Greenpocket raises €3.5 Million Series B led by NRW Bank
Greenpocket from Cologne raised €3.5M in their Series B financing round led by NRW Bank, the development bank owned by the State of North Rhine-Westphalia. Greenpocket’s existing investors also participated and include Schwetje Digital (Betafabrik), Rheinland Venture Capital and KfW. The smart green startup was founded in 2009, has 40 employees and provides a powerful software platform for smart metering and smart home management. Greenpocket has 30 utilities as customers in Germany, Austria, Spain and UK. The CEO Thomas Goette pitched his startup at Ecosummit Berlin 2012 and you can watch Thomas on Ecosummit TV.
We also did an interview with Thomas to learn more about the financing and Greenpocket’s international strategy.
Ecosummit: Did you have any foreign VCs interested in this round and why did you decide for NRW Bank?
Thomas Goette: We were in talks with some renowned international cleantech VCs but back then we had not yet established international customer relationships. This made it difficult to explain that we are not only a German case. The German smart meter market itself is slowly establishing and there are still a lot of questions to be answered. We were the first mover for customer centric smart grid applications in Germany. That helped us gain a significant footprint by establishing relationships with German utilities. Then we used these references to approach utilities in the other European markets.
We established contact with NRW Bank during our Series A round in summer 2010 and kept in touch since then. They could see that we exceeded the goals stated in our business plan both in 2010 and 2011. That was the foundation for the necessary trust of our investors.
Ecosummit: What are you doing with the fresh capital?
Thomas Goette: We will keep on improving our technological base, developing new innovative products, building up a great team and winning national and international customers.
Ecosummit: What is your internationalisation strategy and how do you execute it?
Thomas Goette: We started our international expansion successfully in 2011 with focus on 9 Western European countries. These countries are matching a specific set of criteria we identified for a successful international market entry. In 3 international markets (Austria, Spain and UK) we managed to win clients so far. In the other 6 non-German language markets that we target we are in the first stages (RFI, RFP and proposals) of establishing new customer relationships.
Currently we are evaluating in a second stage of our international strategy 5 geographic areas outside Western Europe. We just participated in a Smart Grid Asia congress in Thailand testing the waters in Asia. In general, we strongly believe that our software solutions meet global customer demand. The emerging market for smart meter and smart home software is a global one with a significant amount of national specifications but a common set of demand criteria.
Ecosummit: There is quite a bit of (inter)national competition in your business. What is the proven USP of GreenPocket?
Thomas Goette: We have a true DNA in our product philosophy around easy-to-understand features, intuitive usability and an appealing design. Furthermore, the core of our products is our Energy Expert Engine, a set of sophisticated algorithms and heuristics that contains the intelligence and added value. Our software solutions transform energy consumption data into value for the consumer delivered by superior customer centric user interfaces. And our technology platform is built on the experience of nearly 60 successful integration projects running our software in a stable way in different system environments. This knowledge enriches our technology base and is quite unique.
Tags: Betafabrik, Cleantech, ECO12, Ecosummit 2012, Ecosummit TV, Financing, Germany, Green IT, Greenpocket, KFW, NRW Bank, Rheinland Venture Capital, Series B, Smart Green Startup, Smart Home, Smart Metering, Thomas Goette