Start-up that allows consumers earn money by selling excess energy raises £5.5m

Manchester-based Upside Energy wants to reduce greenhouse gases by helping people to use energy at off peak times and sell the excess back to the grid

Upside Energy, a Manchester-based smart energy start-up, has raised £5.5m in a funding round that included Legal & General Capital and SYSTEMIQ.

Believing our current energy system to be “amazing” but also “brutal”; the UK's current energy system is overly reliant on fossil fuels, emits greenhouse gases, and lays thousands of miles of wire across the country; the start-up's tech proprietary platform helps connects suppliers and users in a bid to reduce carbon emissions.

Having developed a cloud service that aggregates the energy stored in systems people and businesses already own, such as uninterruptible power supplies, solar panels, electric vehicles and domestic heating systems, Upside's “Virtual Energy Store” allows it to sell excess energy to the grid to help it balance supply and demand.

The start-up then shares the revenue it generates from such a service with device owners and manufacturers, while users can also save money on their energy bills if they avoid using certain devices at peak times.

Co-founded by Dr Graham Oakes in 2013, who also serves as chair and chief scientist, the energy entrepreneur has over 30 years experience as a systems engineer – working in senior roles at the likes of  Sony, Sapient, Skype, Intel, Vodafone and Greenpeace.

Other founding members include software engineers Matt Potts, Matt Fisher and Dr Andy Molineux – with Fisher and Molineux having previously co-founded software development and technical consultancy Tripod Software.

Since launch, Upside Energy has grown its headcount to 10 people and is based between Salford and London.

The energy start-up says it will use the fresh injection of cash to drive recruitment and speed up the commercialisation and deployment of its cloud-based smart-grid platform.

Dr Oakes said:

“This is the culmination of four years of hard work since we entered the Nesta Dynamic Demand Challenge, sponsored by National Grid back in 2013.

“We’ve taken Upside Energy’s cloud platform from a wild and speculative idea to a solid, innovative solution to help people harness the opportunities created by the confluence of two trends: the growth of renewable generation and the rise of smart devices.

“Our vision is to create a new, cleaner and more equitable, energy system. This partnership with Legal & General Capital, SYSTEMIQ and Modern Energy will help us realise that vision.”

An ever growing start-up city, Startups traveled to Manchester in late 2017 to report on some of the city's impressive range of co-working spaces, accelerators and laboratories.

To read our ‘boots on the ground’ report, and to learn more about some of the best places to start a business in Manchester, click here.