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Charlie Parry, UrbanChain

UrbanChain’s expansion plans are to accelerate following the appointments of energy industry heavyweights. 

Charlie Parry has joined the Manchester Science Park-based company as Chief Development Officer with a strong background in tech and renewable energy. 

He will be responsible for securing capital and structured finance to enable the UK’s leading provider of peer-to-peer energy exchange services to scale at the appropriate pace. 

As well as financing structures for the UC group, Charlie’s team is responsible for sourcing and structuring capital that allows the company to fulfil many of its core social responsibility aims, while helping the many groups, institutions, corporates, public sector and housing associations participate in the growing renewables market, which is often only available for the better off in society. 

Backed by leading European investment group Eurazeo, which has €33.5bn in diversified assets under management, Charlie’s appointment at UrbanChain comes after three critical engagements in 2024.

Stephen Cornish, whose experience in commodity trading and building high growth businesses spans over 25 years, has become the Managing Executive on behalf of the board and investors. Stephen’s restructuring and international energy experience is already being seen with major progressive changes and a deeper focus on all client physical and capital needs.

Experienced energy portfolio director Garry Pickering has been hired as Portfolio Optimisation Director to ensure strong commercial outcomes for all participants, while Colin Hayward joins the CleanTech company as Director, Business Design and Change Management to further drive the next version of UrbanChain’s customer journey for the benefit of its diverse client range. 

Founded by CEO Somayeh Taheri and COO Mo Hajhahashem in 2017, UrbanChain’s deeptech peer-to-peer energy exchange platform uses integrated smart contracts and machine learning to match generators of renewable energy and consumers on a half hourly basis - resulting in secure energy prices and secure physical flows for energy generators. 

Local government organisations, companies from across the private sector, generators of renewable energy, energy suppliers and domestic households are all trading within the regulated platform. 

With early stage backing from the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero and Innovate UK, UrbanChain is set to intensify its UK and European growth strategy. 

Following last year’s Series A led by global investment firm Eurazeo, the company, which has a headcount of 30, is gearing up for a Series B funding round push towards the end of 2024. 

Chief Development Officer Charlie Parry, a former board member of electric vehicle start-up Zap-Map, said: “I’m super excited to have joined UrbanChain. What Somayeh and Mo have strategically built is a solution that has global scalability potential and sits in the energy market to actually make a difference to many public sector and social responsible organisations participating in the renewables markets.  

“As we head towards Series B it's all about focus and proof points and with Stephen, Garry and the team we are looking at how we securitise, evolve and operationally make fit for purpose what has already been achieved.”

He added: “Our peer-to-peer energy exchange platform is a super interesting piece of technology which allows the rollout of renewable energy to happen at a much faster rate, and I’m very pleased to be involved at the forefront of something that will become the norm across business and society in the years to come.”

Managing Executive Stephen Cornish says UrbanChain have already proved version one to disrupt the energy markets and now it’s time to build on the experience and launch new appropriate granular products and services for the UK and the planned overseas expansion. 

The Executive Director’s career has largely centred on Europe and the US, working with International trading houses, utilities, NOC’s, large industrials, plus financial institutions. His alignment with Eurazeo and UrbanChain comes as the markets continue to be turbulent. 

“In times of economic stress the big companies tend to get bigger, often benefiting from taxpayers money somewhere in the world, so it's good to help growth and start-up companies really allow a differentiated product,” he said. 

“We have lots to do but UrbanChain will add financing and credit solutions to its tech offering to build products that help as many customers, GENCOs (Generation companies) and organisations become prosumers within their local communities.”

UrbanChain CEO Somayeh Taheri said: “These latest engagements represent another landmark moment in our evolution as the board together strategically shifts UrbanChain into its next phase.  

“As we transition into a high growth business phase UrbanChain is fostering a culture of understanding the journeys of our customers, refining our product offerings and further solidifying business operations. We will also have more technical, commercial and experienced talent onboarding across 2024 to ensure UrbanChain develops for the benefit of all its stakeholders.”

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