University of Edinburgh spin-out ENIAN has completed a $1.5 million pre-seed financing round for its software that helps renewable energy developers and investors project future returns.
The business harnesses satellite data from NASA and the European Space Agency to allow professionals to estimate the potential wind or solar power at a particular spot in the world.
It says this will save time, effort and resources assessing sites for potential energy output before deciding whether to invest in renewable energy projects.
The investment round was led by Rod Crozier, former head of North Sea trading for Vitol with support from Guy Turner, a former chief economist for Bloomberg New Energy Finance, EDF and BP. An unnamed former Goldman Sachs investor is also involved.
ENIAN, which stands for Energy Investment & Analysis, was co-founded in 2014 as BWG Impact Products & Services by Phillip Bruner, a University of Washington graduate and renewable energy and project planner, and Varun Sharma, a solar energy expert from India who is chief operating officer.
Bruner said he had come up with the idea for the business while planning a wind farm project in the Highlands and realising countless hours were being wasted on repeat trips from Edinburgh to assess the site’s potential.
He said: “We’re excited to have the opportunity to empower more developers, investors and advisors with data-driven software that helps them build and manage commercial pipelines faster and at lower cost.
“Just as oil and gas professionals were early adopters of big data analytics, renewables professionals are gaining efficiency, speed, traction and scale from data-driven business models that will accelerate market share.”
Bruner says the ENIAN platform saves on planning tie by giving teams remote access to data no matter where they are. Its clients already include MacQuarie, the Australia-based investor in renewables projects worldwide, German based solar power firm Greencells Energy Group and international developer Mainstream Renewable Power.
ENIAN has had funding support from Innovate UK, the Open Data Institute in London and the Data Lab in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The new funds will be used to hire additional engineering and business development staff to expand in Europe, the US and Asia.
Crozier said: “ENIAN are bridging the gap between the digital and real economy at a time when these two sides of the market absolutely have to come together. I’m delighted that Phillip, Varun and their team will now have the support they need to offer their platform solution to professionals worldwide.”
Turner added: “This is a crucial time, in the wake of Covid-19 for renewable energy teams to take a serious look at digital innovation to help accelerate our transition to a low carbon economy.
“These new funds will help ENIAN bring a solution to the market that provides much needed structure to the way early-stage projects are organised, which is universally understood to be a painfully slow and inefficient process.”