Birmingham's innovative climate-tech startup, Furbnow, has recently garnered an impressive £950,000 in pre-seed funding in a significant stride towards a greener future. This financial infusion is earmarked to catapult Furbnow's pioneering home decarbonization platform, which aims to seamlessly guide homes toward achieving Net Zero status.
This notable funding round, spearheaded by SFC Capital, also saw the involvement of Norrsken Accelerator and esteemed angel investor Daniel Luhde-Thompson. Adding to the financial support, Furbnow also received a grant from Innovate UK's Future Economy Investor Partnership and collaborative backing from Nesta and Founders Factory's Mission Studio.
Furbnow's timing couldn't be more critical, as residential emissions currently represent around 20% of global carbon footprints. In the UK, the urgency is palpable: to meet the ambitious Net Zero target by 2050, the nation must retrofit two homes every minute. However, 97% of UK homes fall short of the efficiency standards required for this goal.
The startup, co-founded by energy efficiency maven Becky Lane and Laurence Watson, a serial climate tech entrepreneur and data scientist, stands at the forefront of this challenge. With their combined expertise spanning nearly two decades in energy, buildings, and technology, their mission is bold: retrofit one million homes by 2030, thereby removing the complexities homeowners face in improving their home's energy performance.
Becky Lane, co-founder and CEO of Furbnow said, "Everyone deserves a warm, comfortable home without costly bills, and yet 11.7 million homes sit at the D energy rating or less. Sadly, energy efficiency has been the poor relation to the low-carbon technologies that grab headlines. But if your home is cold and draughty, no amount of Co2 savings is going to be better for you. We're building Furbnow to be the go-to platform for homeowners who want advice and support as they plan and install low-carbon technologies and energy-efficiency elements in homes. "
Matt Seden, Chief Strategy Officer at Nesta, said: "Homeowners are increasingly interested in making their homes more climate-friendly, especially if they can save on their energy bills at the same time and still stay warm all year. Furbnow simplifies a retrofitting process that can otherwise be surprisingly complex and laborious with end-to-end expert support, making it easy and convenient for homeowners. From its beginnings as a Mission Studio concept, Furbnow is now an innovative tech startup in its own right, with the potential to help decarbonize a million homes and accelerate the UK's path to net zero."
Jason Druker, Portfolio Manager at SFC Capital, added: "Retrofitting is a strong investment theme at the moment, and rightly so, given its influence on getting us to Net Zero and its potential impact on the cost of living crisis. Nearly half the emissions that cause climate change come from our offices, shops, schools, and, more critically, from our homes. Furbnow can be an influential solution and is at the forefront of making retrofitting more accessible and affordable for households. We are excited to be working with them and supporting their journey."
Alex Bakir, GP, Norrsken Accelerator, said: "Improving the efficiency of our building stock has been the elephant in the room in climate change discussions for decades. For the first time, Furbnow is bringing a holistic approach to the problem space, with a leadership team that knows the sector inside out and is deeply committed to fixing it".
Furbnow's approach is as innovative as it is necessary. Utilizing cutting-edge digital twin technology, the company creates virtual models of homes. This technology enables them to simulate and evaluate a variety of energy and carbon-saving solutions, from heat pumps and insulation to solar panels, tailoring the best strategies for each home. Their collaboration with green tech providers is a game-changer, ensuring homes become more efficient and contribute to an enormous environmental impact.
The partnership with Birmingham City Council's Route to Net Zero team, slated for early 2024, is a testament to Furbnow's potential. This trial aims to enhance the energy efficiency of homes ineligible for grant funding, demonstrating Furbnow's commitment to inclusive and widespread environmental progress.