Legal & General and Equinor Ventures co-lead £15.2m Series B raise for innovative technology and renewables businesses Rovco & Vaarst

April 1, 2022 Time to read:  min

We are delighted to announce a Series B raise into Rovco and Vaarst, co-led by Legal & General Capital (Legal & General) as part of the expansion of its clean energy portfolio, alongside the venture capital arm of the international energy company Equinor. Legal & General will invest £8.5m out of the £15.2m raise. Other participants include existing shareholder Foresight Group, and In-Q-Tel, strategic investor for the US intelligence and defence communities and allied nations.

Vaarst, our sister company, is a leading provider of subsea 3D computer vision technologies, supporting the offshore wind, wave & tidal, scientific, maritime security, and civils industries. It is bringing forward ground-breaking AI-based technology, seeking to revolutionise how energy companies manage subsea infrastructure and improve asset integrity. At Rovco, we deliver Vaarst technology into the energy transition space, with a focus on its use for subsea surveys in offshore wind and oil field decommissioning.

Vaarst’s innovative technology is designed to substantially lower the costs of subsea surveying. At present, typical costs for a single crewed service vessel working on a maritime asset can reach up to £10m per month, which is both labour and cost intensive. Applying Vaarst technology, Rovco can help to reduce this cost whilst speeding up processes and optimising the long-term condition of assets.

The funds will be used to support our major globalisation plans, including in the USA and Asia, as well as increasing our presence across Europe. With our existing customer base including Iberdrola, SSE and Deepocean, Legal & General is seeking to support our international growth ambitions, identifying the significant opportunity within the offshore wind sector, as well as in serving marine infrastructure, which comprises 10% of all global infrastructure.

Legal & General invests its capital in clean energy infrastructure, businesses and technologies to help accelerate progress towards a low-cost, low-carbon economy – working with local authorities, government and key industry players to create scaled solutions. Rovco and Vaarst form the latest part of its growing portfolio, which includes offshore wind, onshore wind, solar PV technology, EV-charging and ground-source heat pumps, amongst others. Legal & General will explore options to scale Rovco through utilising its data across its existing c. £900m offshore wind portfolio.

John Bromley, Head of Clean Energy at Legal & General Capital said: “Our clean energy platform continues to grow, entering new sectors and supporting the growth of innovative new technologies. Rovco and Vaarst are exciting companies which will help further support the global energy transition by supporting the long term integrity of maritime assets, reducing costs, improving safety and speeding up processes. We are excited by their huge potential internationally and the synergies this could bring as we look to the international expansion of our investment in renewable infrastructure such as offshore wind”

Brian Allen, CEO at Vaarst and Rovco said: “We have a number of unique technologies that can make a huge impact on how companies such as Legal & General or Equinor manage their marine infrastructure. This investment will help propel these solutions forward and bring real difference to the cost of energy production as the clean energy sector adopts AI and Autonomous solutions with Vaarst technology at its heart. We’re excited to be working alongside the teams at Legal & General, Equinor and In-Q-Tel, and look forward to what we will achieve together.”

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