Foundry Graduate Sero Secures Major Investment From Hodge and Legal & General
Sero, a Cardiff-based energy technology and services company and former FinTech Wales Foundry Accelerator graduate, has secured a £5.5m investment from Welsh business Hodge and leading finance services provider Legal & General to support the transition to net-zero across the residential housing sector in Wales.
The investment will help support Sero in its next stage of growth, as well as its aims to support the delivery of net zero financial products with institutional partners.
Sero develops industry leading digital tools and expertise to design and deliver cost effective low carbon solutions for both new build and existing homes. In November 2020, Sero was one of a major consortium to win £7m Welsh Government funding to roll out the large scale decarbonisation of homes across Wales. Sero has already built nearly 500 new homes and started retrofitting more over 3,000 homes, spread across more than 30 social landlords.
James Williams, Chief Executive Officer at Sero said: “The challenge of upgrading existing housing stock is growing as the urgency of solving the climate emergency becomes even greater. Improving the energy efficiency of our homes can provide long term economic benefit and comfort to residents, as well as reducing carbon emissions. This investment therefore is a huge milestone for Sero as we grow and bring new products to market to help Wales and the UK in its delivery of net zero.
“We set out to find investors that share our vision, and this has been evident from both the Legal & General and Hodge teams from the outset. We look forward to now working together to create strategic opportunities for the business, in particular expanding our presence within new and emerging sectors, such as working with banks and building societies to support the development of green finance products.”
David Landen, Chief Executive Officer at Hodge, said: “I’m delighted to be able to announce Hodge’s investment in Sero. Our homes are one of the largest contributors to the UKs carbon emissions and all new and existing homes will need to evolve to enable us to meet our 2050 net zero carbon target. Sero seamlessly guides people through understanding their own path to net zero as well as supporting them in the steps required to meet that goal.
“Apart from both being proud Welsh businesses, our organisations share a common purpose of making lives and society a better place. We can build a strong partnership to help all customers with this vital part of the UK’s carbon transition. The investment is part of our strategy to invest in exciting technology businesses that have close alignment to both our business and our purpose.”
John Bromley, Head of Clean Energy at Legal & General Capital said: “Housing is a major contributor to carbon emissions, requiring some of the most challenging and immediate overhauls of any sector. We are delighted, therefore, to be investing in a business that will play a major role in putting UK housing on a pathway to net zero. As an energy transition investor, we are aiming to support the scale up of innovative businesses capable of delivering the solutions needed to reduce emissions throughout the economy, and Sero represents another perfect partner for us in this space. As one of Cardiff’s largest employers, with a significant stake-holding in the local area through our £450m Central Square development, we are delighted to be working with the Sero team to grow their business, supporting further job creation in the local area and scaling an innovative Wales-based SME.”
Later this spring Sero will be launching its industry leading Building Passport, a digital app that allows homeowners to gain a greater understanding of the carbon footprint of their home, how they can make it more energy efficient, and track the progress of the home on its pathway to net zero. This follows recommendations last year from the Coalition for the Energy Efficiency of Buildings (CEEB) for developing a standardised framework for Building Renovation Plans in the UK, to enable property owners to access digital information to help inform how they retrofit their home.
This also aligns with the UK Government’s anticipated move towards improving home energy performance through lenders, with building societies and banks able to use the Building Passport to inform the use of green finance products. Sero’s Capture app will be used to log data to understand more about each individual home. This data will then be used to create the digital Building Passport, which will set out the current building status alongside a clear and attainable route to net zero for each home.