“While we might have got the same angel funding without SETsquared, it would have taken longer to find investors, and SETsquared gave us an acceleration factor. We already knew some people, but others in the Bath VC community came via SETsquared – by reaching more people, it becomes about critical mass.”
Pete Bishop, founder and chief technology officer, PowerOasis

Fast facts 

  • Start date: 2007
  • Website: www.power-oasis.com
  • Market sector: telecoms
  • Location: BathPowerOasis solar panel
  • Investment raised: multi-million pounds
  • Number of employees: 50

SETsquared support 

  • Investment showcase
  • Networking
  • Premises
  • Collaboration with university students

Company overview:

PowerOasis supplies power solutions for wireless network operators, which enable them to cope with unreliable power, or to supply mobile phone base stations away from the main grid. Its solutions often take advantage of renewable energy.

What was the vision for the company and what problem were you aiming to solve?

 “As part of work I was doing with students, I was looking at the concept of using renewable energy in a telecoms environment and it became apparent to me there was a market opportunity  - which led to me setting up PowerOasis.”

Company successes:

2008: £300K angel funding
2009: £700K investment from MTI
2009: contract wins with Tier 1 OEMs, including Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson
2010: network deployment with Digicel PNG in Papua New Guinea
2011: £4.5m investment from MTI, OCP, YFM
2013: B round funding from MTI, OCP, YFM, Jabil

SETsquared support:

“SETsquared was most beneficial to us in the first stages of PowerOasis. I was already working with SETsquared over several years before even thinking of the concept behind the company.”
“The benefits we got from SETsquared included initial guidance on how to set the company up, introductions to some of the angels in the Bath area, and premises for the first year.”
“SETsquared helped us with aspects of running the company such as having employment contracts, articles of associations and non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) drafted. Having legally approved templates available for all of those items was a big help.”
“Partnerships have been important for us. You can’t do everything yourself, and we partnered with other technology companies early on.”
“SETsquared’s guidance was helpful in forming the company, and in getting access to grant funding. Half the time it’s difficult to know what grants are available and how to apply, so having SETsquared to provide that information was beneficial.”
“We got a grant through SETsquared of two or three thousand pounds to develop a business plan, and then we got a grant from the Carbon Trust which ended up giving us about twenty-five thousand pounds.”
“From there we took our business plan out to the Bath angel community, who were quite well connected to SETsquared, and completed the first round of funding of several hundred thousand pounds. Being part of SETsquared gave us credibility with the angels as well as introductions.”

Future plans:

“All our initial deployments were in South East Asia, but now we’re moving into North America and Africa. Beyond that, the big untouched market is South America, but that’s not on the plans for a while. We’ve been quite selective about where we chose to operate so we don’t spread ourselves too thinly.”