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Oxfordshire: Foresight and Williams invest £1.6m in university spin-out

By Dan Teuton
10 December 2019

Foresight Group and Williams Advanced Engineering are investing £1.6 million in Oxford University spin-out Mixergy, which is set to revolutionise the global hot water tank market and reduce the cost of energy for consumers.

Mixergy was founded in 2014 by Peter Armstrong, CEO, and Ren Kang, head of R&D, following the completion of their PhD research at Oxford University where the duo originally developed the idea during their doctoral research. The team has since grown to 17 staff and built strong relationships with British Gas, a major installer of tanks.

The company brings innovation to an industry which has historically seen little investment or development; existing solutions mean that a conventional domestic hot water tank can consume as much energy as a small car in a year. It has developed an internet connected, smart hot water tank which looks to address current inefficiencies while also providing additional value-add services for users.

The technology inherent in Mixergy’s product range will give consumers greater control and oversight of their hot water systems, and a tank that heats up five times faster than a traditional tank. It also has energy efficiency advantages due to its unique ability to heat only the amount of water required, saving customers using electricity up to £150 a year on their energy bills as a result of heat loss reduction and better utilisation of time of use tariffs whilst saving gas customers up to 15% on gas associated with domestic hot water production. If rolled out across the UK’s fleet of hot water tanks, Mixergy’s technology would save almost 11GWh of energy per day, equivalent to the typical output of a 1GW power station.

Mixergy is poised to benefit from Foresight’s experience in facilitating the growth of early-stage companies and Williams’ expertise in product development and manufacturing, in fields such as electronics and computational fluid dynamics.

The growth capital investment will be used to roll out its products across the UK and to bolster its international growth strategy, as well growing the team based at its Oxford head office.

Chris Wiles, Senior Investment Manager at Foresight, said: “We are very impressed with Mixergy’s vision of developing a better hot water tank which saves customers energy whilst also facilitating the uptake of intermittent renewable generation. We look forward to supporting Mixergy in the coming years with the roll out of its products across the UK, Europe and North America.”

Peter Armstrong, CEO of Mixergy, added: “Mixergy is thrilled to have Foresight and Williams on board as we expand our supply chain into new markets. The team has been a real pleasure to work with throughout the run-up to this investment and has already delivered valuable inputs to our strategy. We look forward to delivering on our ‘Internet of Tanks’ vision together over the coming years.”

Matthew Burke, head of technology ventures at Grove-based Williams Advanced Engineering, added: “We are delighted to support Mixergy’s growth plans with this investment. Energy efficient performance is at the heart of what we do at Williams Advanced Engineering and Mixergy’s smart hot water tank technology is a great example; heating up faster while using less energy, improving efficiency and reducing cost to the customer; all whilst benefiting the environment.”