Posted on January 9, 2020 by staff

BP makes multi-million-pound investment into AI firm


The tech investment arm of BP has made a multi-million investment in a Chinese tech firm as it continues its effort to create AI-powered energy management tech.

BP Ventures has invested £2.7m into R&B Technology, a firm based in Shanghai which will support BP Alternative Energy.

The Chinese firm uses AI analytics to intelligently monitor and control energy use in commercial and industrial buildings. It claims the technology can also make recommendations

BP Venture’s investment formed the lead in R&B’s latest funding round, which also included CLP Innovation Ventures Limited and JAFCO Asia.

For BP, the deal comes just under a year after making a £3.8m investment in Texas-based AI start-up Belmont Technology and four months after investment in Birmingham based Grid Edge, a competitor to R&B Technology which remains on the firm’s portfolio.

The latest deal makes R&B Technology the 31st firm in BP Venture’s portfolio and will see BP Ventures investment manager, Jin Hu, take up a director seat on R&B’s board.

Dev Sanyal, BP Alternative Energy chief executive and executive vice president, regions, said: “Digital technology, smarter consumers and bold decarbonisation targets are together rapidly changing the world’s energy systems.

“BP is determined to help meet society’s demands for more energy, delivered in new and cleaner ways.

“Our investment in R&B, a business developing and deploying innovative technology to improve energy efficiency, is fully aligned with this strategy.”

The deal with R&B Technology follows a £7.6m investment in NIO Capital to explore opportunities in advanced mobility in 2018.

Graham Howes, managing director of BP Ventures, Asia, said: “Improving the energy efficiency of buildings will be crucial for the transition to a lower-carbon world.

“The C&I buildings sector in China is large and still expanding, so the potential to affect change is significant.

“R&B’s technology is aimed firmly at this important opportunity.”