Saturday, September 23, 2023

Digital twin startup Neara builds $20 million Series B

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Utilities digital twin tech startup Neara has raised $14 million in a Series B.

The round was led by Kim Jackson’s Skip Capital, with Series A backer Square Peg Capital reopening the wallet, plus OIF.

It follows an A$7.25 million Series A in 2021, bringing total capital raised to A$27.25 million.

The SaaS platform will use the funds to expand its global presence, especially in the US, and expand its platform functionality, including into new industries. The company plans to double its US workforce in the next six months.

Neara solves the biggest problems facing utilities, including an increasingly unstable climate, extreme weather events and commitments to scale up renewable energy generation.

Software engineer Daniel Danilatos founded Neara in 2016. It uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to create a dynamic “digital twin” – a virtual model of an infrastructure network. The software can be used to design or redesign parts of the network, analyze potential risks and manage physical assets with an advanced physics and engineering engine.

Those digital models enable utilities to prepare for and be more resilient to weather events, as well as enable the complex technical analysis needed to optimize existing networks and integrate renewable energy sources much more efficiently and effectively.

Local energy companies such as Essential, Endeavor and Ausgrid are customers and since Series A, Neara has built digital solutions for several US utilities, testing a range of digital solutions. With its Series B, it will accelerate its growth across the country to help more network operators affected by the ever-increasing power outages caused by the weather and aging infrastructure.

Neara’s chief commercial officer Jack Curtis said critical infrastructure is under pressure from annual weather events such as floods and fires.

“The utilities sector spends billions physically assessing and maintaining their obsolete assets, while also trying to figure out how to integrate renewable assets,” he said.

“Our platform enables a holistic approach to address these key challenges, while making significant strides in cost savings, safety and reliability for our customers and the communities they serve. This new funding will accelerate our ability to address the same challenges on an international scale.”

Luke Jenner, Essential Energy’s chief operating officer, said Neara’s solution has made them more agile in making decisions.

“In a changing climate where we are already seeing the effects of unprecedented natural disasters hitting our customers, our team can now use digital twin modeling to assess scenarios across the network and determine how resilient our network assets are under varying environmental conditions and stress. , ” he said.

“This allows us to predict network reliability and balance our customers’ performance expectations with the investments required to achieve network resilience.”

Jenner said the company’s asset management team uses advanced digital twin modeling techniques, powered by Neara, to identify and prioritize tree management to reduce the risk of wildfires.

“As momentum for the clean energy transition builds, we are now able to model our network capacity with the aim of identifying the optimal placement for renewables, and minimizing network upgrades to enable new connections,” said he.

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