Brill Power, Passionfruit and Zinc Systems Secure Tech Funding

A lively mix of battery-powered ambitions, Gen Z freelancers and SaaS-y stuff.

There’s action in Oxford, London and Northampton with Brill Power, Passionfruit and Zinc Systems grabbing tech funding.

Battery-focused Brill Power has raised $10.5 million (£9 million) in its Series A round led by two new investors – Legal & General Capital and Barclays.

Passionfruit, which helps startups connect with freelance marketing specialists, has raised $4.3 million (£3.5 million).

Maven Capital Partners says Maven VCTs have invested an undisclosed amount in SaaS solutions provider Zinc Systems.

Brilliant for Brill Power

Oxford University spin-out company Brill Power is on a mission to make batteries “smarter, cleaner, safer and longer-lasting as a critical element of the shift to zero emissions energy”.

The firm says its active loading method increases battery life by up to 60% and allows used batteries to discharge up to 46% more energy through a proprietary combination of hardware and software.

The funding round included support from Sustainable Impact Capital Programme and supported by all of Brill’s existing investors – including Oxford Science Enterprises, Oxford Investment Consultants and Oxford University. Shell Ventures and Climate KIC have also become shareholders.

Brill senses potential as it reckons its technology is an enabler for battery systems in applications including commercial & industrial buildings, on and off grid energy storage, residential homes and electric vehicles.

The company will use the funding to double its team size across both engineering and commercial operations, while expanding its product range for both static energy storage and for the “world’s largest battery market” – electric vehicles. Brill has completed projects with Aston Martin, AMTE Power and Delta Cosworth.

It will also develop its data platform (BrillAnalytics) to help customers monitor and predict battery safety, health and performance data remotely.

Passionfruit and the Gen Z Game

London-based Passionfruit is all about making money from Gen Z freelancers and firms who need their services.

This is its first investment round and the plan is to offer an operating system that coordinates the needs of a white-collar worker, so they can start, sell, market and manage their professional services independently.

Passionfruit explains: “However much you want to, unless you’re a +25 year veteran, with a black book of contacts, a private accountant and plentiful savings, there’s no way you can go it alone.”

The idea has got attention as the funding support was led by firstminute Capital and Playfair. They are joined by FJ Labs and Portfolio Ventures, along with scouts from Atomico, Accel and Notion. Additionally, the tech firm says it has the backing of founders and early execs from companies such as Stripe, AirBnB, Deliveroo, Turo, Trouva and Workday, plus operating partners from Softbank and L Catterton.

For specialists, it will use the funding to invest in its suite of working, learning and earning tools.

As for demand-side customers, Passionfruit says it now works with portfolio companies of 65 of the world’s top 100 VCs. There’s no mention of timeline or dates, but it will start opening its platform up to a select few enterprise customers as well.

Think Zinc

Northampton-based Zinc specialises in safety, security and critical event management. The business delivers its services to a range of public sector agencies including the Environment Agency as well as Kingfisher, Travis Perkins, Virgin Money and Allied Universal.

The funding will be used to expand its sales and marketing teams as well as invest in product development, which includes the launch of its new SaaS product, SYNAPSE ‘Analyst’, an incident and threat intelligence platform.

The tech firm essentially makes money from crises and calamities. Zinc reckons profits are to be made as safety and security solutions are needed “against a background of increasing concern and regulation regarding the management of natural and manmade threats”.

Zinc has over 75 staff and was founded in 2004.

Antony Peyton
Antony Peyton
Antony Peyton is the Editor of eWeek UK. He has 18 years' journalism and writing experience. His career has taken him to China, Japan and the UK - covering tech, fintech and business. Follow on Twitter @TonyFintech.
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