Building high growth companies with disruptive technologies

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25th May 2018
This is part of an article published in Business Weekly. Read the full version here.

Renewables have recently displaced coal and gas as the largest source of new UK power generation. Unfortunately, this resource is often wasted while ‘dirty’ energy from fossil fuels is used to meet peaks in demand.

Not for much longer, however: the old-world model – produce, ship, consume – is changing and Cambridge-based Origami Energy is one of the leading technology companies driving this transformation.

Origami spent several years under the radar before emerging as a major disruptive force, raising £18.6 million last month to help it develop strategic partnerships with forward thinking energy suppliers.

It has been supported from its beginnings through to the latest round of funding by Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC), which uses patient capital to help build high-growth technology companies.

Andrew Williamson, investment director at CIC, comments that the time is right for Origami’s approach. He says: “New energy generation from distributed power producers now exceeds that from centralised sources. There is considerable interest in optimising the use of distributed generation to reduce costs, stabilise the electricity grid, and cut carbon emissions.

“Origami’s technology makes it possible to manage both demand and supply intelligently. The platform uses factors such as weather conditions to predict demand.

“It also provides information about energy availability by tracking second-by-second the power generated and consumed by thousands of different sources. For the first time this enables power consumers to manage their procurement dynamically; the market potential is considerable.”

Origami provides an intelligent approach to measuring, communicating and controlling both energy production and consumption.

By offering a method of control it is possible to increase usable capacity in the grid, particularly by allowing renewable power to be used as it is generated, close to the source of production.

As Peter Bance, CEO of Origami Energy, explains: “Energy production is becoming distributed, with an increasing contribution coming from clean energy and smaller generators based in a range of locations as diverse as factories, hotels and brown-field sites. By providing a control layer, we have found that we can shape energy demand to match supply – something that has never been done before. Rather than building new power stations, we are introducing a software layer that can bring the existing grid to its full potential.”


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