Shares in energy tech startup Buddy Platform have skyrocketed 300% in 6 months

Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Shares in ASX-listed energy tech startup Buddy Platform have climbed from 6 cents in April to 24 cents thanks to global distribution deals with telcos.

The company, which last hit headlines in March for the launch of its flagship product Buddy Ohm, had Microsoft as a seed investor before reverse listing on the ASX in late 2015.

Sales of Buddy Ohm, a system of connected sensors and devices installed in commercial buildings to monitor, analyse, manage and reduce energy use, has developed considerable momentum in the six months since.

“The reason we’ve gone from 6 cents to 24 is because we’ve distributed the product through the first major channels,” said Buddy founder and chief David McLauchlan.

“In the Caribbean, it’s through the largest telco in the territory – 70% plus market share.”

McLauchlan told Business Insider that telcos find connected devices attractive because it encourages higher ongoing use of their mobile networks.

“It’s absolutely perfect for them. There isn’t a carrier in the world that isn’t interested in putting more stuff on their network that they can monetise,” he said.

“The worst way for them to monetise is sell you a SIM card for you to put your [device] on. If they can sell you the thing, and they can monetise that on a monthly basis, happy days. That’s why this has been successful.”

Buddy Platform’s David McLauchlan holding up a Buddy Ohm base unit. (Source: supplied)

The Caribbean, according to McLauchlan, is a particularly relevant market for energy conservation gadgets because of the confluence of high cost of electricity and massive energy consumption at tourist resorts.

With Canadian building managers also facing massive power bills due to heating demands, a telco deal in that country will be wrapped up this month.

McLauchlan told Business Insider that Australia, too, suffers from high electricity rates – pointing out the cost is “irrationally high” considering the abundance of sunlight and wind in the country.

“Natural resources like that should be highly affordable. I believe India has just published a statement that for the first time, for them at least, solar and wind were cheaper to generate than nuclear… Given that, we should be able to power the world almost.”

While Buddy Ohm is already selling directly to building managers in Australia, McLauchlan said he is working on a distribution deal with an unnamed local telco.

Globally, Buddy Ohm has now signed $22 million worth of contracts – and McLauchlan forecasts there will be “multiples of that to come”, with an aim to get the startup into the black by 2019.

“I feel very good about our 2019 commitment to shareholders, but also every chance I get I urge shareholders to remember that we will reinvest at every chance.”

The former Microsoft executive divides his time between the company’s offices in Adelaide and Seattle, and is also a mentor at consultancy Innovyz Start and Australian startup Bluedot Innovation, and a co-founder of events management business Bonza Bash Productions.

Editor’s note: An earlier version mentioned that Lady Gaga was an investor in the company’s seed round. A spokesperson for the singer issued the following statement in response: “Neither Lady Gaga nor any of her affiliated companies ever invested in Buddy Platform. Any representation to the contrary is 100% false.”

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