Cleantech startup Gridio is aiming to help people adjust electricity consumption so they can save money and energy. The team has just raised a fresh €1 million as it launches a new tool to give users smarter insights on their energy usage.
Winter is coming. And energy bills are soaring. Two facts that are bringing up a great deal of anxiety for households across Europe. People are genuinely concerned about how they will pay their energy bills this winter as both the climate crisis and the wider geopolitical context makes their impact felt.
Our energy use across Europe is undergoing a moment of profound change, and we all need to be more aware than ever before of what we are consuming, when we consume it and where it’s coming from. It comes simultaneously with EU-led targets to reduce peak electricity consumption and create a better-distributed energy consumption cycle.
Aiming to help people better manage their energy usage through its smart energy app is Estonian startup, Gridio. The Tallinn-based team has just raised €1 million to further its mission of helping people save money and tackling the energy crisis.
Picking up a fresh €1 million, Gridio’s backers include Link Capital, The Sharing Group and Specialist VC.
Founded in 2018 by Konrad Hanschmidt and Sandor Liive, before being joined by CTO Peeter Meos, the company was developed with the aim to help residential energy users participate in electricity markets and earn money for shifting their energy use to cheaper and cleaner hours. Today, the company has developed one of the most popular smart energy apps used in the Nordics for smart charging electric cars and scheduling residential electricity use based on electricity prices.
The app has more than 30,000 downloads and more than 15,000 registered users in 10 countries – a user base that is growing exponentially with people in search of solutions to manage their energy bills. The company’s largest market is Denmark, where more than 10% of electric Volkswagen and Škoda owners use their service already.
Joost van Rooij from The Sharing Group in the Netherlands: “Gridio’s mission to empower electricity consumers fits very well with the ambition of The Sharing Group to collectively accelerate the clean energy transition.”
Powering better energy usage
Helping people save money and tackling the energy crisis is no small feat – it’s a rather ambitious target in fact. But it’s one that is urgently needed.
In September, the EU energy ministers agreed that in order to address the energy crisis, all EU member states should reduce peak electricity demand by 5% in the upcoming winter. This is because, during peak demand periods of electricity, natural gas-fired power stations tend to be the ones providing the additional electricity required.
Avoiding electricity use during peak hours has two impacts. Firstly, it reduces natural gas use and therefore improves the EU’s chances of getting through the winter with current storage levels, and, secondly, it can significantly reduce electricity prices during these hours, if fewer gas-fired power plants need to be turned on to meet energy needs.
It’s an ambitious target, but one that is imperative to meet and all members of society have to be empowered with the right tools to do it.
Gridio was originally established to target the EV market, offering a smart charging solution that, without any extra hardware, makes electric cars from brands like Tesla, Volkswagen, Skoda and others automatically charge with the cheapest and cleanest electricity at home or in the office. With Gridio, the average electric car owner saves about -30% off their electricity cost.
Now, the company is taking that approach to home energy usage, seeing that the app’s power had relevance in this space. So, they developed a new version of the app. The free app is available for download and lets users see the upcoming peak hours of electricity use based on price analysis by Gridio.
Konrad Hanschmidt, the CEO and cofounder of Gridio: “There are 200 million electric vehicles hitting world roads in the next 8 years. Shifting electric vehicle charging to the hours of lowest prices, which usually correspond to the highest renewable production, is one of the simplest and least disruptive ways to utilize more wind and solar power, and avoid fossil-powered electricity use. In Europe, it will be particularly critical this winter, as we need to avoid using gas-fired power during peak hours.”
As families come home from work and school and want to start the dishwasher or washing machine, they open the app and check whether it falls on peak hours. The best time to use energy is usually during late evenings and nighttime, not during dinner time when the majority of people are home and actively using electricity. The Peak Hours solution has a nickname ‘Ursula Mode’ – after the EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen who spearheads the EU’s fight against the energy crisis.
How it works
Electric vehicle owners can connect their cars to the app in minutes and only need to set the time at which they need their cars charged up. With Ursula Mode enabled, the next time the car is plugged in during peak hours, Gridio will automatically assess whether the car needs to immediately charge to be fully ready to go by the morning. If it makes sense to delay the charging by a few hours, then Gridio will automatically do so.
It means the user saves money, there is less peak time energy usage and more sustainable energy usage is created – without any effort or stress on the part of the user.
Christian Rangen, Chairman of Link Capital VC: “Without smart charging, the arrival of hundreds of millions of electric cars will break our energy bills, and possibly the grid. We loved that Gridio is turning this problem around and actually making customers benefit from being smarter about their energy use.”
Coming into winter, apps like Gridio’s will prove indispensable in managing our energy consumption and could prove to be the key to a balanced energy supply.