GreenPocket: Starting up by Exploring the Smart Grid

Here’s an article of guest author Thomas Goette, CEO of the Green IT startup GreenPocket.

Up to 2020, large utilities around the world will be investing billions in the so-called Smart Grid. This intelligent electric grid will significantly increase energy efficiency by sharing information between utilities and consumers. Based on this new sphere of data, the Cologne-based startup GreenPocket has developed a high-performing white-label platform for utilities – the Energy Expert Engine.

This platform transforms smart meter energy consumption data into valuable information that enables residential and business customers to consequently reduce their carbon emissions and save energy costs via web portals, apps for smartphones and tablet PCs. The utilities benefit from greater customer retention, increased customer value, intelligent load control and an enhanced public image.

Conceived in 2009 by Betafabrik (former Schwetje Digital), an independent initiator and investor focused on digital business concepts, GreenPocket was spun off as an independent company in the same year. The launch of GreenPocket was preceded by a comprehensive international market analysis. One of the reasons for entering the Smart Grid market was the legal framework: Across the EU, utilities are legally bound to introduce advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) to achieve consumer protection goals and a reduction of CO2 emissions. All households are to be equipped with smart meters by 2022. German law requires utilities to offer their customers intelligent metering systems – in particular in newly built houses and comprehensively renovated buildings. Most German utilities and energy distributors generally do not have sufficient resources to develop their own smart meter software solution and are consequently reliant on external offerings.

Two years later 20 utilities have signed up as our customers, amongst them seven of the 20 most profitable utility companies in Germany (e.g. Vattenfall Europe, RheinEnergie, Mainova and Stadtwerke München). Additionaly, we gained customers like Emscher Lippe Energie GmbH, Stadtwerke Bremen, Bonn, Gießen, Konstanz, Schwäbisch Hall and Krefeld.

Right from the start, we gained access to a remarkable number of smart meter pilot projects and were able to build strong and sustainable relationships with our customers. Thus, GreenPocket is recognized as a reliable and field-tested partner for the statutory smart meter rollout within the next years. This successful development is due to two major reasons: firstly, we set a high pace to break into this new market with innovative products developed in dynamic and team-oriented processes like Scrum and Kanban. Secondly, we had strong partners right from the start. In August 2010, Betafabrik continued its seed investments in a series A funding. Together with Rheinland Venture Capital (RVC) as lead investor and the ERP Startup-Fund of the KfW banking group, Betafabrik invested in GreenPocket to the tune of single digit millions.

In 2011, GreenPocket wants to meet further challenges that can be summarized as follows: We want to succeed in turning GreenPocket from a startup to a well established company, driven by the entrepreneurial spirit of its highly engaged and motivated employees. Furthermore, it is time to go abroad. Right now we are in talks with four international utilities that are convinced that GreenPocket exactly offers what they need to be well prepared for a more energy-efficient future.

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