Equiwatt: App-based rewards for saving energy

Equiwatt incentivises consumers to save energy at peak times through an app-based rewards scheme, by using smart meter data to monitor household energy use and automatically turn-off appliances to reduce demand during peak events.

Energy Systems Catapult selected Equiwatt to join our Energy Launchpad to help the firm prepare for further investment and scale up their customer base.

The Innovation

Equiwatt’s digital platform uses artificial intelligence to cut demand simultaneously across multiple homes to provide network operators and energy companies with more flexibility.

By monitoring smart meter data, household appliances can be turned-off and points awarded to households based on the amount of energy moved off peak demand. These points can be exchanged for cash, vouchers or product discounts.

By delivering significant reductions in collective demand, Equiwatt can provide flexibility services to energy networks and reduce the need for expensive upgrades.

As well as gaining rewards, Equiwatt homes have a signficantly reduced carbon footprint, with each home saving 360 kilowatt hours of energy per year. Ultimately this will contribute to creating a cleaner, more flexible and efficient energy system.

The Challenge

To create a Net Zero energy system, our reliance on electricity is likely to rise substantially. This will inevitably result in the need to improve power networks, either via costly infrastructure upgrades – such as more wires and bigger substations – or by using the capacity we already have in a smarter way.

Equiwatt’s digital offering will unlock the potential of residential demand side response to support energy suppliers and network operators.

The main challenge that Equiwatt faces is to secure funding in order to scale the business. This required an appraisal of their business model to optimise revenue, identifying potential partnership opportunities, refining their consumer value proposition and ensuring investor readiness.

The Solution

Energy Systems Catapult is home to the Energy Launchpad, which provides carefully selected innovators with tailored business incubation and acceleration support to help address barriers to growth, de-risk innovation, scale-up the business and secure investment.

Energy Launchpad’s Accelerator programme offers scale-up support for selected high-impact potential SMEs and links to investors, including business model development and validation, access to the Catapult’s demonstration environments such as the Living Lab, engagement with potential corporate customers, investment readiness and partnership development, access to international opportunities.

Energy Launchpad – Accelerator

The Energy Launchpad drew on expertise from across Energy Systems Catapult to deliver:
  • Digital Energy Fitness Assessment: Comprehensive assessment framework developed by the Digital and Data team for measuring the digital readiness of energy sector businesses – akin to technology readiness levels – across five categories: Digital Infrastructure, Technology, Operations, Insight & Value Add, and Culture. Equiwatt included the Digital Fitness Assessment in their investment pack.
  • Business Model Innovation: Appraisal of business model to optimise revenue, included creating a financial model to show revenue stacking opportunity, build vs partner considerations, and key partnerships.
  • Regulatory and Policy landscape review: To understand the impacts on their business model.
  • Consumer Insight: Including testing Equiwatt’s messaging for marketing.
  • Investor readiness: To help prepare Equiwatt for upcoming efforts to secure investment.

The Impact

Equiwatt secured over £300,000 in investment to progress scale up plans through a funding round involving the North East Venture Fund – supported by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by Mercia – and North East angel investor Owen McFarlane. Williams Ali Corporate Finance supported Equiwatt in securing the investment, which will allow the company to run trials in the Gateshead area and create four new jobs.

Update: March 2021

Equiwatt has grown the registration customer base for their smart plug offering from under 50 to over 1000.

They have progressed the TRL of their digital platform from 3 to 4. Found new potential commercial partners to further develop their business proposition.

Accelerated their business plans by about six months.

Energy Launchpad

Propelling innovators step-by-step through technical validation towards commercial vindication

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