At the beginning of the year 2019 eSmart Systems announced a capital raise of 18 MUSD. Nysnø Climate Investments joined the investment round with a strong belief that eSmart Systems has a key role in the future energy industry.
We had the pleasure of talking with Siri Kalvig, CEO of Nysnø and Tina Skagen, COO of eSmart Systems, to learn more about their collaborative partnership, sustainability, and challenges and opportunities in the new energy paradigm.
Can you start by telling a bit about your company, what it does and what are you focusing on in particular at the moment?
Siri Kalvig: Nysnø Climate Investments (Nysnø) was established as a state-owned investment company in 2018. We invest in companies with profitable climate technologies. We focus on companies that are ready to scale into new markets and invest across several sectors including clean energy technologies, digital and enabling technologies, resource efficiency, sustainable demand and the circular economy. Our most recent investment is in a company called Saga Robotics who are developing an autonomous robot for several precision farming applications.
eSmart Systems deliver inspection services to power grid companies through collaborative AI. Its mission is to accelerate the transition to a digital future. What do you think it takes to succeed in that mission?
Tina Skagen: Dedication to the mission and our customers, a strong team and perseverance. It takes time to change work processes and the ways that things have always been done. Digitalization happens gradually all around us, and our value proposition to the power utilities is strong. We need to make sure we are there and ready to deliver when our customers are mature.
Nysnø’s goal is to make profitable, long-term investments that contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. How does eSmart Systems fit with that strategy, and why did you invest in eSmart Systems?
Siri: Because of their unique technology that is ready for international expansion and backed by a highly talented and dedicated team. The combination of world leading AI competence and domain expertise in the energy utility space has resulted in a unique product offering. Producing more renewable energy and utilizing power grids optimally is critical for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The eSmart software enables a robust and smart grid, capable of meeting challenges related to future global energy systems.
How do you give growth support to your investments, and eSmart Systems in particular?
Siri: We are a long-term investor with a strategy of following up our initial investments with further growth capital over time. We have an international network of specialized co-investors and corporates that are committed to accelerating the energy transition, as well as relationships with policy makers in the energy field. We actively work to position our portfolio companies in this ecosystem.
eSmart Systems has a clear value proposition and a unique opportunity to scale globally, and we are highly committed to support this growth through our network, which includes potential future co-investors, other financing providers, relevant policy makers, potential customers and key talent for recruitment. We also work actively with the company in relation to other funding schemes, such public soft funding and growth loans.
What makes Nysnø different to other investors, and can you provide some examples of growth support from Nysnø?
Tina: Nysnø has a crystal-clear focus on sustainability and the environment. Their focus and competencies on growth challenges and the business that eSmart Systems is in, are of great value to us. Nysnø has been a valuable partner especially when it comes to network, funding, and financials.
What role do you see eSmart Systems play in the future energy industry?
Siri: Because the energy systems are changing towards more intermittent renewables, eSmart Systems offers a crucial solution to enable this shift by providing tools to increase the robustness of the grid. A robust, smart, and agile power grid is the most important asset in an entirely renewable energy system – and we see that eSmart Systems has both the technology and business model to take utilities into this new energy paradigm.
Tina: eSmart Systems will undoubtedly play an important role in the operations of power grids in the future. Being able to inspect the grid remotely and autonomously, and to analyze and extract actionable insight from the data is the future for the utility business as well as for other industries. We have built a product that can take the power utilities into this future and give them value on their data.
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