Urban Volt receives power boost with €30m Swiss funding

1 Nov 2016

LED lamps. Image: DK samco/Shutterstock

An Irish company that manufactures low energy LED lighting called Urban Volt has received its latest ‘power boost’ with a €30m financing deal from a Swiss environmental fund.

Based in Dublin, Urban Volt has secured funding on a number of previous occasions – including from Ireland rugby star Jamie Heaslip – but now one of Europe’s largest environmentally orientated funds is stepping into the fray.

According to The Irish Times, the Swiss private equity firm Susi Partners has signed a €30m deal to fund Urban Volt that will see the company’s clients grouped into portfolios, whereby each of these will have an outlay of €1m.

Future Human

In doing so, the idea is that Urban Volt will subsequently have greater amounts of cash to use for its own business.

Urban Volt’s co-founder, Kevin Maughan, has admitted that this is a rather unusual way of getting funding, describing it more like a “corporate finance structure”.

Getting international attention

The company visits businesses to instal LED lamps across Ireland for no charge, but takes half of the energy savings obtained from the building over a period of five years.

Urban Volt began trading in April of this year and is currently working with around 100 companies, with initial plans to secure a major foothold in the Irish market.

However, having been featured in the New Yorker magazine of late, Maughan has said Urban Volt is testing the idea of rolling out its business internationally to German and Austrian clients.

In explaining the company’s decision to partner with this particular Swiss fund, Maughan said: “Susi has funds available of up to €250m and they have been very clear to us that they are keen to co-invest with us on all suitable projects, so we see this as an exciting long-term relationship.

“Because we fund solutions for our customers upfront, the business requires significant finance in its early years. This deal will ensure that we have more than sufficient funding to support our roll-out across Ireland over the coming years.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic