Changers, which sells personal solar products allowing consumers to produce their own energy and measure how much they use, has closed a $1.5 million Series A funding round led by BFB Frühphasenfonds Brandenburg, a government-backed German development fund that focuses on early-stage companies in the state of Brandenburg. Heliocentris Energy Solutions and additional private investors participated in the funding round.
Changers, the company that motivates people to transform their energy behavior, has closed $1.5 million in Series A financing. BFB Frühphasenfonds Brandenburg GmbH led the round, with participation from Heliocentris Energy Solutions AG and additional private investors. Berlin-based investment firm bmp Beteiligungsmanagement AG manages the BFB fund.
The funding from Frühphasenfonds Brandenburg (a government-backed German development fund that focuses on early-stage companies located in the state of Brandenburg) and the strategic collaboration of industry partner Heliocentris (a specialist in clean energy and energy-efficiency solutions) enables Changers to accelerate its product development plans, strengthen its presence in the growing ‘connected home’ industry, and take advantage of consumers’ rising interest in energy independence and sustainability.
“The market success of Nest and its acquisition by Google underscores the trend that consumers are increasingly eager to adopt technology that helps them save energy and understand their impact on the environment,” said Oliver Borrmann, CEO of bmp. “We see huge potential for Changers as it combines rewards for energy-saving behavior with a proven community based on a gamified customer loyalty system.”
“The Changers concept of connecting renewable energy production with the power of social networks is a radical new way of viewing decentralized energy production and a glimpse of what is possible in the future,” said Dr. András Gosztonyi, CFO of Heliocentris Energy Solutions AG.
“We believe the timing is perfect to take Changers into new markets, build on our patented technology, and attract more consumers to participate in our fun and rewarding system,” said Markus Schulz, co-founder and CEO of Changers. “So we are very pleased to welcome these two key investors. Frühphasenfonds Brandenburg has deep experience in accelerating startups, while Heliocentris can provide guidance on manufacturing and distribution, and will be instrumental in our expansion to the Middle East. We were also very fortunate to bring three additional angel investors with backgrounds in renewable energy and ecommerce into this round.”
Changers is known for the Changers System, a Social Energy Marketplace that enables people to produce their own energy, measure how much they produce, and convert it into a currency that can be used to buy sustainable goods and services from Changers’ commercial partners. The company markets the Changers Starter Kit, comprising a portable PV solar panel and a portable solar battery that accurately measures how much energy it captures and stores. Thousands of people around the world use Changers to capture renewable energy and charge their handheld devices.
Since its launch just two years ago, Changers has sold more than 5,000 Starter Kits to consumers who, collectively, have generated more than 640 kWh and saved over 6,000 kg of CO2. Every day, Changers users in 49 countries capture the sun’s renewable energy and use it charge their smartphones, tablets and other devices. Changers has also added 25 partners to the Changers Marketplace. These companies offer products and services that are aligned with Changers’ core philosophy, and include avocadostore, Coffee Circle, DriveNow, DHL, Grand St, Holstee, and nextbike.
About bmp Beteiligungsmanagement AG
bmp manages the BFB Frühphasenfonds Brandenburg fund by supporting the selection, business development, financing rounds and exit management of the fund’s holdings. bmp’s management team has extensive industry experience and has invested in more than 120 companies, resulting in 35 successful trade sales and the completion of 14 successful public offerings. For more information visit www.bmp.com.
About BFB Frühphasenfonds Brandenburg GmbH
BFB Frühphasenfonds Brandenburg GmbH (Frühphasenfonds Brandenburg) invests in young, innovative companies in the State of Brandenburg with the aim of strengthening the equity base of these companies in their early phase. The fund, which has a volume of EUR 20 million, was designed and set up by InvestitionsBank des Landes Brandenburg (ILB) on behalf of the Ministry for Economics and European Affairs of the State of Brandenburg. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) provides 75 percent of the fund’s resources, with 25 percent from budget funds of the State of Brandenburg
About Heliocentris Energy Solutions AG
Heliocentris develops, distributes and operates energy-efficiency and autonomous power solutions to customers in industry, science and education worldwide. The company, headquartered in Berlin and with branches in Munich, Dubai and Johannesburg, was founded in 1995 and aims to supply economically viable “zero-emission solutions.” For more information, visit www.heliocentris.com.
Changers, the world’s first social energy marketplace, gives people the power to transform their energy behavior and get rewarded. By combining an advanced portable solar battery charger with the power of the social Web and a currency backed by the sun, Changers aims to stop global warming by motivating each of us to become independent energy producers. Changers is based near Berlin in Potsdam, and is led by a team of entrepreneurs experienced in launching and growing successful technology companies. For more information, visit www.changers.com or follow us @changerscom on Twitter and Facebook.com/changerscom.