Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Depsys expands smart-grid offering to Singapore

Steve Rogerson
September 4, 2019
 
Smart-grid company Depsys is expanding in Asia-Pacific with the opening of a subsidiary in Singapore. This is the Swiss company’s second subsidiary following the setting up of an office in Germany earlier this year.
 
At the helm of the Singapore office will be Jianjiang Pu, a sales manager with technical and business experience in the energy sector gained at corporations such as Alstom and GE.
 
In fewer than six months, Depsys, a Swiss company specialising in the digitalisation of electrical networks, has opened two subsidiaries. After Essen in Germany in February comes a base in Singapore to meet the needs of distribution system operators (DSOs) in the Asia-Pacific region.
 
With this step, Depsys brings the region its GridEye technology, which is certified to IEC 61000-4-30:2015 class A and was entirely developed by the company’s founders.
 
Under the protection of two international patents, GridEye has been tested and industrialised with Depsys clients, first in Switzerland, and now abroad. Depsys engineers can adjust GridEye to local needs.
 
The purpose of GridEye is to offer DSO decision-makers a toolbox to define and implement the most appropriate plan for an energy transition. DSOs can benefit from securing their investments and opening up opportunities for the creation of business models in producing and exchanging power.
 
GridEye is composed of three elements – hardware, a fully secured IoT platform and applications. The company says in one day it can bring intelligence to an electrical grid. In a month, a DSO can safely make the right decisions to optimise operations, plan upgrades and renewals for the grid, and integrate the necessary volume of distributed energy resources (DERs).
 
Founded in 2012, the company has seen an annual growth rate of more than 100%. The number of employees has reached more than 30 people of 13 different nationalities. It has 30 customers in ten countries and on two continents.
 
A series B financing agreement signed with BNP Paribas and SET Ventures raised €11m.
 
The company is planning to expand from the Singapore hub to create a presence in key regional countries. The story of the Singapore operation started in 2017 with the Free Electrons, a global energy start-up accelerator programme that connects promising start-ups with utility companies. Within the framework of this programme, Depsys got in touch with Singapore Power, which later became its first client in the Apac region.
 
“This first success led us to organise an Asian tour the following year to meet DSOs in different countries like Japan and China,” said Michael De Vivo, Depsys CEO. “These various exchanges have led to on-going engagements with other key market players such as CLP Power Hong Kong.”
 
GridEye is being adopted by four DSOs in the region. Others are showing interest in the technology, which allows the design, operation, monitoring, analysis and automation of any power distribution grid regardless of topology.
 
“Given this interest and after our last round of financing, the creation of Depsys Pte Ltd became obvious," said De Vivo.
 
Pu’s mission is to increase Depsys’s presence and GridEye’s adoption in the Apac territory. He aims to convince regional DSOs that digitalisation of a grid is not as complicated as they imagine.
 
Pu has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Chongqing University and an MBA from Singapore Management University. He has ten years' experience in the energy sector.
 
“Smart grid technology, together with renewables and energy storage, will have significant impact on the energy landscape and are changing the role DSOs play in the grid network,” said Pu. “For DSOs in Asia Pacific who are keen to leapfrog to digitalisation of grids, Depsys is here to enable their vision.”