Centrica plc has today announced the creation of a new venture ‘Centrica Innovations’ (CI), that will identify, incubate and accelerate new technologies and innovations, thereby creating new options for growth and embedding innovation across the company.
The establishment of CI will bolster the company’s customer-focused strategy and strengthen its ability to identify and invest in the technologies and innovative ideas that can deliver new products, offers and services for customers.
CI will be complementary to and support existing businesses within Centrica, including those such as energy supply, services, Connected Home, Distributed Energy & Power and the Digital Technology team. We will look to invest up to £100 million over the next five years in start-ups giving us access to technology and entrepreneurial capability and resources. This builds on what we have already achieved through Ignite, our existing £10m social entrepreneurship fund, which began funding enterprises in 2014, and will now sit within CI. CI will be led by Charles Cameron, Centrica’s Group Director of Technology and Engineering.
Centrica Innovations will focus on:
- Placing scouts in key technology hubs – Seattle, Houston, London, Cambridge, Tel Aviv;
- Delivering a new venture fund to invest in start-ups;
- Incubating and accelerating in-house and external innovations;
- Embedding an innovative culture across Centrica.
CI will also support existing in-house ventures, such as Io-Tahoe™, a data lake software and services company that allows organisation and management of data from multiple structured and unstructured databases to help unlock insights from British Gas’ 14 million energy customer accounts, accelerating development by providing tools and methodologies to support rapid growth. It will also act as an ‘incubator’ for external ventures which are not yet at a maturity level for investment and require different types of support, for example business expertise, mentoring or product piloting.
Iain Conn, Group Chief Executive, Centrica said:
"The launch of Centrica Innovations is an important step in identifying and responding to the changing needs of our customers. The new venture will ensure innovation is embedded across our business and will allow us to invest in the technologies that can support our customers into the future. We are already investing £1.2bn to 2020 in our Connected Home and Distributed Energy and Power businesses, helping residential and business customers to take control of their energy and save money.
“As the UK’s leading energy supplier, we have a proven track record in harnessing new technologies for the benefit of our customers. As the Government launches an Industrial Strategy with technology and R&D at its heart, Centrica is focused on delivering a smarter energy future for the UK.”
More information can be found at www.centrica.com/innovation.