Rafael Koene, who was active at SET Venture and RWE Trading is the new guy at Senfal. He will expand Senfal’s customer base and focus on the financing of Senfal itself. Read here all about our newest addition.
1. Welcome Rafael, you are Senfal’s latest addition. What will you be doing at Senfal?
I’m starting at Senfal as CCO/CFO, where I’ll be responsible for sales, marketing and finance. Senfal is an incredibly smart team of people that developed innovative software for the energy market during the startup phase. My task is to expand Senfal’s customer base. Additionally, I will explicitly focus on the financing of Senfal itself, we want to attract the right investors in time to continue growing. I’ve been here for about a month and you immediately get down to business. It’s a lot of fun.
2. What did you do before you joined Senfal?
Last year, I took a kind of ‘working sabbatical’ to have some distance and determine what I wanted to be the next step in my working life. This works really well and I can recommend everyone to do it sometime in their lives. It provides tremendous insight into what your real interests are and where your strengths lie. Before this, I worked as a venture capitalist at SET Ventures and invested in startups and growing companies with new sustainable energy technologies. I’ve led the departments Participations and Corporate Venturing for RWE Trading/Essent for more than ten years. And even longer ago, I worked in Investment Banking, for BNP Paribas.
3. How did you and Senfal found each other?
In my search for new investment opportunities for SET Ventures, I ran into Senfal. I was immediately impressed by what Senfal can do and the potential for Senfal in the energy market. We kept in contact and a few months ago, we started talking about a job at Senfal. I think the Senfal management, the founders and the shareholders saw a good reason to involve me thanks to my experience in the energy sector and with tech/software companies. And from my end, I saw a very interesting challenge to help the company outgrow its startup phase.
4. How would you describe Senfal?:
Senfal is a young, smart and enthusiastic team of people with a passion for the role of software in accelerating the energy transition and sustainability. Our software can balance the grid for more wind and solar capacity and realize material savings in energy costs for clients, what we call ‘demand response’. This appeals to me immensely. Saving the world from depleting natural resources by implementing new technology may sound rather exaggerated, but the optimism to be able to live on this globe with 10 billion people completely comes from this principle. It’s often said that we deplete the earth 3 to 5 times at our current pace. This often worries me. If we can make a small contribution to prevent this from happening, by eg upgrading the energy infrastructure with Senfal services, I’m happy. Senfal supplies ‘Energy Trading Services’. Our software is much better able to trade in energy than humans. The software delivers a faster, smarter and better result and operates as a self-learning system or ‘artificial intelligence’. We can trade in energy in an automated manner, which we also call ‘Robotic Trading’. In doing so, we are true frontrunners in the development of new qualitative services on the energy market.
5. As the new CCO & CFO at Senfal can you enlighten us on your vision of the future of the energy markets?
The increasing capacity of solar and wind energy replaces the conventional plants, but at the same times makes the energy markets more volatile. There’s an increasing demand in the solutions as developed by Senfal, which align supply and demand on the grid and the energy markets. But there’s also something else. Due to conventional overcapacity further decreasing, energy companies focus more new services, data and, for example, internet of things. The role of software companies is extremely important in developing new services, in order to support the energy transition, but also to win new clients. The battle for the consumer and business clients will happen with new competitors from outside of the energy sector, like tech companies and maybe even banks that have to reinvent themselves. In this playing field, parties like Senfal make a huge difference by creating value for clients with new services.
6. Where would you like to see Senfal in 5 years?
Senfal is now transitioning from a startup to an early growth company. This is because we focus on getting new clients and realizing international growth. This is an exciting period in which the fully developed technology will actively be put on the market. In the upcoming years, we want to become a valuable SAAS-company (Software as a Service) and serve a wide variety of clients. Our goal is to swiftly get known as a renowned provider of energy trading software and services.
7. Which of Senfal’s proposition would you say is the most valuable? (USP)
Senfal is foremost an independent provider of software services. Solutions can be optimized custom made for every client. The goal is to substantially lower the energy bill and increase the profit from generating energy. We supply a turnkey solution, a simple and clear interface and a platform that always improves itself. We can realise more improvements even on top of the client’s current systems. And all this, based on the newest A.I. technologies. The term, I think, is ‘State of the Art’… I recommend everyone to visit Senfal’s website, because what we’re doing is really interesting.