AgilityEco, an energy efficiency services business aimed at reducing fuel poverty and CO2 emissions from UK households, has seen its turnover increase threefold since Bridges investment in 2019.
Bridges Evergreen (Evergreen), the £60m (€70m) evergreen fund managed by impact investor Bridges Fund Management, has announced the sale of AgilityEco, an energy efficiency services platform targeting UK households.
Evergreen invested in AgilityEco in 2019 for an undisclosed sum and has sold its stake in the company to infrastructure services provider M Group Services, having generated a 3.4x multiple on invested capital (MOIC) and an internal rate of return (IRR) of 40% on its original investment.
AgilityEco describes itself as a mission-led business with the aim of helping to eliminate fuel poverty in the UK and contributing to the country’s net-zero goals through the provision of whole-of-house energy efficiency solutions to vulnerable and low-income households.
The company works closely with local authorities, housing providers and charities to reach those most in need and is largely funded by utility companies who rely on the company to meet their obligations under the UK Government’s Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, which requires licensed energy providers to reduce lifetime fuel bills for fuel-poor households.
It has also partnered with a broad network of installers nationwide to deliver these energy savings solutions, which include measures such as better insulation and more efficient boilers.
Between April 2022 and March 2023, AgilityEco worked with over 36,000 households and delivered energy efficiency measures that will generate lifetime energy savings of just over £2,600 for every home. These measures will also save more than 113,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Since Evergreen’s investment in 2019, turnover at the company has increased more than threefold to over £100m and the number of employees has doubled.
In response to questions from Impact Investor around the exit, Tom Biddle, partner at Bridges and head of Bridges Evergreen, said: “Our investment in AgilityEco has been catalytic in building a proven, highly impactful platform at scale. This made it a very attractive proposition for a number of trade and financial buyers.”
He added: “Ultimately, we collectively decided that by joining the M Group stable, AgilityEco had the opportunity to further accelerate its growth and impact, by accessing M Group’s extensive customer base. So, a sale made sense for the business and for the team, many of whom stand to benefit financially thanks to the employee ownership scheme we introduced.”
AgiltyEco was one of three portfolio holdings in Evergreen. Through its open-ended structure, the fund aims to support the long-term growth of companies targeting scalable, profitable and cash-generative businesses with a compelling impact thesis, targeting four investment themes: healthier lives, future skills, sustainable planet and stronger communities.
“A key advantage of Evergreen’s open-ended structure is that we have the flexibility to exit at the right time for the business and we can now invest the proceeds into other highly impactful businesses in a similarly catalytic manner.” added Biddle.
Impact best practice
Evergreen said it had worked closely with AglityEco’s board and the wider management team to embed impact best practice within the business which has received industry recognition and contributed to the company’s achievement of B Corp status.
It has also worked with the board on the design and implementation of an employee share ownership scheme, with around two-thirds of the company’s employees now shareholders and able to participate in the financial success of the sale to M Group Services.
Sharon Johnson, CEO of AgilityEco who was recruited by Bridges Evergreen in 2021, said: “Our mission is to play a major role in eliminating fuel poverty and to help towards net zero. Evergreen’s investment has been key to accelerating our progress towards achieving that.”
Johnson said that as well as providing strategic support and investment, Bridges Evergreen had also brought “invaluable experience of scaling businesses which are taking institutional capital for the first time and supporting successful founder transitions”.