Equans, the corporate energy & facilities management advisory offshoot of French-parented power giant Engie, is backing two British start ups in IT, targeting energy efficiency and grid management.
In a first for the multinational, half of the cash is UK public money sourced from the Clean Growth Innovation Fund, in which Equans partners with Innovate UK, the government’s impressarios for talent in new tech.
Beneficiaries of today’s public-private largesse are:
- Grid Edge, four-year old specialists in digital AI software, written to help building operators reduce CO2 emissions, and control energy costs. Founded by three postgrads from Aston University, the firm’s software is deployed in some landmark buildings, including Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
- OnGen promotes energy efficiency for SMEs and Britain’s “Mittelstand’ equivalent. Its digital platform provides feasibility assessments to support the decarbonisation of buildings, campuses, and factories. Rapid spotting of openings to reduce costs and carbon emissions are its focus.
Innovate UK’s grant funding supports delivery of a specific R&D project within either company. Equans is also taking undisclosed equity stakes in both fledgling firms, enabling their expansion
The Clean Growth Innovation Fund launched in 2019, tasked to dispense up to £4 million to pioneering, UK-based small and medium sized enterprises, which offer promise and ability in speeding Britain’s progress towards Net Zero by 2050.
The fund benefits from Innovate UK’s expertise as the UK’s national innovation agency, supporting business-led innovation, whilst utilising Equans’ scale and expertise in developing commercial opportunities and maximising value from solution-oriented investments.
Beyond funding, Equans offers access to new markets, through its customer base in over 20 countries. What the firm calls its “digital network” employs 6,000 digital specialists working on projects, together billable to clients for around Euros 1 billion.
Equans’ CEO UK & Ireland Jean-Philippe Loiseau said: “We are proud of this unique partnership with Innovate UK and look forward to working closely with both Grid Edge and OnGen as we collectively invest in the common goal to reach net zero.