Smart Green Dealflow: Sefaira, Geo-En, Tado and WeSustain

Let’s toast to 4 smart green startups that successfully closed new funding rounds during the last months. Sefaira, Geo-En, Tado and WeSustain have all been on our Ecosummit stage and are active members of our Smart Green Business Network. Sefaira, Tado and WeSustain were also nominated for the Ecosummit Award 2012. Braemar Energy Ventures leads Sefaira’s €8.2M round with co-investors Chrysalix SET and Hermes GPE. eCapital and IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft invest €4M in Berlin-based Geo-En. Target Partners seed finances Tado while NBank, MBG, KfW and High-Tech Gründerfonds back WeSustain. Let’s take a closer look at the startups and some of their new investors.

Smart Green Dealflow

While the lawyers were busy finalising the participation agreement, Peter Krebs (photo below), Co-Founder and CTO of Sefaira, presented his startup at Ecosummit 2012. Peter was joined by Sarah Williamson who is Sefaira’s CFO and a special friend of mine. Since their first appearance at Ecosummit 2011, Sefaira made great progress and executed their business plan pretty well. They launched their product, a cloud-based software to design green buildings, convinced the first customers and signed the term sheet with their new investors in January. Yes, it easily takes 2 months until the legal work is finished and the money is in the bank. Smart entrepreneurs take this tedious process into account when planning for growth, managing cashflow and timing new financing rounds.

Peter Krebs Sefaira ECO12 Photo

Sefaira’s management team, superior product and professional execution convinced 2 well-known VCs – a very useful proof of quality for future development. Braemar Energy Ventures is based in Boston and is focused 100% on Cleantech. I counted 34 startups in their portfolio including A123, Solazyme and Enernoc. Sefaira clearly is in very good company there. The European support is provided by Amsterdam-based Chrysalix SET whose Managing Partner Rene Savelsberg also participated in ECO12.

Pieter Bots Geo-En Ecosummit Lounge Photo

I strongly believe that all cities and buildings should go smart green and use renewable energy as much as possible. While many people think that geothermal energy can only be exploited by drilling very deep holes of 1000 metres or more, the Berlin-based startup Geo-En has a different approach which is decentralised and rather resource efficient. Geo-En developed a new geothermal solution that takes advantage of near-surface ground water in cities which may have a temperature of 14-18 degrees celsius. This warm water can be exploited with the help of Geo-En’s smart water circulation system combined with efficient heat pumps. It’s a fascinating solution with big market potential, an opinion shared by Geo-En’s new investors eCapital and IBB. Thumbs up as eCapital has a good reputation in the German Cleantech scene given that their investments include Novaled and Heliatek and the serial PV entrepreneur Paul Grunow (Solon and Q-Cells) is an investor and venture partner. Geo-En’s CEO Pieter Bots (photo above) presented at our Ecosummit Lounge in September 2011 and it turns out that he is a serial entrepreneur who successfully founded and sold the storage company Freecom.

Christian Deilmann Tado ECO12 Photo

The German VC Target Partners came onto the international cleantech scene by investing in JouleX, the rather famous enterprise energy management startup whose CEO Thomas Noonan presented at ECO11. In February, Target Partners announced their second Green IT deal Tado. Tado’s CEO and Co-Founder is Christian Deilmann (photo above) who was trained at Target Partners and studied at MIT. Tado currently runs a private beta of their new cloud-based climate control solution which uses a small hardware box and advanced software to manage the temperature and climate in buildings provided that you have a central heating and cooling system they can connect to. Tado plans to launch in the second half of 2012 and has signed a sales partnership with Deutsche Telekom of which they have high expectations when it comes to bringing the sales chart into better shape. It also looks like the Tado team enjoyed their time at ECO12. I cross my fingers for you.

Manfred Heil WeSustain ECO12 Photo

Companies in all industries should not only practice CSR and publish annual sustainability reports but rather adopt a long-term strategy which I like to call sustainable by default. This entails designing and producing green products and managing the supply chain to go green, too. To climb the sustainability learning curve more efficiently, companies need an integrated software platform that enables 360 degree enterprise sustainability management. Enter WeSustain. WeSustain’s CEO is Manfred Heil (photo above) who is a long-term friend and partner of Ecosummit. Therefore, I am happy that WeSustain has fresh many in the bank to hire more talents, accelerate product development and increase sales.

I hope you enjoyed this edition of Smart Green Dealflow and I will be happy to make introductions to the startups and VCs profiled.

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