Updated: Nov 24, 2022
Original article posted by David Swan in The Australian November 7,2022
As geopolitical conflict and a drive to net zero heaps pressure on Australia’s energy grid, this Melbourne tech company thinks it can help.
Melbourne-based software start-up Orkestra has raised a $1.1m funding round to help it roll out its platform to energy companies including Origin Energy and Energy Australia, which have each signed on as early customers.
The tech outfit — co-founded by former New Energy Ventures consultants Chris Cooper, James Allston, and Michael Jurasovic — provides software-based tools to help energy providers plan, sell and optimise the roll out of new energy deployments.
Its funding came from local venture capital fund Tidal Ventures, which led the round, with participation from unnamed angel investors with links to the energy industry.
Orkestra chief executive and co-founder Chris Cooper said that geopolitical conflict and burgeoning fossil fuel prices, alongside the drive to net zero, have left Australian businesses facing a convergence of energy challenges, with wholesale energy prices having tripled over the last six months.
According to Mr Cooper that is growing the need for energy providers to have software that helps improve the economics and effectiveness of their rollouts. His team’s software lets energy companies evaluate the best solution for their business customers between solar and battery solutions, using algorithms and analytics.
He said funds raised will be used to expand the team and roll out the product to the Australian market, and did not disclose Orkestra’s valuation.
“Our aim is to be the intelligence layer that underpins clean energy projects around the world. Teams that were previously using excel spreadsheets or outdated software are instantly seeing the value in Orkestra’s offering, and so far we’ve been blown away by the feedback from customers,” he said.
“We’re stoked to have partners like Tidal Ventures on board, whose expertise in guiding globally ambitious software start-ups will give us the best chance of success.”
The investment caps a busy period for Tidal, general partner Wendell Keuneman said, which recently announced a fundraise for its third fund, along with capital raises for local start-ups Sonder, Shippit and Loopit.
“We see an opportunity for Orkestra to be a major data player, providing the enabling technology that can move the market by producing fast, accurate modelling to unlock the deployment of new renewable energy projects and ensure they are predictable and profitable for clean energy providers and their customers,” Mr Keuneman said.
“The clean energy transition represents a once-in-a-generation disruption to the energy market, and a unique opportunity to combine profit with purpose. We’re delighted to be backing Chris, James, Michael, and the Orkestra team on their mission to support the rollout of abundant, clean, and low-cost energy”.
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