Amsterdam, September 5, 2023: Rockstart, global early stage VC and accelerator, announces its co-investment in Helio, a Rockstart Energy portfolio company. Helio raised a combined €4.9M in an equity and debt round. The equity round was led by QBIT Capital alongside Rockstart, Uebermorgen Ventures, seed+speed, Combination VC, ROI Ventures, Swisspreneur, and Cloud Angel Investors. The debt financing was provided by Zürcher Kantonalbank (ZBK) and secured by the Swiss Technology Fund instrument. Helio plans to use this funding to accelerate its market penetration, particularly in areas like 3D rendering and AI, as it capitalizes on the booming demand for sustainable, efficient, and affordable cloud computing.
The influx of capital will bolster the Zurich-based startup and accelerate its advancements in several critical areas of their platform. These include optimizing carbon-aware workload scheduling, increasing the network of green data centers, enriching the cloud spot market with excess capacity, and developing their 3D rendering capabilities for the VFX market. Helio employs a unique real-time algorithm that improves cloud resource allocation by rerouting computing tasks to underused or renewable-energy-powered data centers. This approach tackles the dual challenges of poor efficiency—currently below 20% in the industry—and high environmental impact. As the sector is poised to account for 6% of the world’s electricity usage by 2030, Helio’s model offers a greener and more cost-effective alternative. The company has set a bold target of reducing CO2 emissions by 200Mt by 2030.
This funding is a watershed moment for Helio, not just in securing financial support, but also in aligning with partners who share our vision for a carbon-aware cloud. As we accelerate our mission to transform the cloud computing industry into a model of efficiency and sustainability, this capital enables us to reduce both cloud spending and emissions for our customers. We are particularly excited to unlock new types of data centers as we make strides in key areas like 3D rendering and AI. The future of cloud computing is here, and it’s more sustainable and efficient than ever.Kevin Häfeli, co-founder and CEO, Helio
We see Helio as a game-changer in both sustainability and cloud computing efficiency. Their innovative model addresses pressing industry challenges, making this a strategic and timely investment for us. We’re excited to be part of their journey towards reshaping a more sustainable digital future.Luis Huber, QBIT Capital
Energy consumption of data centers has become one of the largest sources of CO2 emissions. Many of these emissions come from idle cloud computing capacity, as servers still consume significant amounts of energy when they are on standby. Helio helps to reduce such idle time and save costs by smart workload scheduling and aggregating. We are excited to be part of this funding round, which will support Helio to scale its business and enter new market segments.Max ter Horst, Managing Partner Energy, Rockstart
Since 2014, Rockstart has been accelerating and investing in energy startups, which makes Rockstart a forerunner in the energy domain with 75 early-stage startup investments. Collectively, these portfolio companies have raised over €150 million to date. Rockstart Energy invests in and accelerates startups at the pre-seed stage and continues to support them alongside other investors until series B. On average, Rockstart invests in approximately 12 energy startups per year.
Founded by Kevin Häfeli and Christoph Buchli in 2018, Helio is on a mission to revolutionize cloud computing by addressing its environmental and efficiency pitfalls. Through its compute delivery network, Helio makes the idling compute capacity of data centers available to computing-intensive applications such as rendering, artificial intelligence, or research. For more information, please visit Helio’s website.