Lemon: green energy startup for SMEs raises BRL 60 million with Kaszek
- June 23, 2022
- No Comment
Company founded in 2019 connects small businesses to sustainable energy providers across the country
the startup Lemon Energy was designed to solve two pains dear to entrepreneurs from the country. The first of them is the fixed cost related to the electricity, an account that follows price fluctuations and often weighs on the pocket of the entrepreneur who literally needs to keep lights on and equipment, such as refrigerators, working. In terms of savings, Lemon’s proposal is to reduce energy costs by up to 20% per year for these companies.
On another front, climatetech was also born to serve SMEs concerned with their impact on the environment, serving a wave of entrepreneurs engaged in the cause of sustainability.
For this, Lemon Energia works as a marketplace for renewable energy for small companies, facilitating the connection between these enterprises and generators of electricity from essentially clean matrices, such as solar, wind, biogas and small hydroelectric plants. Since 2019, the year in which it was founded, the startup from São Paulo has conquered 3,000 customers and started to serve, in addition to São Paulo, the states of Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Distrito Federal, Mato Grosso do Sul and Pernambuco.
In Lemon’s business model, the relationship between the merchant and the energy distributor is little affected, and taxes and fees continue to be paid to these companies, which vary by region. The startup is responsible for passing on the amounts received to the generating companies. For the customer, the change is in the energy matrix received, with the guarantee of clean sources.
In Lemon’s projections, since it was founded, the startup has helped entrepreneurs to save around BRL 4.3 million on electricity bills.
In addition to small companies, the proposal has also attracted major investors. This Wednesday, Lemon Energia concluded a fundraising of R$ 60 millionin a series A round led by Kaszek Ventures, one of the most prominent venture capital funds for startups in Latin America. In addition to Kaszek, the Lower Carbon Capital, dedicated to startups with an environmental impact. This is the first time the fund has invested in a Brazilian company.
Some angel investors like Kevin Efrusy (one of the first investors in Facebook and Groupon), and Sergio Furio, CEO and founder of Creditas also decided to be part of Lemon’s series A.
“It was time to capitalize on the company,” says Rafael Vignoli, CEO and co-founder of Lemon. “For this, in addition to capital, it was time to bring smart money to the company, with investors with some experience in technology and an interest in sustainability”, he explains.
Being open to funds traditionally linked to the decarbonization agenda is also a chance to follow a trend that is already gaining strength abroad, according to Vignoli. “In Silicon Valley, for example, there are players who already consider climate issues as a fundamental part of the thesis and, more than that, there is already the perception that it is not possible to leave Brazil out of this conversation”, he says.
Lemon across the country
A long-standing partnership with the brewery ambev already takes renewable energy to commercial establishments across the country. By 2023, the manufacturer’s intention is to connect more than 50,000 distributors to renewable sources through Lemon.
Now tested, the partnership model must be replicated by the startup with other players, especially regional ones. The same logic of regionalization will also base the startup’s endeavor in search of new generators, in an attempt to reach more SMEs across the country.
“Now that we have learned to operate in this channel, we are going to look for more clean energy generators throughout Brazil, with a very regional perspective”, says the CEO. The focus is on smaller cities with great energy potential outside the big capitals.
The intention is to be, by the end of the year, in more than 10 markets, establishing partnerships with the main distributors in each one of them. Also by December, Lemon wants to have good representation in the North and South of the country, in addition to doubling the number of customers.
“What we see today in the energy market is what happened in the financial market 10 years ago: changes in regulation, few players dominate the subject and there is still no company that brings technology to disrupt this environment. We want to be that company and use technology for that”, says Luciano Pereira, one of the founders of Lemon.
To account for this growth, the company will use the contribution to improve its technological side. The idea is to hire data specialists, programmers and developers capable of improving the platform for the creation of new products as new opportunities arise in the energy market. At least 40 vacancies must be opened in 2022.