Smart green dealflow: Ubitricity, Saperatec, Skeleton, Waste2Chemical, O-Flexx and Romo Wind

Financing cleantech startups is a tough game these days. You need a strong team, product market fit and, even better, customers and revenues. In this difficult market environment, it is a great pleasure to report that 6 smart green startups managed to raise new venture capital: Ubitricity (around €3.5M, Germany), Saperatec (€3.3M, Germany), Skeleton (€2.2M, Estonia), Waste2Chemical (undisclosed, Netherlands), O-Flexx (€2.4M, Germany) and Romo Wind (€4.8M, Switzerland). The active cleantech VCs include Earlybird, IBB, NRW Bank, HTGF, eCapital, Dutch Greentech Fund, Emerald, Yellow&Blue, ABB and b-to-v. Let’s take a closer look at the startups and their new investors.

Smart Green Dealflow

Just a few days ago, Berlin-based Ubitricity announced their new financing round which adds around €3.5M to the startup’s bank account. The new investors are Heinz Dürr (largest shareholder of Dürr, former CEO of AEG and Deutsche Bahn) and IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft. Earlybird, that first invested €1.8M in 2010, also participated in this round. According to Knut Hechtfischer, the total funding now accumulates to €5.4M. The new money is badly needed as the electric mobility market and, consequently, the demand for Ubitricity’s low-cost EV charging solution (photo below) grow more slowly than expected. Founded in 2008, Ubitricity plans to launch Mobile Metering in 2014, resulting in a time to market of 6 years. This sounds like a long time but, in fact, is not untypical for a hardware-based cleantech startup in a new market. Meet Knut at ECO13 Berlin to get the full story about his plan to disrupt the EV charging market.

Ubitricity EV Charging Berlin

Saperatec, the German startup that recycles high-tech composite materials, raised €3.3M from eCapital, NRW Bank, High-Tech Gründerfonds and business angel Oliver Gosemann. At the same time, Saperatec expands its business model from PV recycling to recycling technology provider targeting new markets such as car glass and packaging materials. Looking for new customers, Saperatec is interested in talking to recycling service providers about the benefits of their recycling technology. The next steps will be the new modular pilot plant in Bielefeld and growing the team (photo below).

Saperatec Research

Skeleton Technologies, manufacturer of industry-disrupting ultracapacitors, closed a €2.2M Series A lead by Up Invest, an Estonian private equity investor. The financing will be used to meet increasing demand for Skeleton’s energy storage solutions. Taavi Madiberk (photo below) explains: “Combining superior energy and power density in a robust design has attracted several high-profile customers. Skeleton´s customer list already includes the European Space Agency and several US and European automotive suppliers.” Skeleton´s main focus is currently on ramping-up manufacturing of existing ultracapacitor products. Moreover, the R&D team works on raising the competitive advantage by a factor of two and achieve 20 Wh/kg energy density in a robust metal casing device. This is considered to be the magic threshold when the ultracapacitors market will experience exponential growth.

Jan Michael Hess and Taavi Madiberk at ECO12

Waste2Chemical, the Dutch startup that extracts high-quality chemicals from waste streams, closed the first financing round with Horizon3 and Dutch Greentech Fund. Waste2Chemical is a spin-off of Wageningen University and develops a platform technology for the production of biobased components for the chemical, food and feed industry. Founded in 2010, Waste2Chemical aims at developing cost effective chemical building blocks for paint, plastics and lubricants, but also additives in feed, food and pharma products. Kirsten Steinbusch, Co-Founder of Waste2Chemical, summarises the milestone: “Waste2Chemical is entering a very important year in which our patented technology will be scaled-up from lab to pilot scale. The participation of Horizon3 and Dutch Greentech Fund and the involvement of strategic partners will enable us to quickly realise a successful pilot run. The aim of the pilot is to confirm the robustness of the fermentation technology and to generate product samples to serve our future customers.”

Duisburg-based O-Flexx raised €2.4M from NRW Bank and Emerald Technology Ventures. CEO Holger Ulland (photo below) is happy to turn around the struggling startup that produces thermoelectric generators that convert waste heat into electricity. One of the target markets where O-Flexx finally makes progress is the automotive industry. Integrating the thermoelectric generators with car engines is one of the smart applications. Other opportunities for O-Flexx include steel production and combined heat and power plants. The challenge for O-Flexx is to bring down the costs of its products to enable significant market adoption.

ECO12 Berlin Holger Ulland O-Flexx

Romo Wind, the wind farm optimisation company, raised €4.8M from Yellow&Blue, ABB Technology Ventures and b-to-v Partners. Yellow&Blue, the Dutch cleantech VC backed by Nuon (Vattenfall), led the financing round. Romo increases the output of wind farms up to 10% by measuring the speed and direction of wind and adjusting wind turbine rotors. Apparently, Romo’s technology is in fashion. The Swiss startup has signed contracts with large utility wind farm owners jointly owning 18 GW of installed wind capacity. Albert Fischer of Yellow&Blue is impressed: “Romo’s management built a sound company based on an intelligent business model and a disruptive technology that already convinced many large customers. The patented spinner anemometer has the potential to become an industry standard for performance improvement and monitoring of existing and future wind turbines. Deployment of Romo Wind’s proven and cost-effective technology brings incremental revenues by increasing the output of a turbine. This benefits all parties in the wind industry value chain and opens up a significant addressable market.”

Congratulations to all of you. Please keep sending us your press releases for future editions of Smart Green Dealflow.

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