The startup Installion increased its rating massively in the wake of the energy crisis. Now was the best time for the founders to sell to a Hamburg green electricity provider.

The two Cologne residents Florian Meyer-Delpho (left) and Till Pirnay have sold their startup Installion to a green electricity provider.

For cleantech startups, the high oil and gas prices resulting from the Ukraine war have turned out to be a growth boost: green electricity, heat pumps, solar systems and e-charging stations are more in demand than ever. In addition to the bulging order books, the valuations of the energy start-ups are also increasing rapidly.

Founder Florian Meyer-Delpho calls them the “good winners” of the crisis. With his startup Installion, the Cologne native himself has benefited from the boom in demand: the platform connects energy companies with tradespeople in order to solve the shortage of skilled workers in the assembly of solar systems and battery storage systems. Meyer-Delpho and his co-founder Till Pirnay have now sold their startup founded in 2019. A strategic move as Installion has also increased in value. The founder did not want to comment on the exact sales amount. But it is a “medium, eight-digit amount”. The buyer is the Hamburg-based green electricity provider Lichtblick, which will take over all shares from now on.

New investment “wouldn’t have worked”

The startup has actually been preparing for its Series B round of financing since the end of 2022. A year earlier, the people of Cologne had collected around 3.2 million euros. The previous shareholders, the investment arm of the Dutch energy supplier Eneco and the electricity service provider Enercity from Hanover, again expressed interest in increasing their investment in Installion. With Lichtblick, which has been a subsidiary of Eneco since 2018, another interested party contacted the startup. This presented the founders with a problem: “The constellation would not have worked,” says Meyer-Delpho in an interview with Gründerszene. “Since Enercity and Eneco previously held the same number of shares, Lichtblick would have caused an imbalance as a new investor.”

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The Hamburg company therefore went one step further and made the Cologne company a takeover bid without further ado. “They told us that our platform is so relevant to them that they want to buy us completely,” says CEO Meyer-Delpho about the start-up scene. The serial founder, who had already sold his energy startup Greenenergetic to the Eon subsidiary Innogy in 2019, saw this as an opportunity. The green energy supplier would not only follow a similar vision, but would also bring along potential customers for the assembly of photovoltaic systems and charging stations.

Installion wants to assemble 2,000 solar systems this year

In its core business, Installion mediates orders from energy companies to installation companies for EUR 99 per month. Around 800 B2B customers have registered on the platform. The start-up also has a second mainstay: Installion operates its own craftsmen hubs at a total of twelve locations in Germany, including Hamburg, Leipzig and Nuremberg. The startup has thus hired teams of fitters, roofers and electricians who are equipped with storage space, offices, cars and tools. Installion earns money from the orders that the in-house craftsmen handle. For the assembly and hardware of a solar system, that can be between 10,000 and 12,000 euros.

According to CEO Meyer-Delpho, the order volume has cooled off somewhat compared to April 2022. This year, the company plans to install around 2,000 systems on roofs. Customers include companies such as Vattenfall, Eon and the startup DZ4, which rents out solar systems to private individuals. The new owner, Lichtblick, wants to make more use of the craftsmen’s network for himself in the future.

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Initially, not much should change in the Installion brand. One consideration is to operate crafts hubs as a franchise model in the future. The approximately 180 employees will be taken over.

Managing Director Meyer-Delpho wants to stay on board with Installion for the next three years, he says. “Most founders are aware that they will not bequeath their startup to their own children,” he says. He intends to double sales and the number of systems installed this year. Co-founder Pirnay left the startup operationally in January 2023 and is dedicated to new projects, such as designing a carnival app. In the long term, however, the entrepreneur will be drawn back to the cleantech sector: “My passion is the digitization of the energy transition and that’s what I’m passionate about,” says Pirnay.

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