Münchner Energiesoftware-Start-up überzeugt namhafte Geldgeber

DThe young Munich energy software start-up Entrix has been able to attract well-known investors in a financing round. „These are investors who contribute and understand how the industry works. They bring an outstanding industry network and deep industry knowledge. That is worth a lot in our field,“ says 31-year-old founder and CEO Steffen Schülzchen in an interview with F.A.Z. Since its founding in the summer of 2021, a total of around 8 million euros has been raised, with a large portion in the completed round. The company is valued at a small to medium double-digit million euro amount. The company feels well positioned with the financing round and is financially supported in the long term, at least well into the coming year, says the trained business economist.

Ilka Kopplin

Wirtschaftskorrespondentin in München.

Führend war dabei weiterhin Pelion Green Future, hinter dem das Family Office von Rocket Internet-Mitgründer Alexander Samwer steht. Das Family Office ist seit der ersten Stunde als Finanzier an Bord. Darüber hinaus ist auch das Family Office Abacon der Hamburger Familie Büll, die ursprünglich aus dem Immobiliensektor kommt, eingestiegen. Abacon ist wiederum auch großer Anteilseigner am im M-Dax notierten Solar- und Windparkbetreiber Encavis. Außerdem sind das Berliner Solar-Start-up Enpal sowie Kraftwerk Ventures investiert. Hinter Kraftwerk Ventures steht mittelbar unter anderem Benedikt Kormaier. Der ist öffentlich bekannt als Geschäftsführer des aktivistischen Investors Enkraft Capital.

KI steuert die Batteriespeicher

What exactly does the Entrix software do? It is an artificial intelligence-based program that controls large battery storage systems flexibly to market the previously generated electricity at its maximum value on the stock exchange. Until now, battery storage systems typically feed their energy into the grid to compensate for fluctuations and ensure stability. However, according to Schülzchen, this alone is no longer an attractive market today.

The fully automated system directly accesses the customers‘ battery storage. According to Schülzchen, the program also ensures that supply and demand in the power system are better balanced. „We conduct thousands of trades fully automatically every day,“ says Schülzchen. Various factors are included in the algorithm for this purpose. In addition to the characteristics of the storage, such as how much power can be charged and discharged, how quickly, and at what time intervals, the power markets and weather also play a crucial role.

Entrix is registered as an energy trader and currently serves the German and British markets, with plans to expand to other markets in the future. The customers of Entrix are the owners of storage and energy facilities, which can include Family Offices, infrastructure funds, as well as small and medium-sized municipal utilities. In the future, the founder envisions working with additional groups such as industrial companies or photovoltaic installation companies. These are companies that are active or invested in the energy market but do not want to manage the storage themselves. The revenue model involves Entrix receiving a share of the profit margin, without any separate license or usage fees for the software.

Nicht nur müssen Windräder und Solaranlagen vorhanden sein, sondern es ist auch erforderlich, Speichermöglichkeiten zu haben.

„The value of battery storage is becoming clearer. Storage is rapidly gaining momentum as an asset class,“ says Schülzchen. While everyone talks about the expansion of wind and solar energy, corresponding storage capacities must also follow, he says. After all, the wind does not blow constantly and the sun does not always shine. In addition, there is a growing demand for heat pumps and electric cars in the market. Consequently, there will be foreseeable fluctuations in the power system. From Schülzchen’s perspective, storage capacities must also be managed accordingly. And this is where Entrix comes in. „We are at the heart of the energy transition,“ he says.

In a study published in June, the consulting company Aurora, specializing in international energy markets, examined the program of Entrix. The study states that the Entrix algorithms can generate revenues up to 15 percent higher than the standard model that experts had previously used for battery storage. Such data is important for Entrix, as banks also want to know how infrastructure projects will be profitable in the future as financiers.

In dem rund 25-köpfigen Entrix-Team arbeiten Fachleute aus verschiedensten Disziplinen. So war Technologie-Chef Sébastian Schikora früher für die stationären Batteriespeicher von Tesla verantwortlich. Einer der Köpfe hinter dem Algorithmus ist Volkswirt und wurde an der renommierten London School of Economics zu Auktionstheorien promoviert. Auch Mathematiker oder Elektroingenieure sind Teil des noch jungen Teams.

Entrix hat sicherlich auch größere Konkurrenten, wie zum Beispiel Energieunternehmen wie Verbund oder RWE. Es gibt sowohl kleinere als auch größere Spieler, sowohl junge als auch etablierte Unternehmen. Schülzchen betrachtet Entrix jedoch als gut positioniert, da alle Prozesse vollständig intern abgewickelt werden.