Hayden Wood, the former cofounder of collapsed energy firm Bulb, has launched a new startup designed to up the climate credentials of the UK’s housing stock.
Speaking at the Sifted Summit about launching a new company after Bulb, Wood says: “Failure is a very expensive, but very powerful feedback mechanism.”
Wood’s new startup Beams runs a marketplace connecting consumers with contractors, aiming to make it easier for people to up the climate credentials of their homes.
The company has secured a seed round — an undisclosed amount — from Firstminute Capital and Giant Ventures, the London-based VC firm where Wood has worked as a venture partner since 2022.
“When we were at Bulb, we wanted to help lower our customers’ bills, and the best way to do that was to get them to use less energy,” Wood says.
“We were trying to help people make their homes more energy efficient and we discovered that it’s extremely hard to do that. There’s a lot of friction around home renovation.”
UK government statistics from 2022 show that 17% of carbon emissions come from energy use in residential buildings.
Part of Beams’ process involves an energy assessment of the customer’s home and working out how they could benefit from things like wall and roof installation and installing a heat pump or heat recovery system.
“It’s an enormous market. So many startups are focused on making buildings more energy efficient by building new buildings; we wanted to address the existing housing stock,” Wood says.
Reflection on Bulb
Wood founded Bulb in 2015. It was at one point the UK’s fastest-growing startup before becoming the largest startup casualty of the energy crisis. Much of the criticism in the aftermath of its collapse was centred on the cost of the government bailout for the UK taxpayer.
Wood, who has given only two interviews since Bulb’s collapse, also says that he’d been buoyed by the fact that the cost of the bailout was not as much as was believed at the time.
“One thing that has come out in the last few months is that the administration of Bulb did not cost the UK taxpayer what people thought it was going to,” Wood says.
Wood points to a number in a government hearing earlier this year, where it was said that the government made a $1.2bn profit from its ownership of Bulb.
The Bulb alumni
Alongside Wood, several other former Bulb employees have gone on to form new companies. Wood’s cofounder, Amit Gudka, now runs Field, an energy storage startup. Field, backed by Plural and LocalGlobe, raised a £200m round in July this year.
Other companies from former employees include Axle, a startup working on an API to connect energy assets, and Haven, a Los Angeles-based company working on residential battery storage systems.
There is also Zoa, a company that was created after Bulb went into administration and which licenses out Bulb’s consumer tech platform to other energy companies.