Start-up of the week: EnergyElephant

11 May 20154 Shares

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Energy Elephant founders Joe Borza, CEO, and Eoin Ó Fearghail, CTO

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Do you ever look at your energy bills and wonder why they are so high? Our start-up of the week EnergyElephant is there to help firms use energy smarter.

“By analysing all your energy data, combining it with external data such as location, smart grid and local weather we provide users with actionable insights for savings as well as tracking your energy efficiency,” explained Joe Borza, co-founder and CEO of EnergyElephant.

“We’re all about making life easier for our users.  Hence we have a simple drag and drop system for entering your energy data.

“EnergyElephant believes every organisation should have access to world class energy expertise, and that’s what our platform aims to do.

The market

Like all start-ups Borza said he would love to see mass adoption of the technology but realistically the company has to start small.

“Our initial target market is the business sector, in particular big energy users such as the hospitality, retail and commercial sectors as well as big energy using SMEs.

“The global opportunity is huge and growing rapidly.  With the roll out of smart meters over the next few years the level of data available on how we all use energy is about to explode.”

The founders

Borza described the EnergyElephant founding team as a dedicated team of engineers and technologists.

“We basically love solving problems, most engineer’s raison d’etre. Eoin (ó Fearghail) and I met back over a decade ago when we were both studying engineering in Trinity College Dublin.

“Since then we have both worked in a variety of different areas from gaming technologies and software development to analytical systems and renewable technologies.

“We both have international experience over our careers from the UK to the US.  I even worked for as a volunteer for a short time in Sub-Saharan Africa on community run water systems. I’d recommend volunteering as a great way to learn new skills that will really stand to you down the road.”

The technology

EnergyElephant enables users to download their energy bills from their supplier, or EnergyElephant can obtain them, drop them onto the platform and out pop your energy insights, such as how much your energy bills over the next five years are likely to cost you.

“We’re looking for ways to help you reduce your energy costs, consumption and CO2 emissions, just by looking at the data. There’s no hardware which really makes us special compared to most of our competitors.

“After working with a number of trial users, we realised that many had problems with the accuracy of their bills.  After discussing it with them, we developed our smartphone app to simply allow them take a photo of their electricity or gas meter reading and submit it.  No issues trying to remember MPRNs, GPRNs and other information.”

Borza said EnergyElephant’s ultimate goal is to provide the world’s most sophisticated energy analysis platform, which helps make users energy costs more affordable, eliminates energy waste and promotes clean energy sources…

“Quite simple really but you have to aim big!”

Effectiveness

Borza said that already customers have reduced their energy costs.

“We’re into a really exciting period at the moment.  We were lucky enough to gain a place on the Hothouse New Frontiers programme in early 2015 and this is helping to guide us through the next few business planning hurdles.

“We’re constantly gaining users and trialling new versions of our technology.  Some of our customers have reduced their energy costs and consumption by over 15pc so it really shows the opportunity of using our system.

“Our app has given us some amazing insights into how energy is used across the globe.  We’ve had people use it in the US, UK, across Europe to as far away as Kazakhstan and Australia.”

Parenthood is the ultimate start-up

Borza said that start-ups should prioritise paying customers over getting into a funding stream.

“Every start-up faces challenges everyday.  From who and when to hire, to raising finance and getting the right investors on board.  I recently became a parent for the first time and combining start-up mode with 2-3 hours of sleep is challenging but I wouldn’t change it for the world”

Borza believes Irish start-ups punch above their weight.

“That said, there are always areas for improvement and I feel more supports for potential customers to trial startup technologies at a lower risk should be provided.  At the end of the day a start-up would much prefer a happy paying customer over other funding streams.”

His advice to other start-ups? “As the saying goes ‘the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now’.  I feel this is similar for those brave enough to try start a company, the sooner you do it the better.”

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com