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Brighte CEO and Founder Katherine McConnell

Mike Cannon-Brookes pours $78 million into green energy lender Brighte

Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes has invested $78.8 million into Sydney-based start up Brighte, helping fund the development of its new green energy retail arm.

“The additional capital will be deployed in three key areas: the acquisition of more solar households, growing Brighte into a household brand and building out our customer lifetime value proposition which includes creating new energy payment models,” said Founder & CEO Katherine McConnell.

The buy now, pay later green energy lender is moving to a “gen-tailing model.”

This means that Brighte customers who own their energy assets will have Brighte as their energy retailer but can also realise revenue from their own solar and batteries.

Brighte customers will be able to directly sell their excess rooftop solar and battery power to other customers through the grid.

“This allows us to help our customers in three ways – access to the most affordable energy solutions, maximise  their energy revenue and cover the gap between their energy generation and consumption,” said Ms McConnell. 

“It leverages our deep expertise in payments and dominant market position in household energy to significantly  simplify the customer relationship.”

Brighte was founded in 2015 by Katherine McConnell, a former Macquarie Group senior manager.

It provides buy now, pay later financing for energy and home improvements such as solar panels and home batteries. There are two customers: households seeking finance for green home improvements and vendors who install equipment knowing that there is no risk of credit default.

Since then, it has approved over $600 million in finance for 75,000 Australian households.

Brighte has raised over $145 million in equity and $500 million in debt since 2016, as well as Australia’s first 100 per cent Green ABS Bond issuance in October 2020.

Other investors in Brighte’s recent $100 million series-C capital raise include Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar’s and Kim Jackson’s company Skip Capital, AirTree Ventures and Singaporean venture capital firm Qualgro.

Brighte has financed over 350,000kW of residential solar capacity, which is more capacity than the Snowy Hydro’s Tumut 2 power station.

“What we have achieved in four years is just the beginning. This is a $45 billion per annum addressable market  opportunity (of which $3 billion is solar, battery and FCAS) and there is significant room for more growth,” said Ms McConnell.

Australia’s rooftop solar market has been booming, adding 2.6 gigawatts of solar capacity in 2020.

Research from CSIRO has also found that solar PV and batteries are experiencing the fastest cost reduction of any energy technology in Australia’s market right now.


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