#StartupSpotlight: Tempus Energy aims to shake up UK energy market
In this edition of Startup Spotlight, we speak with Sara Bell, CEO and founder of Tempus Energy, a new renewables-focused ‘disrupt’ energy supplier in the UK.
Tempus Energy has developed a disruptive technology to create cost savings across the electricity supply chain. In March 2015, we launched a new kind of electricity supplier, which matches customers’ energy use with times when renewable generation is plentiful and wholesale prices are lower.
Why Tempus Energy?
We make energy greener and cheaper at the same time, so we have ended that age-old energy dilemma between price & morals! We are also not afraid to upset the current power balance. In December 2014, we took the UK government to the EU courts to challenge fossil fuel subsidies, because they ramp up customers’ energy bills, stop new innovations coming through and most importantly they destroy our planet.
How did it all begin?
Tempus Energy’s story is of a collection of people who got to the top in their respective fields and then decided to rebel against the status quo rather than reap the rewards of the current system. I had a career in financial risk modelling before switching to the energy sector.
While working on energy network cost optimisation strategies, I realised that energy companies were really missing a trick by focusing on traditional, out-dated risk models, rather than using the rise of renewable energy to exploit price fluctuations in a manner that benefits customers instead of fossil fuel generators.
This was no accident, since the ‘Big 6’ suppliers, which control over 90% of Britain’s electricity market, also own the fossil fuel generating stations! I set about building a team of technology, operations, regulatory and market experts. Together, we developed a new software platform and business model designed to work in the current regulatory regime without the need for ‘green subsidies’, in a way that benefits customers and the planet.
The company culture is based around creativity, fun and standing up for the little guy.
And the financing?
We received an innovation grant from the UK’s Technology Strategy Board and also some seed debt finance from the Mayor of London’s Growing Places Fund. I also put my life savings into the company to get it started initially.
Although several VC investors have approached us, our whole business model revolves around giving power back to customers, so we have decided to equity crowdfund our next wave of funding by selling shares to the public via Crowdcube.
What’s next for Tempus Energy?
We are scaling up, ready to take on the UK electricity market and show business and families how much money they really can save through our demand flexibility technology. We are setting up the Tempus Smart Energy Academy to train up apprentices on technical skills and customer care.
We strongly feel that environmental and tech jobs should not be just middle class pursuits but genuinely benefit everyone.
Tempus Energy is also determined to help community energy projects because network imbalance costs are a big problem for unpredictable, weather-dependent renewables. We can use our technology to de-risk their business models and therefore unlock finance for local green energy.
We are not just looking at UK markets, we are already talking to interested parties in Scandinavia, the US and beyond.
Startup Spotlight is a weekly column where LSBF speaks with the leaders of young start-ups and businesses with a view to inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurs. If you’d like your company to be featured here, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.