Made in Emerging Europe

Made in emerging Europe: VOOL, Ecobean

Emerging Europe’s technology and innovation scene is thriving: new money and new ideas are coming onto the market all the time. To keep you up to date with the latest investments, innovations, events and accelerators, each week Emerging Europe brings you a round-up of the region’s tech, investment and start-up news.

Estonian EV charging start-up VOOL raises 1.7 million euros to start mass production

Estonian electric vehicle (EV) charging start-up VOOL, has closed its seed investment round at 1.7 million euros, bringing its total funding to 4.7 million.

The round was led by Specialist VC and attracted impactful angel investors, including the former president of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid. VOOL’s technology uses the existing grid three times more efficiently without causing an overload, providing reliable and cost-efficient charging for both business and private customers.

“Currently, your dishwasher, charger, and kettle still have access to only a fraction of the full capacity of the grid, even though the whole of Europe is connected to three phases of electricity,” says Juhan Härm, the co-founder and CEO of VOOL. “We use all three phases and automatically switch between them when needed. This way, we can offer reliable and sustainable automatic charging.”    

VOOL’s software tracks electricity prices and ensures that the EV is charged at the lowest cost possible within a set timeframe. “This enables people to save up to 90 per cent on the charging costs,” Härm adds. “Moreover, real-estate developers can avoid additional costs associated with infrastructure upgrades and building new charging spots.”

Kaljulaid, Estonia’s former president, says that she invests in companies that operate in a sector she understands and create real things for which there is a market.

“I do not dare to support solutions that are still trying to find their problem to solve, but there is no such concern with VOOL. The problem – how to get the increasing amounts of energy we need from the plug – is certainly real. You just have to offer better solutions than your competitors,” she says.

With its new funding secured, VOOL plans to ramp up the production of its chargers and expand its reach into new European markets. The company is on track to install 20,000 charging stations by the end of 2023.

Ecobean: Making good use of spent coffee grounds

Ecobean, a Warsaw-based start-up which has developed a technology to reuse coffee waste, recently closed an investment round with EIT InnoEnergy, CofounderZone, CIECH Ventures and angel investors from COBIN Angels.

The investment is a key milestone on the company’s path to building its Ecobean Technology Centre and will help in attracting and accessing talent and paving the way for further global expansion.

“We are the most technologically advanced company in the sector, with a proven logistic solution to fully process spent coffee grounds and transform them into materials needed by various industries,” says Marcin Koziorowski, CEO of Ecobean.

Ecobean – founded by a team of coffee market professionals and scientists from the Warsaw University of Technology – uses ground coffee to make a range of products including barbecue and stove briquettes, which produce more heat and leave fewer ashes than conventional briquettes, biodegradable flower pots, and straws made of lignin extracted from spent coffee grounds. 

“Ecobean proves that developing sustainable technologies and cutting carbon emissions goes hand in hand with creating value for customers, partners and investors,” says Tomasz Goliński, founding partner of CofounderZone.

“We also hope that the company, as a university spin-off, will inspire more scientists to work closely with financial investors, which will contribute to supporting the commercial potential of technologies developed at Polish universities.”

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