Energy infratech, Aurtra, receives $2m from Uniseed & Sydney Angels
Energy infratech start-up, Aurtra, has closed a $2 million oversubscribed seed round, led by Uniseed and including Sydney Angels, the Sydney Angels Sidecar Fund 2, Melbourne Angels, Brisbane Angels and other International investors lifting the total funds raised by Aurtra to $3 million in just two years.
The start-up’s patented Internet of Things (IoT)-powered asset management platform enables real-time monitoring and life extension of energy transformers, whose current 30-year automatic replacement cycle creates a $1.7 trillion global problem with significant environmental implications.
Aurtra is currently installed in 66 per cent of Australian power distribution utilities, and will use the capital injection to leverage existing distribution in Australia, New Zealand, Nth America and Europe to drive new customer acquisition in the US, Asia, and Europe.
“One of Aurtra’s obvious strengths is a proven track record in electricity networks across Australia and New Zealand together with genuine excitement about the technology from Utilities in Europe, Asia and North America,” said Aurtra Co-founder and CEO, Stephan McRae.
“We believe this is because Aurtra’s unique energy infrastructure technology doesn’t just provide previously unheard-of visibility into the status of energy transformers – potentially increasing their shelf life by upwards of 10 years or 33 per cent in the process – but because it is also fully automated and can be installed in under 30 minutes.
“Given these benefits, we are highly confident we will seize sizeable global market share. However, with around 34 million aging energy distribution transformers globally, there is a $1 billion annual revenue opportunity if we acquire just 5 per cent of this total addressable market”.
“The global infrastructure technology market is yet to be touched by any type of significant technological transformation, and so any shifts could have enormous results. However, this also made it a challenge to find venture capital funds that understood the sector and were interested in committing at the seed round stage”.
“Attracting the support of experienced seed-stage investors like Sydney Angels, Uniseed and others will benefit the industry as a whole and assist us heavily in our next phase of growth and future capital raising,” concluded Mr. McRae.
Power transformers were traditionally replaced after 30 years, because their failure rate tends to increase at this point. Because of the sealed nature of their physical design, there has never been an easy way to gain visibility into the real age of the units before they are taken out of service, so retirement often occurs prematurely and at huge expense.
Aurtra’s solution allows customers to manage these power transformers to maximum economic life by providing visibility into the status and rate of insulation aging, thus eliminating the need for automatic replacement, creating a potential saving of $1 trillion of industry capital expenditure over 10 years.
The three co-founders, Terry Woodcroft, Stephan McRae, and Richard Harris, each have extensive experience launching new international products from Australia and growing businesses from start-up to exit.
They applied this experience by first licensing the outcomes of research from The University of Queensland in March 2017 and quickly forming Aurtra the same year, where they used the latest IoT and SAAS techniques to develop and install the first solution with Energy Queensland just 4 months later.
The success of this trial was quickly followed up with its first sales in December 2017, and within two years the solution had been adopted by more than two thirds of Australian power distribution utilities.
Sydney Angels’ lead investor, Richard Shepherd, said: “Not only does Aurtra have a proven and unique product but this new funding will enable rapid global expansion through new and existing distribution networks. We’re excited by the tech opportunities in the huge infrastructure sector and believe Aurtra is well placed to become a global leader.”
Uniseed’s Investment Manager, Paul Butler, said: “We are very pleased to be part of such a strong investment consortium including three major Angel groups on the east coast, and also proud to see the successful commercialization of another technology born out of partner-university research. Aurtra’s solution will help relieve strained infrastructure budgets, particularly where aging networks are struggling to incorporate volatile renewable energy flows.”
Aurtra is currently seeking contracting opportunities with transformer manufacturers, large industrial energy users and power utilities seeking to reduce risk and extend the life of their transformer fleet.
Aurtra delivers Utilities and large energy users cost-effective SaaS online condition monitoring solutions for transformer assets. A patented IoT multi-function sensor, cloud-based algorithms and Insight Dashboard reveal the real time operational impacts of load conditions on transformer health to manage aging transformers for maximum life expectancy, significantly reducing capital expenditure.
Headquartered in Brisbane, Australia, Aurtra now has installations in >60% of Australian distribution Utilities, its first installations in Europe and North America and is expanding internationally. For further information, visit www.aurtra.net or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Uniseed is Australia’s longest running early stage commercialisation fund that makes investments in research emanating from five of Australia’s leading research organisations – The University of Queensland, The University of Sydney, The University of New South Wales, The University of Melbourne and the CSIRO. Uniseed is a mutual fund, owned by research organisations, for research organisations. The fund facilitates the commercialisation of its research partners’ most promising intellectual property and secures targeted investment in resulting products and technologies. Several of Uniseed’s investee companies have gone on to become successful and profitable commercial enterprises. For more information, visit: www.uniseed.com
About Sydney Angels
Sydney Angels (www.sydneyangels.net.au) is a leading angel investor group that is owned and run by its 100+ members who invest their own money, time, and expertise in deals they select. Sydney Angels is run on a volunteer not-for-profit basis and it is completely free for startups to apply for funding. Sydney Angels screens hundreds of applications each year so its members can consider the highest quality and most promising startup investment opportunities. In addition, the Sydney Angels Sidecar Funds 1 & 2 are $10m ESVCLP funds that invest dollar for dollar with Sydney Angels members.