Clean Growth Fund & Gulf Oil co-invest in Indra - UK's leading smart charging technology company
1st strategic move by Gulf Oil International into the e-mobility sector
2nd investment made by the Clean Growth Fund in a UK clean-tech company
Indra, the fast-growing electric vehicle and smart energy technology company developing innovative charging and energy storage solutions for home and commercial use, has secured a £6million investment led by the UK venture capital fund, the Clean Growth Fund, alongside Gulf Oil International (Gulf).
Through their investment in Indra, Gulf is making its first strategic move into the e-mobility/electric vehicles sector.
Indra, which was founded in 2013 and is based in Malvern (Worcestershire), manufactures a range of smart energy products, including its market-leading electric vehicle Smart Charger (the “Smart Pro”), and a bi-directional “Vehicle to Grid” charger designed for residential and light commercial use.
The investment in Indra is being made by the Clean Growth Fund (CGF) and Gulf at a time when sales for electric vehicles (EVs) in UK and overseas markets are rapidly increasing.
Indra’s smart chargers can be used by all EV types (cars, vans and buses), and are designed to be quickly, easily and safely installed; Indra’s chargers use a standard residential electrical connection. Indra’s smart chargers allow users to charge their vehicles during off-peak times, when grid carbon intensity is at its lowest via Kaluza's intelligent software platform.
CGF and Gulf will each become shareholders in Indra, alongside OVO Group, which had provided seed capital and technical support to Indra via Kaluza, its technology business.
OVO Group invested in Indra in 2017, taking it from a fledgling technology start-up to an “entech” challenger, building the world's first domestic Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) charger and exporting its technology as far as Australia and Taiwan. Through Kaluza’s market-leading smart charging capability, Indra’s V2G chargers are the first to provide grid flexibility in the UK, supporting grid balancing as more renewable energy and higher demand affects the system.
For Gulf, the investment in Indra is a significant strategic move into the EV market. A long-established downstream oil business, one of the UK’s main fuel brands and best-known for its forecourt and lubricants businesses and its involvement in motor racing, Gulf sees its investment in Indra as a stepping-stone into the e-mobility sector, for both electric cars and electric buses. By joining up with Gulf, Indra will be able to leverage the Gulf brand to grow its business and customer base internationally with a particular focus on India, a key market for the Gulf Group where they intend to exclusively apply the Gulf brand to Indra’s smart chargers.
Indra is developing the next generation of smart energy products and using their extensive knowledge of energy systems and EVs to design integrated home energy management solutions that will revolutionise the control of smart energy devices across the home.
Indra is a global pioneer in V2G technologies, having designed and built the V2G hardware used in the world’s largest residential V2G programme. Its key customers to date include Nissan and OVO Energy, who together in January 2019 announced the world’s first install of a domestic V2G charger in a customer’s home. Other customers include the forward-thinking energy network operators - Jersey Electricity and Taiwan Power Company.
The investment by CGF and Gulf will facilitate Indra’s development work, enabling it to grow its customer base and build Indra’s revenue stream in UK and international markets. Indra expects to increase the size of its workforce to more than 100 people (over the next 3-5 years) to take full advantage of the increasing market opportunities.
Mike Schooling, Indra’s founder and Chief Technology Officer said: “Indra is all about technology and using it to support the journey to Net Zero. Thanks to the early investment by OVO Group, and now with the investment from the Clean Growth Fund and Gulf, we are in a very strong position to take full advantage of the growing EV market and the emergence of V2G solutions in the UK and globally.”
“Our smart charger technology enables others to use their energy more efficiently and at lower cost. The fact that the technology provides solutions to tackling the complex challenges of climate change is a fantastic benefit.”
“Over the next few years, we will develop a suite of products for people’s homes. While on people’s driveways, we will see battery storage, chargers and even entire vehicles containing our technology rolled out to market.”
The Clean Growth Fund, which made its first-ever investment - in Piclo, a smart grid technology company, in December 2020 - is delivering both a commercial return and a quantifiable reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to its investors. It uses its deep sector expertise to select and support UK clean-tech companies, like Indra, that have the potential to rapidly scale. The Clean Growth Fund, which has been cornerstoned by CCLA and the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), is targeting to reach £100 million fund size by November 2021.
Beverley Gower-Jones, Managing Partner of the Clean Growth Fund said: “Indra’s world-class expertise in smart charge technology is recognised across the globe. The company is extremely well-positioned to capitalise on the revolution that we are seeing in the EV and V2G arenas, and the convergence of the transport and energy supply industries.”
“Hats off to OVO for their early-stage investment and work with Indra to realise the potential of distributed power in the residual setting. We are delighted to be co-investing alongside Gulf; their investment underlines the transition that is gathering pace in the oil industry as it embraces the energy transition.”
Camille Nehme, Director of Gulf Oil International UK said: “The automotive and energy landscape is changing fast and we, like all oil and energy companies, have to adapt our business model to meet the changes in the industry. At Gulf, we are embarking on a new global sustainability strategy and investments, like this with Indra, are key steps in our transformation journey. As a strong ‘end consumer brand’, Gulf will have a role to play in becoming a service provider in the mobility space.”
Steven Ackroyd, Business Development Director at Ovo Group and Kaluza said: "This investment is a huge vote of confidence in the technology as well as the talent and dedication of the Indra team. We're delighted that co-investors - the Clean Growth Fund and Gulf Oil share our recognition in Indra's potential to bring market-leading EV and vehicle-to-grid technology to more customers globally."
The Clean Growth Fund was launched in May 2020, with cornerstone investment from the UK Government’s Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and CCLA, one of the UK's largest charity fund managers with £10 billion of assets under management. The Fund is targeting the UK’s most promising early-stage “clean growth” companies that are pioneering carbon emission reductions in the areas of power and energy, buildings, transport and waste.
The Fund’s remit is to drive superior financial returns for investors and accelerate the development and commercialisation of clean growth technologies in the UK – leading to the creation of new and skilled jobs across the country, and contributing to the UK’s efforts to deliver net zero by 2050.
Jonathan Tudor, Investment Partner at the Clean Growth Fund, led the CGF team on their investment in Indra. Jonathan joined the CGF, in September 2020, from Centrica Innovations where he was Technology & Strategy Director. He’s a specialist in corporate venture capital investment and new business creation, and has worked primarily in the UK, Israel and the USA. He has held senior roles at BP Ventures, QinetiQ and CG Innovation Partners, and has held board roles at a number of privately held technology companies.
Legal advisers on the investment round were Osborne Clarke for the Clean Growth Fund, Keystone Law for Indra and OVO Group, and Cathy Salz (VP Legal) and Nigel Darlow (Legal Consultant) for Gulf Oil International UK. Indra was also advised by John Rowland, Managing Partner of White Lake Group (investment advisers)