• Open Future-accelerated Solum adds Wayra cash to funding pot.
  • Embryonic startup to initiate recruitment drive and go-to-market expansion strategy.
  • Move builds on existing relationship with Telefónica.

Wayra buys into sustainable energy startup Solum

Wayra buys into sustainable energy startup Solum

Source: Solum

Solar energy producer Solum secured an influx of capital from Telefónica’s innovation unit Wayra, as part of a financing round that raised €750,000 (£639,925) for the Sevilla-headquartered startup.

The round was led by social entrepreneurship-focused venture capital player Fondo Bolsa Social, with additional support from Capital Energy, via its corporate venturing arm Capital Energy Quantum, and private investor Toni Vera.

Specific contribution levels were not disclosed, although Wayra is known to offer emerging startups investments of up to €250,000 (Telefónicawatch, passim).

Solum was advised on the transaction by Pablo Campos, a funding strategist and “growth mentor”.

The startup said the financing will support recruitment and technology development. It will now roll out its flagship SSZ Solar Floor product, a solar-powered e-scooter charging station, in the “main Spanish cities”, having already done so in Sevilla.

A further desire, according to Solum Chief Executive Carlos Rodríguez, is to expand internationally, with France and Italy earmarked as target destinations.

Solum, founded in 2019, is currently involved in a project that is seeing custom-designed solar “tile” charging stations attached to “payphone booths”, including Telefónica-branded kiosks, in Spain. Its patented “solar floor” technology can be laid in open spaces within urban environments to supply electricity to, for example, shopping centres and inner-city universities.

Solum first engaged with Telefónica via a 2019 accelerator programme at El Cubo, Telefónica Open Future’s incubator hub in Sevilla. One year later, the startup was enrolled in the V Edition of the Group’s Sustainable Innovation Initiative (SII), through which it received funding of up to €30,000 and tailored mentorship from Telefónica business units (Telefónicawatch, #138). SII is focused on developing ideas that create value for the Group.

Telefónica España is already actively targeting the renewable energy solutions market and has launched a solar panel product line for its customers in Alicante, Murcia, and Valencia (the fruit of a partnership with utility Investigacion y Desarrollo Nuevas Alternativas). This endeavour flows into a wider Group aim of helping customers “avoid” five million tonnes of carbon emissions per year in its “main markets” by 2025 through the release a portfolio of Eco Smart products and services.

Additionally, Telefónica recently signalled intent to more closely engage with its partner ecosystem on internal energy-saving initiatives, as it pursues a more sustainable business model.