Cleantech startup Circadian Technologies recently raised €1.25 million in venture capital, led by BayWa r.e. Energy Ventures. The investor's new Managing Director, Greg Zavorotniy, and Circadian CEO Mike Rosenberg take a look at the latest developments.
You are the new managing director of BayWa r.e. Energy Ventures. What are your goals and plans?
Zavorotniy: Our plan is to further expand the early-stage investment platform, focusing on energy technology companies in the EMEA region. Our goal is to expand our activities in the next 24 months as we see more unique opportunities in the market. We have identified some themes that we will pursue in the coming months, but we are always open to new ideas.
VC Magazine: What does your current portfolio look like? Are you feeling the impacts of geopolitical crises, and how are your startups doing?
Zavorotniy: We have a small but very targeted portfolio of companies playing a role in the energy transition. Most of our companies have grown significantly in recent years despite the challenging geopolitical and economic environment. Overall, the market environment, which continues to impact early-stage companies, is more concerning to us. The companies we have invested in operate in different countries, so we naturally have to keep an eye on a variety of country risks – our most recent portfolio company, for example, focuses on developing markets, particularly the African continent, where political risk is much higher.
VC Magazine: You recently participated in the funding round for Circadian Technologies. What makes this startup exciting from your perspective?
Zavorotniy: I started working in Africa 15 years ago, and we have long discussed the introduction of solar energy on the continent. Circadian's focus on this region and its ability to help various actors in the solar ecosystem scale up PV installations made it a very interesting opportunity. The company's product and project-oriented approach make it a scalable business model.
VC Magazine: With Circadian Technologies, you aim to advance the energy transition in emerging countries. How did this business idea come about?
Zavorotniy: The idea of advancing the energy transition in emerging countries arose from the need to establish sustainable and decentralized energy solutions in regions with limited access to conventional power grids. Africa is a continent with great potential for renewable energy, but there are also many challenges, including unreliable power supply and limited infrastructure. The business idea of Circadian Technologies is based on the belief that digitization can play a crucial role in decarbonization. By using digital technologies, including advanced data analysis and the Internet of Things (IoT), we can improve the efficiency of solar installations, optimize energy consumption, and make grids smarter. This enables sustainable and cost-effective energy generation, especially in rural areas.
VC Magazine: How is Circadian Technologies specifically active in Africa, and what impacts do you expect from the collaboration?
Rosenberg: Circadian Technologies closely collaborates with local partners in Africa to develop tailor-made energy solutions that meet the specific needs of communities. We focus on decentralized solar energy projects that not only provide clean electricity but also strengthen local economic structures. By collaborating with BayWa r.e. Energy Ventures, we not only receive financial support but also gain access to a valuable network and industry-specific expertise. This partnership allows us to scale our activities and make an even greater contribution to decarbonization in Africa.
VC Magazine: What role does digitization play exactly in your projects in Africa?
Rosenberg: Digitization is a key factor in our projects. It enables precise monitoring and control of solar installations to maximize their performance.