Result of the merger of the Portuguese Virtual Power Solutions (VPS) – a company from Coimbra specialized in monitoring and remote management of energy consumption – with several clean technology startups in Brazil and the United Kingdom, Cleanwatts intends to “simplify, expand and accelerate the energy transition “. Michael Pinto, CEO and co-founder of the company, promises “to transform the complexity inherent in this transition into a simple value proposition for customers: clean, smart, locally sourced energy and at a lower price than the network”.
For the official, the energy sector “has been a private club of conservative companies, with installed interests, and not very innovative”, which is one of the reasons why we are “40 years behind in energy decarbonization”. And although newly created, Cleanwatts benefits from the extensive experience of VPS, operating, “successfully”, a portfolio of more than two thousand locations, “monitoring, optimizing and managing more than two terawatts / hour of energy for a wide portfolio of customers “, ranging from medium to large companies, such as banks, various industries, hotels and international airports in Europe and Brazil. ANA-Aeroportos de Portugal is one of its customers.
The objective is, precisely, to use the success of VPS in the development of energy management software to leverage new opportunities in the field of local clean energy production solutions. “The challenge of implementing smart energy efficiency systems and services for the development of energy communities can only be delivered to a partner who has the appropriate digital platforms and the experience necessary to manage the complexity and volume of data related to the production and to energy consumption in real time, accurately and consistently “, defends Michael Pinto. In the pipeline are already 20 communities, across the national territory, corresponding to more than 10 megawatts, and the company is already looking at the European market to grow in this segment.
Digital technology and innovation are the competitive advantages of the company, which guarantees to be “continuously improving” its products using “advanced algorithms, artificial intelligence and blockchain technology. On the various benefits of its offer, Cleanwatts highlights the reduction of up to 30% in energy costs, through the obtained efficiency, and up to 10% in operational costs, through the optimization of processes and equipment, while maintenance costs can be cut up to 20%, using predictive mechanisms.
Born in the middle of the pandemic, Cleanwatts ensures that the covid-19 even accelerated its launch, as it was an opportunity to support companies and sectors most affected by the pandemic to better manage their operating costs. “Intelligent energy efficiency and access to clean energy at affordable prices directly reflect some of the challenges posed by the pandemic, namely offering not only greater control and predictability over operating expenses, but also less reliance on more polluting and cost-effective energy sources progressively higher “, says Michael Pinto.
The company successfully concluded, in December 2020, an investment round of more than 1.2 million euros, an amount subscribed, in part equal, by the venture capitals LC Ventures and Portugal Ventures. It ended the year with “positive financial results”, which it does not quantify. In 2019 alone, VPS earned three million.
For this year, the expectation is, at least, to double sales. “The beginning of 2021 is being marked by an expansion of the sales pipeline, with several new businesses and interesting partnerships in Europe, Brazil, the United States and Japan”, underlines the manager. The expectation is that, at the end of the year, international sales already represent one third of the total; within three years, they are expected to represent “three times more” than billing in Portugal. With 50 workers, the company plans to hire another 20 new staff this year.
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