Start-up energy retailer Amber Electric has raised AU$2.5 million in an investment round led by Australian VC firm Square Peg.
Amber Electric launched with its MVP a year ago with a small number of customers in South Australia and Sydney. The fresh capital will be used to drive business growth, with a nationwide launch to be announced soon.
Where traditional energy companies sell electricity at a fixed rate with a retail markup, Amber Electric charges customers $10 a month and passes on the wholesale cost of electricity the household uses, which varies every 30 minutes.
Amber Electric was founded in 2017 by Chris Thompson, previously Boston Consulting Group and Goldman Sachs, and Dan Adams previously Tesla and Boston Consulting Group. The pair wanted to adopt a business model which would encourage customers to shift their energy usage to the times when cheap renewables were generating power, to increase the demand for renewables and lower power bills.
Square Peg led the seed round with a $2 million investment, followed by a reinvestment from one of Amber’s earliest investors, Black Sheep Capital. The remainder came from Giant Leap – Impact Investment Group and angel investors passionate about renewable energy, including founder of FutureSuper, Simon Sheikh, and author and environmentalist, Anna Rose.
Dan Adams, Co-founder, Amber said, “By shifting some of their energy use to times when cheap renewables are generating, our first customers in South Australia and Sydney have been saving hundreds of dollars while building demand for renewable energy.
“We also pay customers with rooftop solar the real-time wholesale energy price for power they export to the grid – the same price that large power stations get for the energy they produce. We’ve even paid customers for using power when wholesale energy prices were negative, due to surplus renewable energy in the grid.”
The long-term vision for the business is for Amber Electric to connect to smart devices, like pool pumps, that can be automatically turned on and off to take advantage of times when energy in the grid is the cheapest.
Tushar Roy, Partner, Square Peg, said: “Amber is building a technology-enabled energy company the likes of which the world has never seen before, and we’re delighted to have led its seed round. Amber aims to drive down energy bills in a way that also shifts energy use towards more renewables – it’s a win-win. It also brings transparency to an opaque industry and puts in its customers’ hands the power to make a positive impact on the environment.”