Case Study: Evergen

Sydney scaleup Evergen closed a $6 million fundraising round in June which was led by Artesian and AMP Capital and saw over $400,000 of crowdfunded investment via VentureCrowd.

Evergen was founded in 2015 as a joint initiative between the CSIRO and AMP Capital. With the goal of destroying 10 coal-fired power stations in as many countries by 2023, Evergen is focused on protecting Australians from the rising price of electricity by supplying the best solar, battery and energy intelligence.

In 2019, Evergen pivoted to focus on distributing its software-as-a-service technology that monitors weather signals and electricity prices; storing electricity when it’s cheaper, and enabling the sale of excess solar power when demand is high.

Since shifting the business to focus on its SaaS product, Evergen has started to collaborate with energy industry heavyweights including Australia’s largest distributor of home batteries, Solar Service Group; overseeing its fleet of 10,000 batteries. Evergen also supplies batteries to residential and commercial customers, and has used a portion of its $6 million in funding to reorganise operations.

Evergen-Phone_set

Fundraising during fire season

Evergen began fundraising in December last year, with CEO Ben Hutt saying that the timing proved to be a double edged sword for the business.

“Our fundraising efforts came not long after the national climate strikes, and in the middle of Australia’s worst bushfires on record,” Hutt said. “Climate change was keeping many people awake at night, and while investment wasn’t front-of-mind for many, it did provide Evergen with an opportunity to get in front of a new group of investors who were eager to support alternative energy options.”

Looking to crowdfunding as well as traditional venture capital sources, Evergen’s renewable energy technology was supported by a large variety of investors who were eager to help shift Australia towards a more sustainable model.

Once the bushfires ended, COVID-19 reached Australia, and while the pandemic has devastated many industries, the consumer habits of Australians have shifted away from spending on travel and holidays and towards activities such as home improvement, with government subsidies for renewable energy also supporting this move. With a third of Evergen’s customers making a profit from their solar panels each year – and the remainder saving 80 per cent off the costs of their bills – the pandemic provided a prime opportunity for home owners to invest in their properties, and helped to bolster Evergen’s industry partnerships.

VentureCrowd CEO Steve Maarbani says that his team is seeing an increase in demand for investment into industry disruptors like Evergen, with more people seeking out ethical investments to add to their portfolio.

“Equity crowdfunding is creating counter cyclical and ethical investment opportunities for a greater number of Australians,” Maarbani said. “We’re seeing environmentally aware, conscious investors seeking out these kinds of opportunities for funding futures that are responsible, ethical and sustainable.”

Looking to a bright future

Evergen is expecting to generate $20 million in recurring revenue thanks to its energy optimisation software, which has been bolstered by partnerships with Energizer and Service Solar Group. Evergen’s collaboration with Energizer will see the business rollout a new breed of home battery, and the partnership with Service Solar Group aims to deploy a large-scale virtual power plant (VPP) across Australia.

Evergen’s CEO Ben Hutt says the future looks bright for the business, which has additional partnerships in the works.

“In recent months, we’ve established reseller partnerships with companies including Energizer and Energy Australia, and are supporting their businesses while maintaining our agility as a growing scale-up,” Hutt said. “We’re expecting to control 10,000 batteries by Christmas this year, and are enabling customers to save thousands on their electricity bills.”