A University of Strathclyde spin-out company has secured £3 million of investment in a deal led by Scottish Equity Partners (SEP) along with Scottish Enterprise, through the Scottish Investment Bank and the University.
Smarter Grid Solutions, a UK-based leader in the development and deployment of active network management’ technology for the smart grid market, specialises in pioneering real-time grid management software which enables power companies to manage electricity network congestion issues at a local, regional or national level and cope with increasing volumes of low carbon generation and demand.
Founded in 2008, the company now employs more than 30 people and has ambitious recruitment plans over the next three years.
The new funding allows Smarter Grid Solutions to position itself to meet substantial international demand for smart grid technology, a huge potential market estimated to be worth more than $56 billion by 2020. The investment will enable the company to take forward ambitious product development plans and take advantage of emerging opportunities in UK, Europe and North America. To do this, the company will also grow its Glasgow base, expand its London office and open an office in New York to take the technology to the North American market.
The company’s UK business is currently playing a key role in innovative low carbon network projects with five of the UK’s six electricity distribution companies, namely UK Power Networks, SSE plc, ScottishPower Energy Networks, Western Power Distribution and Northern Power Grid. It has also attracted widespread interest from distribution and transmission companies in Europe and North America.
Active Network Management uses software, automation and control to monitor the electricity grid in real time. It allows power companies to operate electricity grids closer to their operating limits, without compromising safety and security. This approach can create up to two or three times more capacity in the existing grid, for example to host low carbon generation and technologies.
Alan Gooding, Managing Director of Smarter Grid Solutions, said: “This investment is a huge endorsement of our plans for future growth and our groundbreaking technology. Our cost-effective solutions meet the increasing demand for low carbon electricity by deferring the need for major investment in new power lines, maximising the efficiency of the existing power grid and enabling earlier connections for renewable generation.”
Dr David McBeth, Director of Research & Knowledge Exchange Services at the University of Strathclyde said “Strathclyde is a leading international technological university committed to creating and supporting high growth companies with both economic and societal benefit to Scotland. Investing in Smarter Grid Solutions’, a growing star from our Renewable Energy Portfolio of spinouts, is the University's first followon investment deal from our new policy.
This new policy is based on investing selectively in subsequent rounds of key Strathclyde spin-outs and start-ups initially in the areas of Renewable Energy and Health Technologies, where our decisions are backed by a hugely experienced Commercialisation Advisory Board”.
Tony Robison of SEP, the UK’s leading growth equity investor who led the investment from its Environmental Energies Fund (EEF), commented: “Smarter Grid Solutions’ active network management technology offers a world-class solution to the key challenges currently facing power companies across the globe. This investment, combined with the excellent track record of the management team and the sheer scale of the potential market on offer, will enable the company to build on its position as the leading provider of active network management solutions to the smart grid sector.”
Kerry Sharp, acting head of the Scottish Investment Bank, said: “This is exactly the kind of company we want to support - innovative, ambitious and with the drive to keep developing. We’re very pleased to see it entering this new phase of expansion, and look forward to continuing to work with it into a very successful future.”
16 January 2013