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PwC Raise | Ventures advises UrbanChain on their £5.25m fundraise from Eurazeo

PwC Raise | Ventures partners with AI and blockchain enabled energy business UrbanChain on their £5.25m Series A from Eurazeo

Highlights

  • PwC engaged with P2P energy exchange company UrbanChain on their £5.25m Series A round to provide fundraising support and an ongoing business partnership.
  • French based investor Eurazeo led UrbanChain’s first institutional funding round of £5.25m with PwC providing services including due diligence support, tax advisory and wider commercial strategy advice.
  • UrbanChain’s P2P energy exchange is the only trading platform for renewable energy in the UK, with a huge opportunity to disrupt the status-quo and provide cheaper, greener energy.
  • The funding will help provide fire-power to UrbanChain for their international expansion by securing new talent across the business and investing in their technology.

Why did we decide to work with UrbanChain?

PwC engaged with UrbanChain in December 2022, led by Cara Haffey and the PwC Series A team of Thomas Hudson, Sam Taylor and Rima Shah. The team recognised the pressing issue of escalating energy costs due to global dependence on fossil fuels and influence of broader geopolitical factors. The adoption of green energy in businesses and homes faces several obstacles such as the higher costs associated with renewable energy, intermittent supply and reliance on subsidies. UrbanChain addresses these challenges by leveraging Blockchain and AI technologies to automate the procurement of verifiably green energy through power purchase agreements (PPAs) at more affordable prices and with greater predictability. This approach improves access to cost-effective and stable clean energy supplies, making the transition to a net-zero economy more achievable. PwC are working closely with government bodies and energy providers to facilitate this transition, please see links to our summary of Chris Skidmore’s review of the UK net zero target and our view on partnerships to improve access to renewable energy.

“We were actively looking for companies tackling the structural problems related to the widespread adoption of green energy. UrbanChain’s technology was hugely impressive having been bolstered by significant grant funding and led by Somayeh’s deep technical domain expertise. We are delighted to have supported on the round and will look to continue engaging with UrbanChain as they scale.”

Thomas Hudson, Head of Series A, PwC Raise Ventures

Who are UrbanChain and what do they do?

Founded in 2017, Manchester-based and female founder led UrbanChain has created a blockchain and AI based P2P energy exchange for green energy. The product uses AI to predict energy demand, decouples renewable prices from the wholesale fossil fuel markets and matches customers directly with renewable generators. The P2P model allows higher fixed margin for renewable generators and a lower commodity price for corporate customers.

UrbanChain’s P2P energy exchange in the UK facilitates trading between various entities, including renewable energy generators, private companies, local authorities, social housing associations, manufacturers, energy suppliers and households. The platform continues to expand its customer base and in March 2023 the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero (DESNZ) granted UrbanChain £430k to incorporate electric vehicle charging stations & batteries into its renewable energy trading market.

The business is led by co-founders Dr Somayeh Taheri (CEO), Dr Mo Hajhashem (CCO) and Dr Ayesha Naureen (CIO). Dr Taheri brings over 15 years of experience in network infrastructure, urban resilience and system development. Dr Hajhashem has a track record of founding five businesses and possesses extensive knowledge in commercializing innovative products and services, as well as expertise in energy trading and exporting. Dr. Naureen specializes in cyber security, cryptography, computer architecture and the development of blockchain systems.

How did our engagement support the company?

The engagement with UrbanChain involved support on term sheet evaluation, due diligence requests, tax advice and discussions with PwC sector experts on collaboration opportunities. We view our engagement with UrbanChain as a long-term relationship and intend to support the company on their journey as they continue to scale.

The deal and what next

The £5.25m investment led by Pierre Devillard at Eurazeo is the first institutional investment into UrbanChain. The funds will be used to expand the team to 21 by December 2023 with the business searching for new talent across finance, operations, sales, marketing, technical and customer service. UrbanChain is also investing in their technical infrastructure to prepare for an exponential growth projection following closure of the round.

PwC are currently in conversations with UrbanChain exploring an array of opportunities for expanding in this rapidly growing segment of the market.

“Clean green energy still has significant bottlenecks and UrbanChain’s technology is helping facilitate its route to market whilst also making both energy generators and corporates more likely to engage with each other through local power purchase agreements. This is a key pillar for economies’ net zero transition.”

Lynne Baber, PwC UK Sustainability Leader

The PwC team advising on the deal were Cara Haffey, Thomas Hudson, Sam Taylor, Rima Shah, Debra Howarth and Sam Nield.

“We’re delighted to conclude this Series A led by Eurazeo which will strengthen our technical infrastructure in response to the scale of exponential growth that we are experiencing. PwC’s expertise has been invaluable and we are excited about the future collaboration opportunities we have to expand green energy adoption.”

Somayeh Taheri, Founder and Chief Executive at UrbanChain

“Through the P2P markets, UrbanChain is supporting the development of renewable energy where the consumption is, hence limiting drastic impacts on the grid and providing benefits to local communities. What they do is clearly the future of electricity markets!”

Pierre Devillard, Managing Director in Eurazeo’s Smart City Venture Capital team

You can find out more about PwC Raise and the work we do here.

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