Peer-to-peer energy exchange provider UrbanChain has succeeded in its application for a supply  licence.  Seeking new equity from investors is set to follow.

Backed by investment group Eurazeo, the seven year old start-up operates services including microgrid trading of clean power generated on office campuses & industrial estates up and down the country.  Linking generating commercial tenants to consuming companies in neighbouring or adjacent premises is a key offering.

UrbanChain’s founders Somayeh Taheri and Mo Hajhashem, pictured, described the licence grant as a major milestone. It permits UC Energy Ltd to supply to non-domestic premises, elevating the quality of its product array offering to customers, while ensuring more control for its generator clients.

The two originators met at Manchester University and launched Urban Chain in 2017. It is based on the city’s Science Park.

Chief operating officer Mo said: “Obtaining our electricity supply licence from Ofgem ranks extremely high, as you have to pass a very rigorous due diligence process. It’s a major turning point for us.”

“This step will enable us to step up our ability to offer customers a real traceable choice of energy and advance UrbanChain’s plans for granular ESG ( – environmental, societal & governance  – ) tracking.”

UrbanChain’s deeptech platform for peer-to-peer energy exchange uses integrated smart contracts and machine learning to match generators of renewable energy and consumers on a half hourly basis – resulting in secure energy prices and secure physical flows for energy generators.

Local government organisations, companies from across the private sector, generators of renewable energy, energy suppliers and domestic households all trade within the regulated platform.

Two months ago, the company allied with business supplier Equans & Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council to create a virtual power plant (VPP) across council-owned buildings & homes on the West Midlands authority’s Brockmoor estate.

Reacting to Ofgem’s licence grant, the recipient’s portfolio director Garry Pickering explained:

“With UrbanChain now an official energy supplier, it ensures we have full control of our peer-to-peer matching process which enables greater security for generators of renewable energy.

“We will also have clearer transparency on data flows and it will allow us to roll out a new suite of products, ensuring generators have true choice in where their generation goes.”

UrbanChain employs 30 people. This month it revealed it is gearing up for a Series B funding round push towards the end of this year.

It follows last year’s successful raising of £5.25 million, led by Eurazeo.  Further backing comes at present from the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero and Innovate UK.

Somayeh Taheri, UrbanChain CEO, said: “We started UrbanChain with a mission to alleviate fuel poverty and to fix a broken inefficient energy market model.

“Our social responsibility values haven’t wavered and we see ourselves as more than a platform or an energy exchange, our role is to create communities.

“Renewable energy is not just for the well off and we are tackling this. Our goal is to connect as many generators as possible to their regional communities and local businesses.

“Peer-to-peer energy exchange is a choice in itself and if we can help all parts of society become renewable prosumers then we are succeeding in our core missions.”


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