Fast 50 winner REstore
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What was the biggest challenge your business needed to overcome?
There are lots of startups in the pre-revenue stage. Our challenge was to convert from a tech startup to a scaleup, capable of earning revenue. We did this by working with major energy suppliers from early in our development, and by focusing on specific countries for commercial growth.
What is your strategy for sustaining growth? Our approach has two elements - geographic and product. Expansion into other European countries is leading to fast business growth. On the product side, we’re offering a software-as-a-service model for utilities, allowing them to provide to their customers the same demand response services as we do. This is taking us into more countries, such as the USA.
What is it like to have two CEOs running the business? We’re both co-founders and working in this way is normal for us. We have a proven track record of demonstrating value creation through our complementary skills and backgrounds.
How can the Internet of Things make the power grid greener and smarter? Idle resources are the driver behind many disruptive businesses. For us, the idle resources are power-consuming devices in homes, factories and offices. Previously, power plants would be run to match the demand from these devices, but the IoT enables a move away from this model. As devices become smarter, they can make intelligent use of power, particularly the unpredictable power from renewable resources.
As an example, an electric boiler supplying hot water to a home can take the power it needs when an excess is available, but it’s managed in a way that does not inconvenience the home user. This can become fully carbon-neutral.
Our cultural values are determination, excellence and ownership, and part of our success comes from being focused on them early.

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What’s the most valuable piece of advice you would give to other technology entrepreneurs?
Avoid getting distracted by raising money. Focus on building your business and product - raising money is just a means to an end. Unfortunately, the current hype cycle around startups can make fundraising a distraction.
What’s the single most important lesson you have learned from leading a startup? Focus on cultural values early. In the early days, the focus tends to be external, but as you grow into a scaleup and hire a team, you implicitly expect them to do the job as well as you do. Our cultural values are determination, excellence and ownership, and part of our success comes from being focused on them early.
If you were starting again, what would you do differently? We are passionate about combining value for society with running a business - this we would not change. When you look back, it’s easy to connect the dots, but looking forward means learning through exploring and experimenting.
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REstore – key facts
  • Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 and Clean Technology winner 2016 and 41st on the EMEA Fast 500 ranking
  • In a nutshell: Demand Side Management. REstore is the technology leader for monetizing your flexibility. 1,7 GW of flexible peak load under management
  • Founded: 2010
  • 2,294% revenue growth in the last four years
  • International: Antwerp, Paris, London, Düsseldorf, San Francisco
  • Main customers: National Grid, Elia, RTE
  • Some references: ArcelorMittal, Total, Umicore
  • Website: www.restore.eu
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Fast 50 stories, May 2017
Fast 50 stories May 2017
REstore: Power to the people from the cloud
Truly disruptive innovators don’t just find new solutions, they redefine the problem. For Pieter-Jan Mermans and Jan-Willem Rombouts, the question was how to control demand for electricity without inconveniencing the end-user. The answer is REstore, the company they co-founded and run as co-CEOs. We asked them to explain what REstore does.

What is REstore? REstore is an energy technology company. Our software balances the supply and demand sides of the electricity grid. Historically, supply from power plants has been adjusted in real time to cope with changes in demand; our solution controls demand in real-time in order to match supply.
What are the keys to your success? There are three: a unique and innovative product; a bootstrapped approach to business development; and a strong focus on company culture.
The product is unique. It’s a virtual power plant (VPP) in the cloud, based on data science and complex algorithms. The platform identifies when it can change the power supply to a connected device, whether an industrial machine or a domestic appliance, without having a negative impact on the user. It’s fully automated and can react in seconds.
Our company culture is based on three values: determination, excellence and ownership.
The product is unique. It’s a virtual power plant (VPP) in the cloud, based on data science and complex algorithms.
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Watch the video of REstore