Theresa May announced at the end of 2016 that the UK government was injecting £2 billion a year in government spending towards research and development, with a focus on “priority technologies,” reported CityAM.
While May’s subsequent (and long awaited) speech on the government’s Brexit strategy raised concerns over ‘hard Brexit’s’ impact on environmental legislation, there was some specificity over support for green technologies. “From space exploration to clean energy to medical technologies, Britain will remain at the forefront of collective endeavours to better understand, and make better, the world in which we live,” she said.
However, as with all things Brexit, it is still a waiting game. So, with no commitments to green tech yet outlined by the government, how verdant is the current green-tech start-up landscape in the UK, and what does the future hold?
We’ve compiled a by-all-means-not-comprehensive list of green-tech verticals that have secured an impressive mass of funding, great potential for growth and disruption, and the start-ups who are delivering just that:
While Tesla, Nissan and VW are currently making headlines for battery production and storage, ancillary firms can play a huge role in the development and dissemination of products for the consumer market.
Powervault, a smart energy company that has developed a storage product to “help all households use energy more efficiently,” was recently a recipient of investment from the Mayor of London’s Co-investment Fund and raised £750,000 in 2016 via crowdfunding.
ChargeSync, a London-based company currently fundraising on Invesdor, aims to provide domestic properties and businesses with half-hourly metered battery boxes which are centrally optimised by ChargeSync.
Faradion, a Sheffield-based developer of low cost sodium and lithium-ion batteries, recently raised “£1.3m in Series B funding from high growth technology investment firm Mercia Technologies,” reports TechCity News. It has teamed up with Moxia Technology and the University of Warwick’s Energy Innovation Centre to create storage for solar energy, making it more accessible for the domestic market.
Pavegen, a British-based company, has created a unique technology that harvests energy from people’s footsteps and converts it into electricity. The company is about to expand into the US as it applies its ground-breaking floor technology to a busy thoroughfare near the White House.
Pavegen’s pivotal financial moments include raising £350,000 through London Business Angels in 2012 to kick-start the business, and in 2015, Pavegen gained 1000 investors in one week and raised a total of £2 million via crowdfunding.
According to Laurence Kemball-Cook, Pavegen Founder and CEO, the green-tech start-up ecosystem in the UK has grown massively since Pavegen emerged in 2009. “London is now a thriving tech hub that presents a range of opportunities for budding entrepreneurs and startups,” he told Invesdor.
Energy conversion and generation
Seab Energy Limited has patented a range of waste-to-energy and waste-to-water systems. The products are small in scale, yet effectively convert organic waste into energy while extracting water. Seab received investment and mentoring from Level39.
Kutoa is a group of engineering students who hope to “revolutionise clean energy in the developing world.” They have designed flat-pack wind turbines that can be assembled without training in less than two hours. Kutoa have partnered with Bethnal Green Ventures.
Switchee is a “smart connected thermostat” that has been developed to enable affordable housing providers to prevent fuel poverty. It tracks the movements of a household, turns off the heat when no one is home, and displays information in a “simple and intuitive way”. Switchee kicked off 2017 by announcing a £480,000 seed funding round, taking its total to over £1m in funding.
Adam Fudakowski, managing director of Switchee, told Tech City News: “The support for our second oversubscribed seed round affirms the need for technological innovation in the UK’s social housing market.”
One thing is certain: the UK is not short of start-ups making their mark in green-tech. What will we see next in this space?
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About the author:
Gayle O’Brien started her writing career during Web 1.0 and still appears to be standing. After multiple stints in-house and agency side, her writing now focuses on start-ups, technology, and innovation. A dual citizen of the US and UK, Gayle divides her time between Massachusetts and south-east England.