Clean Growth Fund makes first VC investment in smart energy company Piclo


Piclo, the pioneering smart energy company that is making the UK’s electricity grids more efficient, reliable and sustainable, is the first company to be backed by the Clean Growth Fund, the venture capital fund that was established in May of this year to invest in the UK’s most promising clean-tech companies.

The investment in Piclo by the Clean Growth Fund will support Piclo’s work to accelerate the decarbonisation of electricity grids and the company’s future growth in UK and international markets. 

The Clean Growth Fund is delivering both a commercial return and a quantifiable reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to its investors by using its deep sector expertise to select and support UK companies, like Piclo, that have the potential to rapidly scale. The Clean Growth Fund, which has been cornerstoned by CCLA and BEIS, is targeting to reach £100 million fund size by November 2021. 

Piclo was established in 2013 and is chaired by Volker Beckers the former Group CEO of RWE Npower. At the forefront of disrupting the energy sector, Piclo leverages the latest digital technology to develop an independent, online marketplace. The Piclo Flex platform enables network operators to procure flexibility services that help balance the grid from technologies such as electric vehicles and battery storage, advancing the network’s reliability and providing new revenue streams to emerging technologies.

Piclo has commercially partnered with five of the six UK distribution network operators and is collaborating with National Grid ESO to enable new flexibility markets. In 2020, Piclo facilitated the UK’s largest ever flexibility tender at the distribution level that saw network operator UK Power Networks award £14million worth of flexibility contracts.

As well as the UK, the company is expanding its business in Europe and announced its first international trial. In May 2020, Piclo teamed up with the Slovenian Green Transformation Consortium, which is driving the transition of the country’s energy sector towards its 2050 decarbonisation target and will see Piclo run flexibility trials similar to those in the UK. Piclo is also a key partner in the EU funded OneNet Project, which will provide a seamless integration of all actors in the electricity network across Europe and ensure an open and fair market structure to optimise the overall energy system.

Beverley Gower-Jones, Managing Partner of the Clean Growth Fund and who will join the board of Piclo said:

Piclo is precisely the type of clean-tech company that the Clean Growth Fund wants to invest in.  Over time we will unlock value for our investors whilst supporting the UK’s journey towards Net Zero.

Piclo’s track-record of achievement over recent years has been hugely impressive. Piclo is a young energy technology company that is revolutionising how network operators, in the UK and overseas, can increase their efficiency and decarbonise.

We are excited by the potential of the Piclo team to win more contracts in the UK, develop additional products for the UK market and grow its business in Europe where decarbonisation of the networks is also a top priority.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP, UK Energy Minister at the Department Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy said:

As part of the UK’s efforts to accelerate the decarbonisation of the electricity grid and build back greener, I’m delighted to see the Clean Growth Fund make its first investment in a pioneering smart energy company like Piclo.

Businesses have a huge part to play in tackling climate change and ensuring we reach net zero emissions by 2050, and we look forward to seeing more support like this for clean growth start-ups to help us drive a green and resilient economic recovery right across the UK

James Johnston, CEO and co-founder of Piclo said:

It is fantastic that the Clean Growth Fund has chosen to invest in Piclo, with the Fund’s philosophy truly matching our mission of building a decarbonised and sustainable future.

The investment by the Clean Growth Fund marks the next, big step forward in Piclo’s journey, facilitating and growing flexibility markets: be prepared for more flexibility, more markets and more partnerships both in the UK and abroad.

Lawyers to The Clean Growth Fund were Pinsent Mason.  Piclo was advised by the law firm, TLT.