German startup raises €430M to create ‘virtual power plant’ for your home

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Hamburg-based 1KOMMA5° is the latest startup to join the expanding club of climate tech unicorns, after bagging €430m in fresh funding.  

Founded just 23 months ago, the startup’s main product is Heartbeat, an IoT device that acts as the air traffic control of your home’s energy system. The device connects your solar panels with other energy infrastructure such as energy storage, car chargers, and heat pumps, and optimises the whole system.

By intelligently linking all the energy devices in the home, 1KOMMA5° aims to not just decarbonise the energy grid (and keep global warming within 1.5 °C — as the company name suggests), but save you money in the process. 

It does this through what the company calls “energy system optimisation” — in other words, boosting the overall efficiency of the electric devices in your home. 

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Heartbeat deploys several techniques to ease your electricity bill, including automatically purchasing power when it is cheap (on a windy day for instance) and selling excess power back to the grid when the price is favourable. The device is claimed to save homeowners €1,550 on their energy bill each year. Heartbeat comes with an app which gives real-time access to energy flows and historical data.

1KOMMA5° founder and CEO Philipp Schröder holding the Heartbeat IoT device. Credit: 1KOMMA5°

Through its interconnected energy system, 1KOMMA5° is creating what is known as a “virtual power plant” — a system that brings together multiple independent energy sources and helps balance supply and demand more efficiently.  

Founder and CEO Philipp Schröder —  a former Tesla country director — has been working hard to secure capital for the new venture, and seems to be doing a good job.  

Last year, the startup raised €200m in a funding round featuring the likes of Porsche and Norrsken Foundation. The latest round was led by California-based fund G2VP, and comprises €215m in equity, and a further €215m in buyback options.  

“The 1.5° climate target needs speed in execution and with this round we are delivering our contribution to make as many buildings CO2 neutral as quickly as possible,” said Schröder.

With the new funding, 1KOMMA5° intends to make Heartbeat compatible with existing energy devices, thus expanding its reach and impact. Furthermore, its investing an undisclosed amount into a new R&D site in Berlin.