Distribution on network data previously, via the OpenLV project.
Equiwatt has been supported by a number of organisations, including the EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator and Newcastle University.
In March, it was one of six companies selected to take part in a business growth programme run by the Energy Systems Catapult.
Product manager Atzin Madrid explained further that the platform uses artificial intelligence to identify rDSR actions that people can take, and Virtual Power Plant software to dispatch signals about these actions to participating homes.
“Our mobile app helps users respond to these signals and get rewarded for their rDSR actions. Users can earn anywhere up to £60 per year in rewards and potentially earn more by taking part in community prize competitions.
“RDSR actions can also be automated using our app by connecting IoT devices such as smart plugs and smart appliances to our platform and allowing us to automatically manage these smart devices on behalf of the user".