For this week’s business Q&A, Kehlan talks with Adrian Kelly from AirSynergy about his business which is based upon green energy and intellectual property.
So what exactly does Airsynergy do?
Well, we’re an intellectual property and patent company that develops renewable energy technology. We’re based in Granard, Co Longford and were established in 2008. I am one of five co-founders and since then we’ve raised approximately €5.5m in investment and have 16 full-time employees, along with more part-time employees too. Right now, the core of the business is wind turbine technology. Our turbines would be next generation wind turbines, a step-up from the ones we’d all be familiar with. Our turbines are smaller, quieter and can operate on low wind speed sites. So they don’t need to go on the coast or on high ground for them to work efficiently.
So, your business model is in design and then the selling of licence agreements?
Basically, we design our products, prototype them, patent them and then find licence partners who buy a licence for a particular region. Aris Renewable Energy in the US and Obelisk Energy in the UK and Ireland are currently operating with us in those markets. So, we help them develop the supply chain and they deal with the end-users, promoting the technology, then delivering and installing it around the world.
How did you go about getting that €5.5m investment into your business?
Well, interestingly we’re actually a debt-free company. We don’t have any institutional funding or venture capital in our business. What we used was an early form of crowd funding. So I knew people in property investment and from there we expanded out into the community and then the wider community of Ireland again. So it’s been a very unusual strategy to raise money as we have done. We’ve raised money in hotel rooms, in front of a group of people where we explain what our plan is and what we’re doing. It allows people to talk with us directly and so far it’s been a great success.
Where does your product development come from?
We happen to have a very clever inventor in Jim Smith who is our CEO and lead inventor. He spent many years in the air management sector working for one of the biggest engineering companies in the world, the ABB Group. So he’s the main driving force behind what we do and how we develop the products and prototypes. He is essentially a mathematician who looks at solving problems and inefficiencies within designs.
Listen to this interview and more on soundcloud.com/ small-business-show