Helen Ventures said it has invested into Bergen-based snow forecasting startup Think Outside, which offers hydropower companies more accurate information of the quantity of water stored in the snow, helping them in optimising the energy production.
Think Outside was founded in 2017 with the vision to transfer cutting-edge oil industry technology and know-how into new markets. It focuses on advancing geoscience in the snow industry, by introducing new sensor technology and methodology to achieve novel and detailed data about the snow for the hydropower industry, ski industry, infrastructure, and governmental agencies.
“Climate change is expected to significantly increase the variability in the amount of snow and meltwater, which will have a direct impact on the production of hydropower companies,” Helen said in a statement.
Helen Ventures, the corporate venture arm of Finnish utility Helen, joins existing investors, which include among others Butterfly Ventures, Techstars and Luminate.
The focus markets of Think Outside’s technology are Nordic and Alpine regions with a high prevalence of snowfall and spring snowmelt.
“The team of Think Outside has successfully developed their business model and found an angle that is relevant to the energy sector. Their technology is a novel approach in estimating meltwater volumes and hence impacting production volumes of hydroelectric power plants, ” said Terhi Vapola, VP of Helen Ventures.
Typically, the production forecasts are complemented with the analysis of historical averages for example over the last 30 years. Due to the climate change and the extreme weather patterns it causes, the variation in the amount of snow and meltwater is expected to increase, which makes the historical data modelling increasingly inaccurate or even incorrect.
Therefore, there’s a growing need for hydropower operators to have more accurate information on snow water equivalent quantities and snowmelt in their catchment area to reliably forecast water volumes and meet the demand for renewable energy.
Helen Venture, the 50-million-euro corporate venture capital arm of Helsinki’s energy firm Helen Ltd., is investing in the most innovative and transformative European startups in the energy, e-mobility, circular economy, decarbonization and digital solutions space.