Edinburgh-based NetThings secures £500K funding

George McGhee, chief executive of NetThings
George McGhee, chief executive of NetThings
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A TECHNOLOGY firm that monitors power consumption with web-connected devices is looking to expand internationally after securing £500,000 from Barclays.

Edinburgh-based NetThings offers monitoring for domestic and commercial usage, and is focusing on the SME segment, with this type of business using on average five times as much energy as residential customers, its chief executive, George McGhee, told Scotland on Sunday.

However, “more than half the SMEs we talk to don’t have any energy-efficiency practices at all,” he said, highlighting a British Gas survey that found 46 per cent of SME energy use is outside business hours, much of which is not essential.

NetThings is looking at commercial organisations with many small premises, and has developed an energy-management system Click, having arranged commercial trials of this with a major hospitality group and a high-street betting shop.

McGhee said: “The move into the commercial premises market is probably the most strategic one because there’s nobody really dominating that market in terms of energy-efficiency management. We can be quite disruptive in terms of pricing.

“That’s the big focus for us – that and trying to internationalise the business.”

He said that while it is currently entirely UK-based, “there’s no reason, given the right investment and the right relationships with distributors and so on, why we can’t take it abroad”.

For Europe, the first areas of focus would be France, Germany and Scandinavia, while the Middle East is a market of interest for air conditioning.

The firm started trading in 2011 and has shipped more than 7,000 systems and grown its number of staff to 25. It was the first in the UK to benefit from Barclays’ innovation finance product for innovative early-stage companies with high-growth potential.

It has already received backing from investment group Archangels, and McGhee praised angel investment for being the “lifeblood for small businesses in Scotland”.