NOCO Energy uses geospatial, financial and energy data to identify low carbon asset development opportunities. The data, fed into our AI-driven systems streamline system sizing and design, reducing early-stage development costs significantly.
NOCO have recently graduated from the PropTech track our Accelerator Programme, supported by HMLR. We spoke to the founder, Calin, to find out how the Accelerator helped their start-up excel!
Q: Tell us about your start-up – why did you start NOCO and what’s your background?
A: I’m Calin, the founder of NOCO. In terms of background, mine is quite diverse. First, I’ve been an oil futures trader, a large-scale survey project manager, a data automation specialist for a government education grant fund. Then, finally, I made my way into the renewables industry, where I’ve been an analyst, consultant and now a founder.
I started NOCO because I spent so much time in different roles identifying high energy users for renewable energy project development. Whether I was looking for sites to place wind turbines, solar projects or heat networks, the issue was always the same – collecting, cleaning and analysing data efficiently. This led me to the realisation that there is a massive efficiency gap in the market that needs to be overcome if we are to keep global warming in check.
Q: How does your start-up aim accelerate the transition to net-zero?
A: We aim to accelerate the transition by owning the early-stage development process of decentralised renewable energy projects. The saying “Data is the new oil” really hits home on this application. Traditionally, finding the right combination of site, property owner, grid connection and energy off-taker risk has been prolonged and costly. Developers used to have to sift through hundreds of sites using various fragmented data sources to find an opportunity. Now, we have aggregated all that information and developed sophisticated agent-based models to create massive gains in efficiency. Now, it takes only a few minutes to find a suitable candidate site. Going forward, we aim to use this data with partner funds and developers to help them deploy capital quickly and at a lower cost.
Q: How have you and your start-up benefitted from being on the Accelerator Programme?
A: In so many ways! The stellar combination of the Geovation team and their external advisors has been instrumental in helping us answer some of our most burning questions like what data do we use, what is our route to market, who are we selling to? Being part of the cohort has helped connect NOCO with like-minded people at a similar stage in their venture. Sharing ideas on team structure, marketing, sales, and data has given us many fresh perspectives to iterate on our plans.
In terms of exposure, a great opportunity arose due to the accelerator: We got the chance to present our use case for a leading data initiative in the energy sector, the National Energy System Map, at the Energy Networks Conference.
Finally, the financial support has helped us cover some of the costs, which for a bootstrapped start-up is a godsend.
Q: What have you achieved since being on the Accelerator Programme?
A: Since we’ve joined the programme, we’ve doubled our revenue, gotten closer to finding our product-market fit and most importantly, have been able to gain a better end vision of where the company is going and what it stands for. The most significant achievements came through in the last two weeks of the accelerator in the form of some great business opportunities I only could’ve dreamed about a year ago, but I can’t say any more about that!
Q: What does success look like for NOCO Energy and what are your goals?
A: True success is a world in which we emit no anthropogenic emissions, that’s what our name stands for, “no CO(2)”. However farfetched or difficult that may seem, success for us is doing our very best and helping funders and developers deploy as many renewable energy assets as fast and as efficiently as possible.
In the most recent IPCC report, it was shown that we only have seven years left at current emissions levels until we hit the 1.5°C tipping point. So, our goal is to help 1GW of solar panels and battery storage systems find their place amongst the UK’s commercially owned built environment.
Geovation Accelerator Programme
If you’re motivated by the success NOCO have achieved through being part of our Accelerator Programme, why not apply for the next cohort?
We’re looking for start-ups in the geospatial and property industries to apply to receive up to 6 months intensive support, increased exposure to business opportunities and much more.
Applications are opening again in mid-January!