- Romania’ Ogre AI provides forecasting solutions for utility companies
- The startup’s most recent achievements include winning Vestbee’s CEE Startup Challenge 2023 and a successful crowd investment campaign on SeedBlink
- In view of the raised funds, Ogre AI aspires to expand it forecasting solution to more types of utilities and enter new geographies
Among the many year-end events of this December, Vestbee announced the winners of its CEE Startup Challenge 2023. ITKeyMedia highlights the winning startups.
To Balance Utility Forecast Differences
Ogre AI, the Romanian AI platform for forecasting utility use, got the gold. Matei Stratan (CEO), Mihai Cucuringu, and Paul Musca (CTO) founded the startup in 2020. The trigger that inspired the founders to establish Ogre AI stems from the realization of an apparent gap in the market and the increasing importance of data science and artificial intelligence across various industries. The team observed in the balancing market forecast differences for approximately 680 active clients (producers, suppliers, traders, distributors) in Romania.
This gave them the idea to develop an entire new and innovative platform for the smart grids of the future, and they deemed themselves a formidable team to address the challenges and opportunities in the evolving landscape of AI and data-driven solutions.
‘Ogre AI is a cutting-edge forecasting platform tailored for utility companies, encompassing electricity, gas, water and district heating. By employing advanced mathematical models and machine learning, Ogre AI predicts future demand, generation and losses with precision, assisting businesses in strategic planning. We also help our partners to detect anomalies and frauds within energy consumption or network infrastructure,’ Mr Stratan explains.
In-House AI for Confident Forecasting
According to Mr Stratan, the name ‘Ogre’ was chosen because the term is often associated with strength and power. It is meant to signify the company’s confidence in its ability to provide powerful forecasting solutions in the utility industry. It is also a unique name that can help a company stand out in a crowded market, easily memorable for clients and stakeholders.
The startup’s AI is 100% proprietary. The in-house team, led by our technical experts Paul Musca and Mihai Cucuringu and powered by international Informatics and Mathematics Olympiad winners Adrian Budau and Omer Cerrahoglu, crafted the product development.
‘Ogre AI captured our attention with its innovative approach to managing the energy value chain and prevention of losses in energy flows. We are committed to supporting sustainable companies, and Ogre AI is a perfect example of the kind of investments we seek – products with a real global impact,’ Soulmates Ventures’ partner and CEO Vaclav Gregor tells ITKeyMedia.
Crowdfunding to Fuel Vertical and Geographic Expansion
As of now, Ogre AI forecasts energy use, but Mr Stratan admits the ambition to expand to water and heating in the frame of the startup’s partnership with one of its key clients – Veolia. According to the CEO, this should involve researching market dynamics and regulatory frameworks to ensure adherence to industry regulations. Based on this, Ogre AI’s platform will be updated for water and district heating needs for seamless testing, refining, and integration of forecasting solutions into existing systems.
To fuel its ambition, Ogre AI is conducting a crowd investment campaign (with Soulmates Ventures as the pre-committed investor) on the famous SeedBlink platform. Mr Stratan points out that crowdfunding provides an alternative source of funding, potentially offering access to capital that may be challenging to secure through traditional channels. It allows startups to attract a diverse group of investors, including individuals who may be passionate about the product or service. In other words, crowdfunding campaigns themselves provide additional exposure and attract attention from potential customers, partners, and investors. Finally, a successful crowdfunding campaign serves as an additional validation of market interest and demand, which appeals to future investors.
‘Platforms like SeedBlink focus on early-stage startups and may provide specialized expertise and support tailored to the needs of such a business. They streamline the fundraising process, making it more accessible for startups, especially those at an early stage. Their networks of investors are more targeted and engaged. Overall, being listed on such a well-known platform enhances a startup’s visibility within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, potentially attracting attention from other investors and industry players,’ Mr Stratan adds.
The raised funding is meant to strengthen the company’s financial position by managing cash flow effectively and maintaining financial stability for sustained operations. This includes ongoing research and development of technological advancements.
Ogre AI’s plans in view of the raised investment also include expanding the company’s presence in Europe, potentially in collaboration with strategic partners, which will involve marketing campaigns, customer acquisition, and sales efforts to increase brand visibility and drive revenue growth.
Kostiantyn is a freelance writer from Crimea but based in Lviv. He loves writing about IT and high tech because those topics are always upbeat and he’s an inherent optimist!