Posted on October 11, 2019 by staff

BP invests in AI-powered tech start-up


Oil and gas giant BP’s specialist venture capital fund BP Ventures has invested in AI-powered software start-up Grid Edge in a move to better control the energy use of commercial and industrial buildings.

The Birmingham firm’s software is reportedly able to learn and anticipate the varying energy demands of the buildings by combing data on expected occupancies and the weather forecast.

It was spun out of Aston University’s Energy Research Institute in 2016 by three friends.

The investment of around £2m is hoped to allow building managers to reduce energy usage by a reported 10 to 15 per cent, while also allowing for the ability to tap into renewable energy, according to BP Ventures.

Dev Sanyal, chief executive of BP Alternative Energy, said: “This investment is in support of our strategy to create an ecosystem of distinctive, digitally-enabled, low carbon businesses for commercial and industrial customers.

“This investment in Grid Edge complements other recent investments in companies in this area, such as Voltaware. We are excited by the possibilities that working together will bring.”

Nacho Gimenez, managing director, BP Ventures, added: “Digital technologies are a critical component to drive the transition to a low-carbon future. Using data, we can unlock the flexibility inbuilt in existing energy systems.”

Tom Anderson, CEO of Grid Edge, said the million pound investment was a vote of confidence.

“It is only a few short years since the founding partners left Aston University to pursue our vision of putting data-driven, intelligent control into the hands of energy consumers and we’re proud to be working with some of the UK’s leading building operators to optimise their energy profile through our predictive AI technology,” he said.

“We are delighted to have brought on board two world-leading investors who believe in our vision and share our ambitions to change the way people use energy.”

In January BP made a £3.8m investment in Belmont Technology, a Houston-based AI start-up.