REstore to fund growth in United Kingdom and Benelux with funding from LRM, AXE investments and private investors
Brussels, October 2012. “REstore” has raised 3.3 million € of new capital in its Series B capital round to finance its growth in Europe. European venture capital investors LRM and AXE Investments have joined this Series B round, along with business angels and existing shareholders. ““REstore”” is a demand response aggregator, optimising the balance between power generation and demand in the intraday energy market through demand side management. The funding will be used to commercialise in the United Kingdom and the Benelux, deploying products and services to Transmission System Operators and major Energy Suppliers.
Balance in the energy market
“REstore” was founded in 2010 by Pieter-Jan Mermans and Jan-Willem Rombouts. The start-up responds to the growing need in the energy market for improved intraday balancing between generation and demand. In the energy market, there should be a balance between demand and generation at all times in order to avoid an overload of the electrical power network, or, in the worst-case scenario, to avoid ‘black-outs’. Historically, power generation has always been adapted quasi real-time to the power demand by increasing or decreasing big power plants. However, due to the increasing penetration of renewable energy, a significant share of power generation has become hard to control and/or predict. For this reason, the energy industry increasingly focuses on demand side management in order to maintain balance in the transmission grid.
Controlling the demand side
This is exactly the area in which “REstore” operates. As the ‘Demand Response Aggregator’, “REstore” controls the electricity demand with its proprietary, patented “FlexPond” technology platform. “FlexPond” identifies the power profile of the commercial and industrial power consumers and allows for power curtailment for a limited number of instances per year. This way, as an example, the power demand of a refrigerated warehouse can be curtailed at peak times. This provides tremendous power flexibility for energy suppliers and transmission system operators (like National Grid), resulting in a reduction in investments in peak generation capacity, and brings intraday trading opportunities on the balancing market. In turn, the industrial customers connected to “REstore’s” platform will receive payments for making their flexible capacity available. The savings for these consumers on the annual electricity bill can easily reach 5%.
What differentiates “REstore’s” technology, is its attention to the end-to-end automation of the demand response process, and its focus on steering the real power consuming devices.
Oxygen for growth
Since its start early 2010, “REstore” has outgrown the concept phase.
The venture has managed to develop the “FlexPond” platform, submitted 10 patent claims, realised a large-scale pilot project with EDF, and signed contracts with over 10 MW of large industrial power consumers in the food, logistics and water industries. “REstore” will soon penetrate the energy market in both Belgium and the United Kingdom, serving Transmission System Operators, such as National Grid, and major energy suppliers.
In order to realise this ambition, a financing round of 3.3 million euros was organised. Through its ARKIV subsidiary, LRM will invest 1,000,000 euros. AXE Investments, the investment fund of Anacom (Christian Leysen), and Ackermans & van Haaren will invest 400,000 euros. The remainder will be provided by a series of business angels and the Ark Angels Fund.
Cooperation with EnergyVille
In context of these activities, “REstore” will cooperate with EnergyVille, the new European Research Institute for Smart Grids and Energy in Genk. Under this partnership, “REstore” will house a part of its activities in IncubaThor, the new incubator building that will be constructed next to EnergyVille at Thorpark in Waterschei.
At present, “REstore” employs 10 people. This number will rise to 20 employees by 2014.