At the beginning of the year, Green for Growth Fund and Rockstart joined forces and launched Clim@ Scaler 2022, a program to support green businesses from Southern & Eastern Europe, Turkey, Middle East and Northern Africa in scaling their impact to help mitigate the climate crisis.
The selected green ventures have gained access to a four-month program designed specifically for scaleups with an impact business model. The program brings together personalized mentorship, interactive training, corporate connections with key industry leaders in the energy, agritech, and emerging tech sectors, financial support, and, later this year, an opportunity to engage with investors and corporates in an interactive event. Furthermore, the GGF Technical Assistance Facility will support finalists’ post-program by offering technical assistance needed to scale up the ventures and their green solutions.
We sat down with Fusebox’s CEO Tarvo Õng to better understand how his firm is addressing the climate crisis as well as their challenges, future plans and how Clim@ Scaler 2022 has benefited them so far.
Fusebox offers an innovative multi-layer software solution that can be integrated into any smart automation system. This allows its customers to optimize electricity usage by avoiding peak prices, earning revenue from demand response, and saving CO2 emissions. Fusebox has the ambition to put fossil fuel plants out of business through its solution that empowers electricity consumers to use energy flexibly and incentivizes them for doing so.
What first got you into entrepreneurship?
I have been working for over 10 years in growth and sales, market expansion and strategic planning. I’m very energetic and ambitious, and I have built companies in the financial sector and analytics. Working in different roles in the energy sector has offered me the right mix of experiences, knowledge, and contacts to start my own business – Fusebox. Building a sustainable company and making the world greener has given me an additional reason to keep growing and raise awareness on the matter.
What makes Fusebox unique?
Fusebox has developed a smart cloud-based power management solution that allows businesses to manage and monetize their demand-side energy use. Fusebox’s solution can adjust energy consumption, say by turning off a machine, at times of high energy use on the grid. By reducing the overall net load, the power operator doesn’t have to add additional supply at high marginal prices to the grid. For the operator, it is more affordable to compensate the demand-side reduction, which benefits everyone including the environment as less energy is needed. and residential electricity consumers, to participate in the program where flexibility will be used as a valuable asset. Flexibility is often an enormous untapped opportunity to boost competitiveness via savings and additional revenue. The most common flexibility assets are compressors, generators, pumps, batteries, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), saunas – pretty much everything with inertia.
We are also very adaptable, with a self-developed platform with in-house IT and tech knowledge. As we are a small team, we have to be smart and use AI and machine learning. Being small gives us an opportunity to quickly adapt. We offer a solution to small and mid-size organizations with no minimum kW requirements, which are often overlooked by our competitors. We also have low costs and fully automated solution offered as SaaS.
What impact has your business achieved to date?
Fusebox has developed a solution that will put fossil fuel plants out of business by empowering electricity consumers to use energy flexibly and incentivizing them for doing so. We are looking at roughly 20% energy savings, 50 MWh of regulated energy, and 10 tons of CO2 saved per one electricity consumption point in a year.
Working together with local transmission system operators, Fusebox has helped its customers save more than 1,500 tons of CO2 and delivered over 4,000 MWh of energy flexibility to the electric grid. Instead of ramping up big fossil generators for a short period, which is inefficient, Fusebox meets generation from the demand side. Therefore, CO2 savings are coming from not ramping up additional generation during the imbalance periods. In our native Estonia, every 1 MWh we balance on the demand side is expected to save 391g of CO2.
Why did you apply to Clim@ Scaler 2022?
The program and its goals fit our needs: growth and expansion. Our challenges, as we were starting our latest financing round, were looking for professional mentoring, feedback, and other suggestions. Also, our team has grown within the last year, we have new positions, more human power, and we need advice in all fields from marketing, to HR, to creating pitch decks.
What was your experience of Clim@ Scaler 2022?
Our initial expectations were focused on building internal knowledge: Discuss our ideas and chosen paths and get assessments and guidance from experts. We also wanted to meet other companies like us and learn from their lessons. We were able to create new contacts and benefited greatly from the guidance of experienced mentors who introduced us to new tools which we can incorporate in our daily operations.
How did the program benefit you and your business?
We have grown more mature in-house, focusing on issues that will help us to build a great operational back-office. It was eye-opening being exposed to market expansion strategies and tools and we plan on implementing some new ideas for marketing and PR. We had highly valuable discussions about approaching investors and preparing our pitch materials, which we believe will be hugely beneficial for our business going forward.
What are your plans for international expansion?
Currently we are operating in the Baltics and Finland. With the support of the Green for Growth Fund Technical Assistance Facility, we will analyze a potential expansion into the Western Balkans as well. We are also preparing to enter Sweden and Denmark, which are promising markets, but our focus is ultimately Europe as this market is 200x larger and will allow us to grow our team and expand our resources. We have had three rounds of funding in total for €1,8m. In Autumn 2022, we will seek up to €1m to bridge a Series A financing by the end of 2023.
What is your long-term vision for Fusebox?
As our primary target markets are in Europe, we see a huge impact on the environment and the change of mindset. As we also prepare our activities across the world (Brazil, Singapore, Australia), the impact can be enormous in reducing CO2 by avoiding turning on dirty power stations. We offer savings, revenue generation and CO2 reduction to water treatment plants, commercial buildings, cold storages and warehouses, industries, energy storages, EV chargers, solar panels, and hydro power plants. We want this impact felt across the world.
What are your predictions for the energy sector in the next 5-10 years?
The European Commission’s Fit for 55 has set rather high standards and Fusebox’s solution has a huge part to play whether from the journey to net zero to addressing electricity price volatility and non-dispatchable renewable production (wind/solar) to the need for demand response services and loads to help stabilize the grid.
Based on the EU’s long-term strategy it’s expected that there will be a 29% increase in energy demand compared to 2015 levels, despite the EU-wide energy efficiency enhancement efforts. In all these areas Fusebox offers solutions that are ready today, and we know our solutions will continue to play a big role in the energy sector in the future.
Do you have any advice for first time founders?
Keep your dreams alive, and do not forget them when the daily routines and inevitable business challenges arise. Inspire the team around you, and don’t underestimate the importance of tracking what you do.
Clim@ Scaler 2022 concludes this autumn, so stay tuned for more on the selected ventures and their future plans. If you want to learn more about Clim@ Scaler 2022 check out the website and follow the program on social media.