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Former Bulb boss Hayden Wood joins UK VC — and plans to build a new energy company

Wood told Sifted he's working on "something at the intersection of technology, climate and property.” 

By Freya Pratty

Hayden Wood, the former cofounder and CEO of collapsed British energy startup Bulb, is joining London-based Giant Ventures as a venture partner, another in a steady stream of former European founders making the leap to the investment world. 

As an investor, Wood says he’s particularly interested in consumer businesses, as well as opportunities in carbon markets, electric vehicles and carbon removal tech. 

“I want to find, help and learn from great companies and founders. I’ve worked with some excellent investors in the past and seen the impact they have on the companies they back,” he says.

Venture partner is often a title given to professionals who join a VC firm to work with a limited scope, often as they figure out next steps in their career. In Wood’s case, that next step involves collaborating with Giant to build a new company. Wood told Sifted that the company will be “something at the intersection of technology, climate and property”. 

The global energy crisis and Bulb

Wood cofounded Bulb in 2015, with the aim of supplying cleaner energy to homes across the UK. The company raised from VCs like DST Global and JamJar, and in 2020 was crowned the UK’s fastest growing startup by the Financial Times.

But soaring energy prices forced the company into administration in November last year, raising questions about startups’ abilities to disrupt price-sensitive markets like energy. Bulb’s billion-pound taxpayer bailout was the biggest UK government intervention since it supported banks in the 2008 financial crisis. 

Former founders jump into energy

Wood says he still believes startups can disrupt the energy market.

“Volatility and regulation can make life challenging for startups but innovative, fast-paced companies are still finding new ways to serve customers and grow,” he says.

He’s not the only big name founder or operator who believes in the sector’s potential. 

Earlier this month, former Revolut big cheese Alan Chang announced he’d raised $78m for his Web3 energy startup Tesseract, saying he wants to disrupt the energy market in the same way the neobanks shook up the banking sector. 

In a similar vein, Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak has set up Efforce, a startup based in Malta working on blockchain tokens linked to energy efficiency projects.  

Wood’s former Bulb cofounder, Amit Gudka, has also started a new company, Field, which is working on battery storage technology. Field received funding from Giant before Wood joined the investor. 

Freya Pratty is a reporter at Sifted. She tweets from @FPratty and writes our climate tech newsletter you can sign up here

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