Going digital is high stakes for the world's energy grids. Many operators are about to make once-in-a-generation capex spends, and need to make sure they get it right first time, or get left behind in the race to energy resilience and stability.
The evolution is driven by the arrival of more powerful IoT devices that extract all sorts of data on the health of electricity cables and gas pipelines; whether that's live pressure feedback, methane leak detection or intelligent video feeds to help prevent vandalism.
With its IoT-driven solution, Denmark's OKTO Grid aims to tackle the resilience of electricity transformers, key nodes in the power transfer network that regularly disconnect and leave districts in darkness.
The startup is announcing a €3 million seed round backed by the early-stage investor Rockstart.
OKTO Grid's digitisation software for energy grids allows the operator to upload information from assets without having to take them offline first, saving downtime.
The product is supposed to work "independently" of transformer brand and sub-type, with installation taking "less than 10 minutes."
"To the best of our knowledge, we are unique in the market with this combination," said OKTO Grid CEO Golam Sadeghnia.
"The competitor situation today consists primarily of larger companies that manufacture transformers and energy generators and have the equipment to collect certain types of data.
"They are, however, to a certain extent limited to their own products. Smaller companies offer solutions that are limited to certain transformer types and use technologies that require downtime and significant costs."
Global energy observers foresee electricity usage continuing to soar to new highs through to the end of this decade, driven by the rise of electric vehicles and the electrification of heavy infrastructure, from oil and gas fields to railways to food processing and pulping paper.
OKTO Grid has rallied in the early stages of its growth journey to take up market share in Denmark, Belgium, Italy, Slovenia and Spain, with further European growth planned on the heels of the €3 million seed raise.
Max ter Horst, managing partner at Rockstart, added: "Transformer maintenance and uptime are becoming critical issues for grid operators, given the increased strains on transformers caused by the electrification of the energy system.
"OKTO GRID has developed a patented, state-of-the-art sensor to remotely monitor transformer health, that is easy and safe to deploy.
"We are thrilled to participate in this round, which will provide OKTO GRID with sufficient funding to scale their business as well as an investor base with excellent market access."