Startup Spotlight: Thermondo knows how to scale

Thermondo shows us what happens when clean tech startups scale. Big time. Founded in 2012, the company is the German market leader in the planning, financing and installation of heating system for residential customers. It employs close to 280 people across 50 cities in Germany. So far Thermondo managed to help over 5,000 house owners to cut their co2 emissions by 30-100% by replacing their old heating system with a modern efficient unit. In this way, Thermondo already saved over 11,000 tons of co2. Thermondo received 37 million USD in venture capital from prominent investors like E.ON, Holtzbrinck Ventures and Rocket Internet. E&Y and KPMG named Thermondo the 5th and 7th fastest growing start-up in Germany in 2015 and 2016 respectively. It is a Global Cleantech 100 company, selected by Cleantech Group. It was a finalist at the German Energy Awards 2015 hosted by Handelsblatt and at the Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 by E&Y. Berlin’s leading daily newspaper Tagesspiegel, named Thermondo one of the most 100 influential companies of Berlin.  

Pretty impressive, isn’t it? In advance of our Award we spoke to Philipp Pausder about energy transition, energy ecnomy and the cleantech startup ecosystem.

Describe your product and its history! What is your unique value proposition and your business model?

In March 2011 the world changed radically. The nuclear accident in Fukushima led Chancellor Angela Merkel to declare a new era in the energy sector. To us it became clear: We had to make our contribution. By simplifying the process of retrofitting heating systems we enable house owners to quickly to switch to more efficient solutions and make their contribution to the “Energiewende” by reducing co2 emissions. Why heat for residential customers? Because it is the largest segment of the German energy market and it is badly served.

What is your vision in regards to the future of the energy economy? And how does your product contribute to this future?

Thermondo is built on the vision “less than 2 degrees”, actively fighting climate change by bringing better and simpler services to the market at scale. We believe in a deep vertical integration by bringing together software engineers, marketers and technicians in order to serve millions of homeowners better in a rapidly changing energy market place. The energy world becomes distributed. The world becomes smart. The power plants of the future will be in our roofs and in our basements. With our services we show people that everyone can be part of the energy transition.

What are, in your opinion, the key challenges of the energy transition in general, and what are they specifically for your startup?

The residential heat market has a volume of 12 billion EUR in Germany. This is remarkable, since only around 3 percent of heatings are being retrofitted in Germany every year. This ratio needs to increase to approx. 6% to hit CO2 reduction targets. There are a lot of obstacles for house owners on the way to increasing efficiency. Such as a highly fragmented market, lack of transparency in the prices, lack of information about new and efficient technologies like the fuel cell, lack of support when it comes to applying for state subsidies. We are in the process of solving these problems by digitizing and optimizing processes. Today 55% of our customers receive subsidies thanks to our expertise.

So, what we need is a) more awareness about energy efficiency. And b) more consumer-oriented and simple solutions, more one-stop-shop solutions.

Where are you based, and who are the key innovation drivers in the energy ecosystem in your region?

We are based in Berlin and offer our services all over Germany. Our installers are located in over 50 cities around Germany. Berlin is obviously the center of the start-up ecosystem in Germany. Munich and Bavaria feature a couple of strong cleantech start-ups like Tado and Sonnen. Dresden is probably the hidden gem with Kiwigrid, Sunfire and others. Most importantly, we all know each other and we talk.

Which results for your startup do you expect from the Tech Festival by DENA in March 2017?

I firmly believe that the future energy markets are shaped by a different breed of players than those that shaped the past. I expect to meet many of those at the Tech Festival.

Thermondo GmbH, based in Berlin, was founded in 2012 by Philipp Pausder, Florian Tetzlaff and Kristofer Fichtner. The company is the German market leader in heating installations for residential houses with 280 employees across Germany. Thermondo is committed to actively advancing the energy transition with customer-oriented, innovative and environment-friendly solutions.

E&Y and KPMG named Thermondo the 5th and 7th fastest growing start-up in Germany in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Thermondo is a Global Cleantech 100 company, selected by Cleantech Group.

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