About us

Find out more about Powervault's mission and the people behind the products.

The Team

We are a growing, accomplished and cohesive team of professionals supported by an experienced Board of Directors.

Joe Warren portrait

Managing Director

Joe Warren

Joe has spent 10 years working in the smart grid sector and is passionate about working in start-ups to bring new, smart grid technologies to market. He spent the first half of his career working in the fast growing Internet sector as Director of Hosting Operations at Pipex Plc. There he led a seventy-strong team at five UK locations, and was responsible for IT hardware, software and power infrastructure supporting 4,000 businesses and 250,000 consumers. In 2007, Joe moved to Open Energi/RLtec when it was a start-up. He helped bring their smart grid dynamic demand product from concept to commercial reality, creating a new market in which Open Energi arrived first. Joe managed Open Energi’s relationship with National Grid over a period of seven years and agreed the first ever Dynamic Demand contract for demand side Firm Frequency Response, securing contracts with National Grid and Sainsbury’s. Joe joined Powervault in 2014 as Managing Director. He obtained a BA (Hons) from the University of Oxford in Experimental Psychology and an MBA from INSEAD.

Financial Controller

Viren Thakker

Viren has more than 10 years’ experience in Finance. He has worked across several industries, in businesses ranging from <£1m revenues to £multi-million revenue PLCs, and within sectors ranging from Production to Wholesale to Retail to Technology. Whilst working with Isabella Oliver (High-end Fashion brand), Chemilines Group (Pharmaceutical Distribution), Close Ventures (Investment Management) and Techspace Property Group (Co-working spaces), Viren helped a variety of organisations improve and streamline processes and procedures to maximise efficiency. Viren is a commercially astute and dedicated finance professional with well-rounded business experience, which enables him to drive growth through improvements in systems, management information, change management and cash flow management. Viren is ACA-qualified and is focused on using the right systems and processes to enable Powervault, which he joined in 2017, to grow at speed over the next few years. In his spare time, Viren likes to play his favourite sports: cricket, volleyball and table tennis.

Operations Director

Mark Shaw

Mark has over 25 years’ in the global corporate environment in Finland, Germany, Ireland and China for the manufacturing of electronic and electro-mechanical products. He is an operations management specialist, passionate about Lean Manufacturing, Inventory and Supply Chain Optimisation. Mark has a well-rounded business experience which enables him to help firms improve their operations, set-up new manufacturing operations, and help turn troubled companies into the black. His specialist skills are in blending processes and systems to enhance organisational capabilities, improve collaboration and business performance. Mark has an MSc in Economics and Business Administration, a BSc in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and certification in Lean, Six Sigma (Green Belt), PRINCE2 and Theory of Constraint. He is bilingual (English and Finnish) and has basic proficiency in Russian.

Technical Director

Sean Scharffenorth

Sean has more than 20 years’ experience in engineering development. He has worked in several industries ranging from start-ups to NYSE listed companies such as Curtiss-Wright Corporation. Sean had a hands-on early career in hardware and software development but has spent the last 12 years in various engineering leadership roles including holding multiple directorships during this time. Sean has managed engineering teams spanning the globe – including development teams in China, India and Canada – to deliver complex engineering solutions. His career spans multiple sectors including telecommunications, aerospace, surveillance and access-control. Notable customers for the engineering solutions he delivered include NASA and Boeing.

Software Development Manager

Andrew Hilborne

Andrew gained his BSc in Computing Science and Physics from Newcastle University. For more than twenty years he has worked variously for a research consultancy attached to the university, for the university computing service and, working for various internet service providers, he helped build the first version of the Internet in the UK and Europe. He has also worked on a European-funded research project into distributed dependable computing, which means that he was interested in an “Internet of things” long before it was fashionable.
Andrew has a strong background in networking and linux. He joined us initially in 2018 as a Software Developer and in July 2019 he became our Software Development Manager.

Commercial Manager

Nick Wood

Nick joined Powervault in 2017, having previously worked as an analyst at the Solar Trade Association focusing on rooftop solar, behind the meter storage, networks and smart power. He has an MSc in Environmental Technology from Imperial College London, where he specialised in energy policy and technology and wrote a thesis in collaboration with Ofgem on local energy systems and non-traditional business models. Prior to that, Nick managed a small fund at a charitable foundation, making grants in the environment and international development. In his spare time he enjoys going to gigs and cycling, and is trying to make a perfect pizza base.

Operations Manager

Toby Hallifax

Toby graduated from UCL in 2017 with an MSc in Engineering with Finance after completing a degree in Mechanical Engineering at Loughborough University. He jumped straight into a renewables career at Powervault after developing a passion for sustainability and clean energy. After spending 9 months in a technical support role, Toby moved to the warehouse to lead production and testing. In his spare time, Toby enjoys travelling and music, and also cooking at his family food business Yolk Breaker.

Data Modelling Analyst

Giulia Escher

Giulia graduated from Stanford University with a MSc in Environmental Engineering and later completed a MSc in Energy Engineering from Politecnico di Milano with a thesis on wind energy curtailment. She focused her career on sustainability and green energy, working as a Sustainable Transport Analyst at Ricardo Energy & Environment and later as a Building Physics and Sustainability Consultant at BuroHappold, where she carried out modelling and data analysis to inform building design and advise policy-makers. She joined the Powervault team as a Data Modelling Analyst in 2019, focusing on performance analysis and supporting the development of smart grid services. In her spare time, Giulia is a synchronised swimmer and enjoys hiking and reading.

Cloud Development Lead

James Lowe

James joined Powervault in February 2019 as part of the back end team.  As a full-stack web developer with a passion for rapid prototyping and cloud solutions, his previous entrepreneurial role saw him design, develop and deploy a set of competitive intelligence tools for his clients in the energy and defence sectors. James has also worked in the retail software industry, working closely with technical teams at Vodafone and Tesco developing, deploying and measuring the performance of product selector tools for customers’ use on their retail sites. He also has a background in film and animation production and visual effects and has shot several short films and music videos. In his spare time James enjoys DIY, music and swimming and is passionate about exploring sustainable, off-grid solutions at home.

Technical Support Engineer

Giuseppe Boccardo

Giuseppe gained his MSc in Energy Engineering at Politecnico di Torino with a thesis on hybrid railway vehicles. He originally started his career as an MES Application Manager at CNH Industrial where he worked on Industry 4.0 projects. Later, he moved to Peru working as Electrical Engineer for an NGO focused on providing clean and renewable energy to Peruvian rural communities. While there, Giuseppe worked on the development of a remote monitor system for off-grid wind turbines and solar panels. He joined the Powervault team as Technical Support Engineer and in his spare time Giuseppe enjoy sailing, hiking and composing music.

Business Development Associate

Isobel Northridge

Isobel graduated in 2019, from the University of Southampton with a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science. Having taken the degree path, Sustainable Environmental Management, she joined Powervault, in 2019, to fulfil her passion for sustainability by pursuing a career within the energy and renewables sector. Isobel has gained a broad range of experience within the environmental field, including an internship working as a key research partner for both the Southampton Access Fund and EU Horizons 2002 Metamorphosis sustainable transport projects. Having enjoyed playing throughout school and university, she continues to play netball on a weekly basis. She also enjoys sailing, travelling and scuba diving.

Customer Service Associate

Lydia MacDonell

Lydia graduated from The University of Birmingham with a BA (Hons) in Geography in 2018. Alongside her University Degree, Lydia played International hockey for GB u21s and U23s. She started her career path in a customer facing role for a family run health and safety business. Here she gained experience in customer communication. Before joining Powervault, Lydia worked for a Building Supplies Company within their digital marketing team. Lydia joined Powervault in 2019, in the customer service team, to follow her interest in sustainability within the energy industry.  In her spare time she enjoys all sports and loves to bake and is qualified personal trainer.

Senior Software Engineer

Petras Saduikis

Petras gained his MSc in Electronics at Nottingham University. He originally started his career as a satellite communications engineer, before developing cardiac nuclear medicine scanners. Following this, Petras spent a substantial period developing software in telecommunications, and in the mobile phone industry with Psion. In recent years Petras joined the Imperial College air quality monitoring start-up Duvas Technologies, and was responsible for the embedded processor system, and for the differential ultra-violet absorption spectroscopy chemometric algorithms using MATLAB and C++. He then spent a year involved with a range of start-ups at Imperial College using Python for machine learning and artificial intelligence. Following a passion for Python and edge IoT, Petras joined Powervault in 2018 as Senior Embedded Software Developer. In his spare time Petras enjoys archery, and recording music in his studio.

Lead Systems Engineer

Oliver Clay

Oliver gained his degree, MEng Mechatronics, in South Wales, before starting his first job as an embedded software engineer at The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO). During this time, he renovated a canal boat and installed a custom Combined Heat & Power unit and a 32kWh domestic battery/inverter system to the boat, which enabled him to live on the canal ‘off-grid’. After 4 years with The FCO, Oliver moved back to South Wales to work for Guardian Global Technologies where he was involved in the hardware, firmware and software design and testing of downhole tools and communication equipment for the oil & gas industry. In 2016, Oliver joined Magstim, a medical device company, as a Software Engineer; there he developed firmware for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) equipment, which is used as a treatment for depression and as an alternative to Electroconvulsive Therapy. Following his passion for all things batteries, Oliver joined Powervault in 2017 as Systems Engineer. Oliver is a STEM ambassador and has been judge for the ‘First LEGO League’ in South Wales. In his spare time, after spending time with his daughter & identical twin boys, Oliver turns to model engineering: mainly steam engines, but also aircraft, rockets, boats, and hovercraft.

Senior Firmware Engineer

Dr. Weili Ren

Weili gained his PhD degree in Electronic Engineering at Surrey Space Centre, University of Surrey. He started his first job as Senior Software Engineer at Philips Semiconductor in Southampton. Later he moved to Reading, joining NEC Technologies UK where he developed GSM/UMTS dual mode handset at L3/L2/L1 and Physical layers. During that time, he filed 6 patents in 3GPP LTE
standardisation. 8 years later, he joined BlackBerry, developing HSPA/HSPA+ protocol stack that was used in BlackBerry mobile phones. In 2014, he joined Ericsson Modem where he worked at LTE physical layer that controls Ericsson GSM/UMTS/TD-SCDMA/LTE multi-mode ASIC chipset. In 2015, he joined EDMI, a smart metering company, to develop firmware for smart gas meter, electricity meter and communication hub that is the coordinator of Zigbee-based Home Energy Network. He then relocated to London and joined Surface Technology International where he developed firmware for a few IoT devices. Following passion in Smart Energy Storage, Weili joined Powervault in 2019 as Firmware Engineer.

Test Engineer

John Chan

After gaining a Physics masters (MSci) from Imperial College London in 2008, John spent 7 years at Duvas developing an air quality sensor from pre-prototype to market. His roles varied between optical-mechanical assembly, testing and validation, preparing technical documents, and liaising with customers/suppliers. He worked closed with early adopters of the Duvas device. For example, integrating an instrument into a field deployable emissions compliance vehicle for the United States Environmental Protection Agency. John joined Powervault in 2017, as Test Engineer. Supporting field staff, and overseeing testing for new Powervault designs, and general testing support. In his spare time, he enjoys swing dancing, specifically Lindy Hop.

The Board of Directors

The board of directors offers a wealth of experience and support to the Powervault team.

Chairman

Mark Ansell

Mark Ansell is a chartered engineer who has spent over 30 years working in manufacturing industry. After starting his career as a design engineer at JCB, he became Chief Executive of Flow Group Limited, a UK-based manufacturer of valves for the energy industries, which he helped to develop into a profitable £30M+ turnover business with 250 employees and to deliver a successful exit for its investors in 2011. He was a non-executive director of JPMorgan US Smaller Companies Investment Trust plc from 2005 to 2017 and now works as a chairman or non-executive director helping early stage businesses develop and grow.  Mark has a degree in Engineering from the University of Cambridge and an MBA from Cranfield University.

Board Member

Simon Acland

Simon is an active business angel investor in green technology. He sits on the board of two Triple Point VCTs, which invest primarily in renewable energy, and is a member of the investment committee of the British Business Bank’s Angel CoFund. He is an advisor to the Green Angel Syndicate and is also a Trustee of Plantlife, the UK’s main wild plant conservation charity. Simon has spent 30 years investing in young technology businesses. Much of his venture capital career was spent as Managing Director of Quester, which became one of the UK’s most active early stage technology investors. Seven of the companies that he has backed achieved public listings on the London Stock Exchange, AIM, Nasdaq or Easdaq, including two companies which reached the FTSE 250; many others have been successfully sold. He joined the Powervault board in 2012 when he was the lead angel investor in the first funding round. He was Chairman of Powervault from 2014 to 2018 and currently leads the fundraising activities for the Company.

Co-Founder

Andrew Wordsworth

As former Managing Director of Carbon Trust Enterprises, Andrew has previously led the creation and launch of twelve low carbon companies, which have secured over £250m in equity commitments. A former process control engineer with Esso Petroleum, Andrew has strategic consulting experience with Bain and Arthur D Little.  Andrew is Co-Founder of Sustainable Ventures Development Partners (SVDP); in 2015 he led the exit of SVDP’s first start-up, E-Car Club, to Europcar in what is now recognised as the UK’s first successful crowdfunding exit. Andrew holds a first-class MEng in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cambridge, where he was awarded the University Fox Prize. He was named ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ by businessGreen in 2015.

Board Member

Paul Roberts

After a successful executive career in Asset Finance (Lex Service plc and GE Capital) and Private Equity (TDR Capital), Paul is now building a portfolio of investments in the renewable energy sector. He has an MA in Economics from the University of Cambridge and an MBA from the University of Warwick.

Board Member

Vitaly Lazorin

Vitaly is the CEO and Managing Partner of Future Matters, a privately-held, London-based investment firm. Future Matters focusses its investments in the UK and Europe in a diversified portfolio of early-stage companies operating in clean tech and digital technology industries with potential for a multiple increase in value and market leadership. Vitaly began his professional career in 1992 as an Audit Assistant at Price Waterhouse (now PricewaterhouseCoopers). He worked as the Financial Controller of the Lower Volga EBRD-sponsored regional venture fund, and then as Investment Associate at The Carlyle Group. Vitaly holds a degree in International Economics Relations from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). He is a Chartered Certified Accountant.

Board Member

Nick Lyth

Nick joined the Powervault Board in June 2016. He is co-founder and director of Green Angel Syndicate (GAS), the first business angel syndicate in the UK to specialise in investments in energy and water sectors. Nick is a marketing and sales specialist with over ten years’ experience building up a new applied research institute in the eco and environmental arena: International Resources and Recycling Institute (IRRI). He has been asked to speak at numerous conferences around the UK and Europe on matters concerning sustainable resources, and has been invited to assess innovation competitions in the UK run by the Technology Strategy Board (now Innovate UK) and Scottish Government. Nick founded GAS in order to use the knowledge gained from the research world to help to commercialise resource use innovations effectively and successfully, for the greater benefit of the green economy.

Board Member

Niko Miaoulis

Niko Miaoulis is the Founder and Managing Director of Greenman Solar, a large and reputable solar PV installer based in Ashford, Kent. Niko brings significant solar PV expertise to the Powervault board and has 25 years of high-end engineering experience in the semiconductor, electronic and software markets. He has worked with LSI Logic, Marconi, Seagate, Cookson Group, NEC and IBM. He has also held director level sales and marketing posts in a number of these companies.

Board Member

James Byrne

James Byrne is a Venture Director and is responsible for venture development across the Sustainable Ventures group. He co-founded the Green Light Distrikt, an international network for young entrepreneurs and innovators in Cleantech, and has over six years of experience in technology and sustainability start-ups. He currently advises the Mayor of London as a Commissioner on the London Sustainable Development Commission and was named a Future Leader by the UK-Green Building Council. James holds an MSc in International Technology Management from the University of Warwick and a BSc from the University of Leeds.

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