Australia's largest mutual NRMA has joined the likes of Commonwealth Bank (ASX: CBA) and Square Peg by investing in Amber, a Melbourne-headquartered retailer with a range of innovations around energy usage and lifting the share of renewables.
The $13.4 million Series B extension follows on from the $20 million secured in May 2021 to support Amber's platform, which gives customers access to real-time wholesale electricity prices and technology that automates devices in the home to use more cheap, renewable power when it’s available in the grid.
Founded five years ago by former Boston Consulting Group colleagues Chris Thompson and Dan Adams, Amber also lets customers sell their excess renewable energy back to the grid at the same price as the big generators earn.
The funding extension will be used to invest in developing SmartShift, Amber's solar battery and EV automation software that enables customers to earn more from their solar batteries and electric vehicles in the energy market.
Amber co-founder and co-CEO Dan Adams says the company has made strides in creating the software and services needed to help people get the most out of their batteries - an effort that has been validated by investors with their continuing support and commitment.
"This year has demonstrated how reliance on coal and gas in our grid has wreaked havoc on Australia’s energy market. This has absolutely reinforced the need to transition Australia to 100 per cent renewables as quickly as possible," says Adams, who is also a former business development manager at Tesla Australia.
"We are delighted to have brought on new investors such as NRMA who can clearly see Amber’s value in supporting electric vehicle owners optimise the charging of their cars - and eventually the capabilities we will build in helping EVs also be utilised as home batteries."
Related stories: CBA partners with Amber to electrify transition to renewables
Square Peg partner Dan Krasnostein says the problem Amber is solving remains "as compelling as ever".
"With the continued investment in SmartShift, Amber will clearly be the best option for Australians with solar batteries and/or EVs," Krasnostein explains.
"What we’ve seen this year alone in terms of energy market volatility and Australia’s reliance on fossil fuels highlights the fact that the sooner we can shift off them and onto renewables, the better.
NRMA's general manager of investments Ainsley Lee describes the latest development as an opportunity to be a part of the energy transition towards renewable energy sources.
"Amber’s value proposition closely aligns with NRMA’s ambition of increasing Australia’s electric vehicle adoptions," Lee says.
After last year's Series B, the Commonwealth Bank planned to integrate Amber into its banking app, while the startup was also intending to steer its customers in the direction of the CommBank Green Loan that provides lower-cost finance for the purchase of household batteries, smart electric vehicle chargers and other smart devices.
"We recognise Amber’s role as a disrupter of the legacy electricity market in Australia. There is no other company doing what Amber is doing in terms of helping Australians get the most value out of their solar energy and home batteries, and soon their EVs," says CBA's general manager for strategy, investments and sustainability, Ben Morgan.
"As Australia’s largest bank, millions of households already trust CBA with their financial future. This is why we are delighted to continue to invest in – and partner with – Amber to help them reach their goal of powering one million Australian households, and working towards our joint mission of enabling the nation’s transition to renewable energy."
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