A partnership combining expertise in tech and sustainability has been formed to create a new renewable energy app that aims to be the first of its kind in the UK.
The partnership, between renewable energy start-up Swarm and Opencast, aims to help make homeowners’ lives easier and greener.
The Swarm app, developed by its team of hardware and energy experts, will allow people to optimise how and when energy is used around the home. It will integrate with a home’s smart devices – like electric vehicle charge points and solar panels – regardless of their brand. The app will support people’s transition to electric homes, and offer stability for consumers in times of volatile energy prices.
Opencast will work with Swarm to develop its technology and help grow the new business. Opencast chief executive Tom Lawson has joined the board of Swarm to support its growth – and the company is adding a team of 14 of its people including developers, solutions architects, accessibility designers and user researchers – to accelerate progress.
Opencast chief financial officer James Hodgson explained: “We’re partnering with Swarm through an innovative and flexible financing model that will allow it to accelerate the delivery of its technology in a rapidly evolving sector. Not only will this model help Swarm get to market more quickly and with a better product – it will also allow both organisations to share in its future success through equity participation.”
Both firms are based at Hoults Yard in Newcastle, where demonstration and testing of the new app will take place in a purpose-built energy hub.
With a team approaching 500 people, Opencast works to make life better through the power of people and technology – and its vision is to make a positive impact through sustainable, fairer solutions for all. It supports clients in government and business, offering services including digital customer experience, and product and service innovation. The new partnership follows previous joint work with the Swarm team.
Welcoming the partnership, Opencast chief executive Tom Lawson said: "We’re pleased to be working with Swarm as it starts on its journey to improve consumer access to renewable energy. As a business, Opencast is committed to delivering social impact - and leveraging our core capabilities and resources to support the delivery of future energy models and the green transition.
“Investing in start-up development through our people is a first for us – and we think that combining our expertise can create something both brilliant and important. The new Swarm app will offer consumers much-needed support in their transition to electric homes at a time of volatile energy prices.”
Swarm co-founder and chief technology officer Anthony Piggott said: “There’s a lot of clever technology out there that helps people manage the energy in their homes but, incredibly, there’s nothing in the UK that works with different brands and devices, meaning people can’t currently control all the energy devices across their home in one place.
“We knew we could create something to change this and chose Opencast as our lead partner. With their tech expertise and our knowledge of the energy sector, we have the ability to make something really exciting: one app to control every aspect of energy in the home.”
Swarm co-founder and CEO Dan Martin said: “We founded Swarm to change the balance of power in the energy industry – taking it away from the big energy companies and putting it in the hands of homeowners.
“We want to make it easier for people to switch to sustainable energy and for them to save money on their bills, by generating their own solar power, controlling where and when it’s used in their home, and selling any excess back to the grid.”
The first iteration of the app is planned for launch in autumn 2023. Find out more at swarm.eco/swarm-app
Tech partners (pictured, left to right): Anthony Piggott (Swarm CTO), Stephanie Madeley (Swarm CFO), Dan Martin (Swarm CEO), Tom Lawson (Opencast CEO), Andrew Howard (Opencast client relationship director), James Hodgson (Opencast CFO). Photo by Thomas Jackson @Tynesight Photography