How did you come up with the idea of developing a cloud-based billing platform? The powercloud story was an evolution. Various twists and turns characterized the company’s early years. On our 10th anniversary, we would like to look back at the beginnings and development of powercloud.
When Marco Beicht founded powercloud in June 2012, he initially focused on the sales processes and product management of energy utilities. Marco had previously developed e-commerce solutions for telecommunications companies, and sales and product development were part of his “professional DNA”. It was only fitting then that powercloud’s first product for the energy industry was a solution for calculating bonuses when provider changes occurred. “This was not as easy as it might sound because a lot of energy utilities were not even able to make calculations with differentiated price lists at that time. The IT systems simply didn’t allow it,” Marco explained.
As a result, the first customers of powercloud, mostly energy discounters, had already discovered that invoice processing of complex energy products was a major challenge. It was quickly becoming an added operational cost as well as an obstacle to innovation. Delivery of a smooth invoicing implementation process presented a major opportunity to increase productivity for these energy providers.
Recognizing this opportunity, the developers of powercloud created the basis for a comprehensive billing platform, and this was the foundation to the company’s success. On the one hand, the young start-up had a lot of knowledge about e-commerce, digitization, etc. On the other hand, the first customers were also “new” to the market and open to innovative technological approaches. “Together we were able to purposefully develop a highly productive solution handling market communications, billing and accounting,” Marco confirmed. “These are exactly the critical processes at the heart of any energy utility.”
New shareholders, growing customer base
In 2016, four years after its founding, powercloud was approached by their first major energy utility prospect. Together, they launched a pilot project with powercloud billing technology at the heart of this major green energy brand. It became obvious that powercloud enabled a huge gain in efficiency for energy utilities. From then on, the road to opportunity for powercloud was endless — numerous utilities were opting for the platform.
In 2019, the American investor, General Atlantic, joined powercloud. That year turned out to be a turning point in the company’s history. The number of employees grew above the “magic” number of 50, and the first major customer successfully completed migration to powercloud. “That year represented a real breakthrough. We had finally established ourselves in the market and at the same time created an increasingly powerful solution for the utilities,” said Marco.
In addition to this success, powercloud opened new locations over the years – in Leipzig in 2018 and in Berlin in 2020. Paris, Milan, Madrid and Atlanta soon followed in 2021. However, the pandemic of the last few years has been a challenge for powercloud, just as it has for so many other companies. Nevertheless, powercloud is moving forward and launched the powerApp Store in 2020 – a major step that allows the entire digital infrastructure of energy utilities to be “platformed”. This opens a world of opportunity for energy utilities as it enables them to respond quickly to changing markets and infrastructure, without the need for costly IT integration projects.
powercloud’s solution is not only for large energy utilities. In the past year, municipal utilities have increasingly become the focus of powercloud’s corporate strategy. With regionally anchored utilities forming the backbone of the German energy industry, they have numerous advantages. In addition to classic energy, they offer a differentiated product portfolio that includes consumer products such as thermostats, e-scooters or even annual swimming pool passes. Municipal utilities can, for example, combine a “free” annual pass with a comprehensive e-mobility service and certain electricity rates. “These and similar products can be implemented in just a few steps using the powercloud platform. Regional utilities and municipal utilities have moved into our focus,” Marco confirmed.
A major success in the past year came with the contract award for the implementation of the new Thüga billing platform (TAP). Together with several partners and Accenture as the general contractor, our experts are developing an energy billing platform for a total of 38 municipal utilities and 15.5 million metering points that come together under the TAP umbrella. For the first time, we are developing the powercloud platform not only as a supplier, but also as a network operator.
Finally, there is a new development in the works regarding the growth and future of the company. An IT campus is being built in Achern, which will serve as living and working quarters for around 350 IT and software experts. “This is an essential factor for our future development as we plan to use the campus to attract a lot of talent to Achern, including from abroad,” explained Marco.
10 years of powercloud
In the most recent years, we have created ideal conditions for the continued success of powercloud. We have grown from a small start-up in the Black Forest to a 350-strong market leader in Germany, with our first customers abroad. At the same time, we are working continuously with our partners to further develop and optimize powercloud.
10 years of powercloud, over 10 million end customers on the platform, and over 11 billion euros in billing revenue on our platform. It doesn’t really feel like 10 years have gone by – that’s probably because our journey has only just begun.