Energy tech company Faraday Grid has received a £25 million financial boost from a US-based billionaire to support international expansion as it gears up for rapid growth.
Adam Neumann, co-founder of flexible workspace provider WeWork, which was last year valued at more than $40 billion (£31bn), has made a £25m investment in the Edinburgh-headquartered firm.
This is the second time Neumann has invested in Faraday, in which he now owns a non-controlling, minority stake. It comes ahead of a further investment round which will take place later this year.
Founder and chief executive Andrew Scobie told The Scotsman that the firm will use the funding to support global expansion, as it targets acquisitions and strategic partnerships in the US, Latin America, Japan, Australia and continental Europe.
Faraday’s exchanger technology is designed to help energy grids make better use of renewable energy, using power-control devices that autonomously balance voltage, frequency and power-factor control.
This allows the grid to better accommodate the fluctuations in supply that come with renewable sources, and reduces the need for back-up generation which lowers costs.
The firm currently employs 100 people, with an R&D (research and innovation) centre in Washington DC, as well as its Edinburgh base.
Scobie is confident that headcount in the Scottish capital can double, while global staff numbers can reach as high as 1,000, by the end of the year, through a combination of new hires and acquisitions.
He said: “The demand for us on a global basis is just enormous, much more than we had anticipated at this time, so we’re running perhaps five years ahead of where we had expected to be.
“It’s wonderful to see the traction that we’re now getting because of the impact that we can have on carbon emissions, energy cost reductions and increasing the stability of the grid.
“During this year we’ll start putting together innovation teams in Europe and also in Japan, on top of the operational side of things in those locations.”
In October, the business announced an agreement with UK Power Networks, which owns and maintains electricity cables across the east and south-east of England, to trial its technology this spring.
Faraday expects to announce further collaborations and partnerships “with partners around the world” throughout 2019, and is due to open a new R&D facility in Edinburgh at the end of February.
Neumann said: “Faraday Grid will fundamentally change the way we access and use energy in the future.
“Andrew and the team have built a world class offering that has an incredible opportunity to uplift all people and communities and have a positive impact on the world. I am excited to be part of their journey.”