Last week our CEO Gareth joined Tyler Orton of Business in Vancouver on his podcast to discuss the issues surrounding hiring a team that reflects society as a whole, and avoiding ‘bro culture’.
Gareth is the first guest on this edition of the podcast. Click the icon below to listen.
About Business In Vancouver
Business in Vancouver is a publication providing local business information in the Vancouver area. The publication is available in a weekly print edition, online at biv.com and in a daily email newsletter.
BIV has been part of the business community of Vancouver since 1989. Business in Vancouver is published by BIV Media Group, a division of Glacier Media.
Canadians flush for EU push
Renewables software outfit Clir opens UK office after raising €1.4m
Canadian clean energy software company Clir Renewables has opened an office in the UK, after a successful seed stage financing round of €1.4m.
The company said the new office is “strategically located to support European clients and draw on local expertise”.
Clir’s cloud-based tools aim to help asset managers and project owners maximise production and gain information on performance.
The UK office adds to the company’s presence in Canada and the US.
Clir Renewables Europe director Craig McCall said: “In the last year, the owners and operators of more than 2GW of projects have subscribed to Clir, including eight projects in the UK.
“We see great potential in the 170GW of wind assets across Europe, and so establishing a base to support our European clients was a natural progression.”
Seen on: Foresight Accelerator
Clir is a Vancouver-based software startup that gives renewable energy farms around the world the tools to increase their annual production by an average of 5%. A member of Foresight’s Launch program, Clir recently raised $2.1 million in a seed-stage financing round. Managing Director and CEO, Gareth Brown, tells us about the keys to Clir’s success, the future of renewable energy, and what he’s going to do with all that money…
Congratulations! What are your plans – how will you use the funding?
It’s all about how we can have an even bigger impact, so we’re looking to triple the size of our team and continue to improve our software. In the process, we’re hoping to become the first AI software for renewable energy.
What does Clir do that other software companies don’t?
Our software gives renewable energy farm owners the recommendations they can act on to improve the performance of their turbines and solar panels.
We go beyond a dashboard and key indicators and give them proactive analytics they can use to implement improvements right away – and on a massive scale. Our software tells them immediately how their technologies are performing in all sorts of conditions, such as the panel or turbine alignment with the resource or how they behave during complex operational condition such as icing events. It also allows stakeholders to digitally monitor the technical and financial health of their assets over time.
Renewable energy farmers using our software are seeing up to a 5% increase in annual energy production and a 10x return on their investment. This is good for them, good for energy users, and great for our planet.
Tell us about your experience working with Foresight – what were the biggest learnings that came out of that process?
We worked closely with our Executive in Residence on the financing process, which obviously worked out pretty well for us. It was really helpful working with an accelerator that is supportive and wants us to succeed.
What are your biggest challenges? How will you overcome them?
We’re a software company but at the end of the day, we are all about people. To meet demand and scale our business – our software is being used by 1,000 wind turbines from Hawaii to the UK but we’d like to grow that by ten times, or even a hundred times – we need to build out our team. We’re looking for people who are not only very good at what they do, but who align with our values and who want to have a positive impact on the world. Finding amazing talent who fit with your culture is always a challenge, but it’s also incredibly exciting and gratifying to bring new people on board who immediately make a difference.
What do you think is next for renewable energy in Canada? Globally?
The economic argument for renewable energy is over: it’s cheaper than conventional fuels and it’s here to stay. It’s not only better for the planet, it’s also a cheaper way of getting electrons into the grid – it’s a social justice issue. As the costs of renewable energy storage come down, I expect to see more and more integration of renewable energy onto the electricity grid (or micro-grids).
What have been the three most important factors in your success to date?
Market validation is number one, two and three. A lot of startups in the space are pushing along with their ideas, so knowing the market and the problems we wanted to solve was our biggest advantage. It was also helpful that we had worked on the ground in markets outside of North America, which was a huge benefit in terms of understanding the global markets and how to break in.
What’s next for Clir?
Growth. We’re hoping to scale our operations and our impact, and we’ll continue to help our clients improve their output and manage their risk better. Also, we’re hiring! Aggressively. We’re an inclusive company so we are looking for a broad range of people to join our team. If you have the technical and soft skills that align with our values, get in touch with us: https://clir.eco/careers/
Seen on: North American Windpower
Clir, a Vancouver-based renewable energy software start-up, has raised C$2.1 million in a seed-stage financing round.
Gareth Brown, the CEO and founder of Clir, has been working as a consultant in the renewable energy market for 11 years.
“Renewable energy power plants are like a black box to many owners and operators of wind farms,” he says. “People are unable to properly optimize their assets due to poor industry tools and badly structured or often missing data that needs to be enriched or synthesized to make accurate recommendations.”
He explains that the company’s artificial intelligence (AI) technology “takes all the data associated with renewable energy assets, combines it with the leading domain expertise, and provides clients with a comprehensive and detailed action plan for how to increase production on a massive scale.”
Currently, Clir’s main product is a wind farm optimization software that has an emphasis on turbine optimization and also has extensive capabilities for wind farm reporting. The product can be modified for solar energy and, in the future, will be compatible with other forms of renewables, such as hydro.
The company intends to use the funds raised in the seed round in business development and software development. Clir was a team of 15 in March, and it plans to have 30 employees by the end of the summer.