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Windlab Systems - A Global Wind Energy Development Company

Today we showcase the story of an exciting venture, from Canberra, Australia, Windlab Systems - A Global Wind Energy Development Company, co-founded by Dr. Keith Ayotte and Dr. Nathan Steggel.

In a recent email-based interview with us, he gave insights into how he is managing and juggling. This is what he has to say in his interview with us:

• How long it took to launch
6-12 months from idea to launch. Several years of IP development prior

• Stage of Venture
Windlab was formed in May 2003 with 2 FTEs and 2 part-time.
As of March 2009, we have 22 staff across 4 countries (Oz, South Africa, Canada, USA).

• Which Market Segment
Wind Farm Development

• Customers
Financial Institutions; Electricity Asset Owners, Operators and Retailers.

• Targeted Age Group
We are not a consumer service provider. Our customers are large institutions

• Users Using Service
Again, we are not an end-user service - we work closely with large institutions with a mandate to provide clean energy to their customers

• Marketing Technique
Approach individually

• Measuring Success
Business Model with partners built on success fees - we get paid as projects progress through the success stages

• Monetizing/Revenue Model
  • Consulting - fee for service
  • Partnering on wind farm development - paid success fees as projects progress
  • Pure wind farm development - see projects for development margin at some stage of development e.g. Financial close
• Main competitors
Other wind farm developers e.g. Epuron and Wind Prospect in Australia.

• Technology Stack used
WindScape wind mapping technology was developed at CSIRO by the founders and is now 100% owned by Windlab.
RaptorNL and turbulence models developed at CSIRO and in-house.

• Database
N/A - ?? - we use GIS systems with SQL to store large amounts of data about individual projects

• O/S
We mainly use OSX (Mac) for the computations and most of the post-processing. All of our number-crunching machines are Intel Macs (quad Mac Pros and Xserves). Windows XP and Vista are used for the GIS work, which is a substantial part of the workflow.

• How Much Money is Used/Reqd.
The Company needed to order $1-$3 million to set up and develop a business model in the early years.
Has required additional funding to expand and progress the business model

• Main Barriers
Expansion capital

• Advice For People
  • Seek cash early and often
  • Get good legal advice for major deals and try to get larger partners/clients to pay for it as part of any term sheet
• Your Education/Professional Background
Both founders have PhD's

• External Funding
External funding has come from Epicorp, inQbate, Angel Investors, Blue Cove Ventures and Innovation Capital

Ongoing coverage on Australian startups, innovation, business and tech trends, and interviews with experts in various domains can be found here


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