- Founders: Anders Meldgaard Kjemtrup, Christian Randløv Schmidt, and Jon Sigvert
- Founded in: 2020
- Employees: 7
- Money raised: €2.3 million
- Ultimate goal: Create a new way for companies to buy green electricity.
Across Europe, countries are producing green energy. Yet this is not always successful. It is not yet going without fossil energy. For this episode of start-up of the day, Innovation Origins spoke with Jon Sigvert, one of the founders of Reel. The start-up wants to change the energy market and facilitate the construction of new renewable energy plants.
What does Reel stand for?
“Reel in Danish means that something is real, that it is genuine. Basically, what we do is ensure that when you buy green electricity, it really is green. We make sure that it is genuine and we go about it in the right way.”
What was the main reason to set up Reel?
“The electricity market today is organized in a way, that you as a consumer use electricity that’s available on the market. This means that on a day when there’s a lot of wind and a lot of sunshine, then a lot of renewable energy is available. When you use electricity on such a day, your CO₂ emissions will be very low. But on a day without the generation of wind or solar energy, there’ll be a lot of fossil-fuelled electricity on the grid. CO₂ emissions will be consequently high then.
When a consumer wants to use only green energy, he gets a certificate, stating he is using green electricity. But he uses electricity that has already been produced. And sometimes also electricity that is fossil-fuelled. That’s why we decided to found Reel. When a company buys electricity from Reel, we make sure that a new solar power plant or a new wind farm is actually being built.”
How do you plan to assure the production of this green energy that you are supplying to your customers?
“Our solution is based on an emerging type of renewable energy contract. It’s called a power purchase agreement (PPA). PPA is a contract that’s signed directly between a company that builds new solar power plants or new wind farms, on the one side, and a company that is buying electricity directly from the developer, on the other. This contract secures financing for the construction of a new solar park.
Basically, what we do is unlock our purchase agreements for smaller companies. Until recently, these contracts were only available for the largest companies like Google, Facebook, or Amazon. They have been able to sign this contract directly with the developer. What we do is we are unlocking PPAs and making them available for all companies. Now smaller companies are also able to access these types of agreements. By doing this, we help ensure that the developer is able to access financing to build a new power plant.”
What were some of the problems that you ran up against?
“There have been quite a few. We are launching ourselves as an actual certified electricity provider in the fall. Initially, we will be selling electricity in the Danish market. Therefore we need to be certified by the Danish government to be able to do this. So that has been not easy. We also needed funding. We just closed our pre-seed investment round worth €2.3 million, in order to get started. We used the past two years to prepare everything.”
What drives you to wake up every day and do what you’re doing?
“We are all climate activists, and we all have a very, very strong drive. We want to fix a system that doesn’t work effectively. Our goal is to empower all consumers and companies to actually make a difference. We’re working on a solution that structurally changes the way companies buy electricity to accelerate the renewable energy transition. And working on such an important issue is something that makes it easy to head into work in the morning.”
What makes you proud?
“I think what makes me really proud of the company is the huge task that we took on. We are actually trying to solve something that will dramatically change the way that companies contribute to solving climate change. And in that sense, it’s not just a small part like making packaging more sustainable or something like that. It’s actually something that can dramatically help fight climate change.”
Where do you see Reel in five years’ time?
“The ambition is to be THE climate-focused electricity provider. Right now, we are launching our solution in our market foothold, which is Denmark. This is where we also founded the company. Denmark has a history of renewable energy. It’s a place where there’s a lot of knowledge and expertise in renewable energy. And it is also a place where consumers are very much aware of climate change. Moreover, they are proactive in trying to fight climate change. It’s the ideal place to launch. But what we really want to do is to use this as a springboard to expand our solution to other markets across Europe. The ambition is to be Europe-wide within the coming years.”