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PROPTECH-X : Furbnow raises £950k to decarbonise | £86,000 paid out in compensation to tenant

Furbnow raises funds to decarbonise a million properties

Furbnow, the end-to-end home energy efficiency platform, is helping every UK home reach net zero, without the hassle. Today’s investment is led by  SFC Capital and includes funding from Norrsken Accelerator, Daniel Luhde-Thompson, InnovateUK and the Nesta/Founders Factory Mission Studio. It follows the climate-tech firm inclusion in Founders Forum’s European Climate Tech ‘One to Watch’ list .

Two homes per minute needs retrofitting to meet Net Zero targets by 2050. Furbnow fills the void where there’s a lack of support for those wanting to make changes. A pilot with Birmingham City Council is scheduled for early 2024 as part of the local authority’s programme to decarbonise homes in line with their 2030 Net Zero target.

Press Release Birmingham, January 11, 2024: Furbnow, a new UK climate-tech start-up tackling home decarbonisation at scale, has announced a £950k pre-seed investment to bring to market its revolutionary end-to-end home decarbonisation platform to get more homes to Net Zero, without the hassle. The investment comes as Furbnow plans a trial with Birmingham City Council’s Route to Net Zero team in early 2024 to improve the energy efficiency of those households ineligible for grant funding.

SFC Capital led the investment round, with participation from Norrsken Accelerator, and angel investor Daniel Luhde-Thompson. The round also includes a grant from Innovate UK’s Future Economy Investor Partnership and Nesta and Founders Factory’s Mission Studio.

Globally, emissions from homes account for approximately 20% of carbon emissions. In the UK alone, we need to retrofit 2 homes every minute to hit the UK’s target of Net Zero by 2050. Currently, 97% of homes are classed as inefficient and not ready for the Net Zero target and we are off the pace of delivering on the target nationally and globally.

Birmingham-based Furbnow was founded by Becky Lane (energy efficiency industry expert) and Laurence Watson (serial climate tech entrepreneur and data scientist). With almost 20 years  – of experience across energy, buildings and technology, they are on a mission to retrofit one million homes by 2030 by eliminating the hassle from every stage of the home energy improvement process. With customers already undertaking retrofit projects with the help of Furbnow, this latest investment will support the expansion of its supplier network to support customers with insulation, ventilation, new energy generation and low-carbon heating installations in their homes.

“Everyone deserves a warm, comfortable home without costly bills and yet 11.7 million homes sit at the D energy rating or less. Sadly, energy efficiency has been the poor relation to the low-carbon technologies that grab headlines. But if your home is cold and draughty, no amount of Co2 savings is going to be better for you. We’re building Furnow to be the go-to platform for homeowners who want advice and support as they plan and install low carbon technologies and energy efficiency elements in homes,” says Becky Lane, co-founder and CEO of Furbnow.

Furbnow helps homeowners plan their home energy improvement roadmap with a Home Energy Plan and supports the project stage with packages priced to suit every customer. The firm is developing new planning methods to provide robust lower-cost options for the domestic market using building information and energy performance data. It will also be working closely with green finance providers and insurers to provide a full end-to-end service.

Matt Seden, Chief Strategy Officer at Nesta, said: “Homeowners are increasingly interested in making their homes more climate-friendly, especially if they can save on their energy bills at the same time and still stay warm all year. Furbnow simplifies a retrofitting process that can otherwise be surprisingly complex and laborious, with end-to-end expert support, making it easy and convenient for homeowners. From its beginnings as a Mission Studio concept, Furbnow is now an innovative tech start-up in its own right, with the potential to help decarbonise a million homes and accelerate the UK’s path to net zero.”

Jason Druker, Portfolio Manager at SFC Capital added: “Retrofitting is a strong investment theme at the moment, and rightly so given its influence on getting us to Net Zero and its potential impact on the cost of living crisis. Nearly half the emissions that cause climate change come from our offices, shops, schools and more critically from our homes. Furbnow can be an influential solution and is at the forefront of making retrofitting more accessible and affordable for households. We are excited to be working with them and supporting their journey.”

Alex Bakir, GP, Norrsken Accelerator said: “Improving the efficiency of our building stock has been the elephant in the room in climate change discussions for decades. For the first time, Furbnow is bringing a holistic approach to the problem space, with a leadership team that knows the sector inside out, and is deeply committed to fixing it” You can find out more about how you could improve the energy efficiency of your home with Furbnow here.

Furbnow is an end-to-end home energy efficiency platform – helping every home get to net zero, without the hassle. The climate-tech company is backed by SFC Capital, Norrsken Accelerator and CTO of Quadrature, Daniel Luhde-Thompson. They are joining existing investors, Nesta and Founders Factory.

SFC Capital is the UK’s most active seed-stage investor, providing seed capital and support to promising British startups. By combining our leading investment funds with our angel syndicate, we have created a unique model that provides investors with diversified exposure to high-potential SEIS and EIS-qualifying businesses. Since 2012, SFC has invested in over 450 startups and partnered with the likes of British Business Investments to support innovation across all UK regions. To learn more about what we do and see our portfolio, visit sfccapital.com.

Norrsken Accelerator embedded within the Norrsken ecosystem, created by Klarna co-founder Niklas Adalberth, Norrsken Accelerator invests in the top 1% of impact founding teams building scalable businesses to solve the world’s greatest challenges.


£86,000 paid out in compensation to tenant as Landlord was not compliant by one day

While most landlords will be aware of the fact, they are required by law to renew the gas safety certificate for their rental properties every 12 months, many won’t give a second thought to whether the gas certificate is dated the same date that the inspection was carried out.

Compliance Officer of The Guild of Property Professionals, Paul Offley, says that a gas certificate that has a different date to when the inspection occurred, even if it is a day later can potentially cause issues and result in a major fine. He notes that the Gas Safety Regulations stipulates that the gas certificate must be issued on or reflect date of the day of the inspection, or it will be considered invalid.

“There has been a case study where a Gas Safety engineer has gone out to a property, completed the necessary checks and found that there were no gas safety issues with the property. The following day, the Gas Safety engineer filled out the gas safety certificate, unfortunately using a particular software that did not allow them to back date the certificate to the day of the inspection. The gas safety certificate was then issued to all parties concerned as required. Fast forward several months later and the tenant has come to the landlord stating that there is an issue gas safety certificate not being valid, simply due to the certificate not reflecting the correct date,” says Offley.

He continues saying that in this instance, while there was no void period in the tenancy and there were no gas safety issues on the property, the gas safety certificate was regarded as being void because it reflected a different date to the inspection date. “So, what was the outcome? It ended up costing the landlord approximately £86,000 in compensation payments to the tenant and legal expenses. So that one day, made a massive difference to the parties involved,” Offley comments.

“With regard to compliance, it is sometimes the small things that are overlooked; however, these things could potentially carry a lot of weight. A robust document checking process will help eliminate some of the potential issues that could arise and avoid a hefty financial penalty,” Offley concludes.

The Guild of Property Professionals (The Guild)  is a network of 800 of the best independent estate agents from across the UK. The Guild is a sign of professional excellence that agents can use to differentiate themselves from their competitors and assure clients that they will act with knowledge and integrity to achieve results, the three core values of The Guild. To allow agents to perform a superior service, The Guild offers marketing, business and technology services to its members.


Andrew Stanton’s PROPTECH-X ‘Proptech & Property News’ in association with Estate Agent Networking & News Now publications. #proptech #property #realestate #digitaltransformation #startups

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Andrew Stanton CEO of Proptech-PR, a consultancy for Founders of Proptechs looking to grow and exit, using his influence from decades of industry experience. Separately a consultant to some of the biggest names in global real estate, advising on sales and acquisitions, market positioning, and operations. Founder and editor of Proptech-X Proptech & Property News, where his insights, connections and detailed analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are second to none having met 1,000 Proptech founders, critiqued 400 decks and had 130 Proptechs as clients. With an audience of 100K followers & readers, he is best known as being a 'Proptech Realestate Influencer' both shaping and reporting on the digital transformation of the industry.

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