EnPowered’s energy management systems help companies combat climate change – and reduce costs | Whuff News


Thomas van Stee, founder and CEO of EnPowered Inc.Alicia Wynter/The Globe and Mail

Deploying new products and services such as energy management systems to businesses has many challenges, from regulatory barriers to the difficulty of selling the technology in distant markets.

To Tomas van Stee, founder and CEO of EnPowered Inc. of Kitchener, Ont., to help large energy customers use their electricity more profitably; it brings benefits to society by facilitating and accelerating the adoption of clean technologies that save money, resources and the planet, too.

“We are enabling the cleatech revolution,” said Mr. van Stee, 30, started the private company in 2015 when his parents’ dairy farm in southwestern Ontario was locked in a money-losing electricity deal with so-called “door-knocking” money promising. A recent business school graduate working as a management consultant at the time, Mr. van Stee brought together such small businesses to get better prices from energy companies.

Today, EnPowered focuses on large commercial and industrial customers, using intelligent measurement software to help them save energy. And he’s on a big campaign to fight climate change with a platform that encourages those users to spend a percentage of their savings on building green energy systems that cost nothing up front.

“Cleantech is a multi-billion dollar industry and will change the world in the next 10 to 20 years. We hope so; otherwise, we are in trouble,” he says. “But there are few start-ups in the space. And so I know there is an opportunity here. “

Mr. van Stee, who has a background in mathematics and actuarial science and calls his team at EnPowered “energy nerds,” says the company’s software does “game theory in the electricity market,” predicting price increases in electricity rates and helping its customers avoid them. . They can do this by temporarily shutting down construction machinery, for example, or by drawing power from large energy storage battery facilities, known as hydropower plants, which EnPowered can access through partnerships.

The company has collectively saved its customers more than $184 million to date, Mr. van Stee.

These organizations can farm 80 percent of those savings in lighting, building automation, solar or battery storage systems – hardware projects financed by third-party lenders, saving more money and reducing their emissions over time.

He first brought EnPowered up to $500,000 in revenue, and today it is backed by seed funding that pushes the company to rapidly expand into new markets. Once you’ve taken on business capital, you need to be ambitious; you are not allowed to slow down,” said Mr. van Stee.

In its expansion phase, the company has moved beyond Ontario — where it still does 90 percent of its business — to Ohio, New York and Texas. It plans to be in half of the US (where regulations are consistent with its model) by the end of 2023 and go to the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan in five years.

“That would be a third of the global energy market that we don’t have access to,” he said. Each new market requires the company to submit an important guarantee, which is done with the support of Export Development Canada (EDC), and to comply with strict regulations.

Mr. van Stee says other challenges for EnPowered as it expands internationally include language barriers, currency fluctuations and the fact that it will require flexible working hours, with energy markets operating 24-7.

He’s up for the challenge, complaining that many Canadian companies “think they’re too small; we always wait to export for a long time…but then we end up having our lunch eaten by US competitors. “

Brandon Schaufele, a professor of business, economics and public policy at the Ivey School of Business at Western University and director of the Ivey Energy Policy and Management Center, says that they cannot export such products without regulations and restrictions that vary from place to place. , “which means you turn the wheel on all the powers you want to get into.”

The EnPowered model encourages high energy users to be more efficient, Dr. Schaufele says.

“Investing in renewable energy has long-term rewards, but we are seeing less widespread adoption. If this can accelerate the adoption of energy efficiency, it can reduce our energy demand. “

He adds that sending such a platform to countries like the US that use fossil fuels to generate electricity is very helpful. “If we can reduce our reliance on coal-fired power, we will reduce global emissions.”

Mr. van Stee has seen a “significant change” among consumers who initially looked to his programs to save money and “actually started to really care about the climate.”

EnPowered currently has 52 employees working in remote teams across three locations. One is made up of product developers, designers and data scientists; one is a group of account managers and sales-development reps focused on sales and marketing; A third party works on the jobs, or what he describes as “Wizard-of-Ozing magic behind the scenes.”

A legal analyst works full-time on changing state-by-state licensing requirements and will subsequently focus on such matters in each state.

Mr. van Stee advises that exporters in Canada should “look for help where it’s available.” For example, he says that without the support of the EDC, “we certainly cannot grow as fast as we are in the US”

The company also received funding to aid its expansion from the Canadian Digital Media Network, a federal center of excellence in marketing and research. He also explains that EnPowered is always choosing new markets by going with existing customers who have sister equipment in that area.

EnPowered is creating a platform similar to what Shopify has done in online sales “so that thousands of other companies can build in the cleantech world and really start fighting climate change,” said Mr van Stee. “This market is ridiculously complex; you need a few companies to manage that complexity so that it’s easy for everyone to start getting into it. “



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