Heating up for smarter, greener home energy
Heatio has some interesting routes to market for its energy management product
Smart home energy management isn’t a big market right now, but it’s easy to see how it could become huge.
Scroll down to read all about Heatio, which has some interesting routes to market for its consumer-facing brand in the space.
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Heatio finds fresh ways to bring greener, more efficient energy to more homes
It’s a sign of the times that smart home management systems seem to be giving way to talk of home energy management systems.
Whether you’re being bitten by high energy bills, or just want to run a more planet-friendly home, there’s a clear appeal in letting tech help you use less electricity.
We recently covered OptiSpark, a startup out of Manchester that is working on making heat pumps more dynamically efficient.
Today, meet Heatio, a startup based in Liverpool that has its eye on your whole home.
Founder Thomas Farquhar describes Heatio as “a home energy platform and virtual power plant, which will connect lots of homes together with renewable technologies in them, and allow us to manage and flex those technologies to support the National Grid and also the consumer in the home.”
In practice, what this means is a two-part offering. First, there’s the consumer-facing platform that allows users to hook up smart home equipment such as their smart meter, and then monitors their usage.
“It shows them exactly what's going on in their house, and a roadmap of improvements to work through. Not little things like turning lights on and off, but what technologies to fit, what insulation, that sort of thing,” explains Farquhar.
Once consumers have installed some of the recommended tech (if they hadn’t already), Heatio will start managing it.
“Let's say it's three in the morning and wind turbines are blowing in the North Sea, there's loads of excess power on the grid and it needs to go somewhere. We'll take that power and give people a free car charge or free hot water,” says Farquhar.
“If there's too much demand on the grid in the middle of the day, we could turn someone's car charger down for 10 minutes and then pass on a cash reward for allowing that flexibility. So it's turning the home into a smart, connected one.”
But while Heatio is presented as a consumer brand, its business model is B2B2C. Its route to market will be through energy providers, banks, or any company that might have an incentive to help customers decarbonise and transition to low-carbon technologies.
The story so far
Farquhar and his fellow Heatio co-founder Simon Roberts have been working together in the green energy space for 16 years.
Back in 2009 they founded a business that helped installers transition from boilers to more renewables-focused equipment in homes. They exited that company in 2015 but didn’t lose their focus.
Their motivation for founding Heatio in 2022 was making energy efficiency more accessible, Farquhar says.
“Low-carbon technologies have always been mostly accessible by the people that have got capital. If you've got the money to spend on fitting solar panels or a heat pump, or buy yourself an electric vehicle, you then get all the benefits of those energy savings.
“The people that really need to save and that are most in need of lower energy costs are the ones that can't actually access the technologies that would help them. So what we wanted to do was try to create a business that would remove the barriers, so that more people could access clean, affordable energy.”
Having recently completed the Baltic Ventures accelerator programme in Liverpool (reader note: I also write their monthly newsletter), Heatio is gearing up to launch its MVP in the coming weeks.
This first version of the product will show users the energy profile of their home. Guidance for how to improve it will then be added, and by this summer Heatio aims to launch its energy management features.
To this end, the startup has lined up two partnerships. One is with mortgage provider Perenna, which will offer a long-term fixed rate ‘green mortgage’, with a preferential interest rate for homes that use low-carbon technologies managed through Heatio’s platform.
And it has also partnered with energy provider E.ON, to offer an ‘energy as a service’ platform.
Farquhar describes this as “a subscription product for those consumers that don't have the capital to buy all this technology for the home. It'll be like a ‘Netflix for energy saving’, where you'll pay a monthly amount to have all the tech fitted in your home and to immediately have energy savings.”
By this time next year, Heatio aims to have completed the pilot programmes for these partnerships and be managing the energy in between 5,000 and 6,000 homes.
Go deeper on Heatio
Read much more on their funding and investment plans, vision, competition, and challenges: