Sero delivers whole-life solutions for Net Zero that covers buildings, construction, energy, lifestyles and financing. They aim is to create a community of homes that can intelligently support the wider energy system and comfort-as-a-service offerings that cover heat, power and transport for consumers.
Energy Systems Catapult is working with Sero via the Energy Launchpad to help overcome the barriers to innovative consumer service offerings, while refining their business model and customer value propositions.
Sero Energy Innovation
Founded in 2017, Sero, delivers zero-carbon building toolkits for developers, operational optimisation of homes and ongoing services to home-owners and tenants to ensure homes are comfortable and cheap to run.
Sero’s offering for housing providers – primarily social landlords, private landlords and housebuilders – optimises housing design, development and specification of low and zero carbon technologies to provide a Pathway to Net Zero. Sero is technology agnostic, which allows them to specify the best solution for each partner.
For consumers, Sero is launching a digital platform ‘Sero Life’ with mobile application to provide “comfort-as-a-service” offerings using agile electricity pricing, optimisation and in some cases the financing of low carbon assets through its comfort bill.
Sero Life can bring together a network of intelligently optimised, and aggregated low/zero carbon homes that are more comfortable and cheaper to run.
Another product in development by Sero is a survey tool for the decarbonisation retrofit of existing homes.
Sero Homes: The Challenge
Cardiff-based Sero has secured contracts for more than 1,100 new build and retrofit homes with an identified pipeline of more than 10,000 homes. While the Sero Life consumer offering has been developed and has launched with its first customers paired with Sero optimised homes to ensure the best ongoing customer experience.
To ensure Sero can scale to help the UK housing sector to deliver a network of intelligently optimised, aggregated zero carbon homes, the challenges include the need for innovation in financing, such as financial instruments, loans, mortgages, institutional investment and valuation. Better interaction between housing and energy policy that recognises the value of energy efficiency. Reform of the Government’s Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) to include occupancy-based controls that are not currently recognised by the methodology. The removal of barriers to new market arrangements that support and value domestic flexibility, energy aggregation and consumer services.
The Innovative 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.
Scale-up support for selected high-impact potential SMEs. Support includes those areas outlined in incubation but in more depth, as well as help to access demonstration environments such as our Living Lab, engagement with potential corporate clients and investors, and links to international opportunities.
The Energy Launchpad will help develop the compelling use cases and associated value proposition for several customer types, including social landlords through collaboration with Place for People, to enable Studio Victoria to target initial customer acquisition and establish a beach head market. This will include the development of the business model, corporate structure and financing options.
Energy Systems Catapult and its partners will deliver:
Recognising that Sero is one of several companies leading market change in an environment slow to adapt to the necessary changes required to achieve Net Zero by 2050, the Energy Launchpad will support Seroby addressing three primary barriers to growth: (1) Securing investment to support scaling, (2) the impact of the policy and regulatory environment on Sero’s model, and (3) theattitudes towards novel, low carbon energy products and servicesfrom house builders and developers to consumers. The tailored package of support will include:
Storytelling for Start-Ups: Delivered as a masterclass for all SME’s to develop clear and compelling value proposition messaging for use with a range of audiences from customers to partners and investors.
Investor Readiness: Advice and support to prepare an investor pack, identification of target investors and curated introductions.
Policy Landscape and Impact Research: The ‘comfort-as-a-service’ proposition has Sero taking on a number of Energy Code obligations normally fulfilled by an energy retailer. Support is needed to assess the implications of the new model and engage with Ofgem on the need for innovative new retail supplier agreements.
Business Model Innovation: Stress test and validate Sero’s current business model and develop a detailed Customer Value Propositions for different markets (ie. house builders for budget-driven consumers or energy retailers).
Consumer Insight: Market testing of the ‘comfort-as-a-service’ customer value proposition with house builders and others in the supply chain.
With over 10,000 new build and existing homes within its identified pipeline, Sero has forged strong relationships within the housing sector, creating tailored net-zero energy retrofit plans for homes, assuring them using building passports and managing them using its smart home energy management system, ‘The BEE’ (Building Energy Engine) and comfort based service model.
Sero has initially focused on working with social housing providers facing major challenges around regulation and funding, as they look to meet net-zero targets. Legal & General and Hodge’s investment will support Sero in its next stage of growth, as well as its aims to support the delivery net zero financial products with institutional partners.
Energy Launchpad helped Sero with investment readiness, including advice and support to prepare an investor pack, identification of target investors and curated introductions.
Figure 1: James Williams, CEO and Co-Founder, Sero
Turning clean energy innovators into entrepreneurs. Propelling SMEs step-by-step through technical validation towards commercial vindication.