Smart Ease – editorial
Posted on: 28/07/2023
Smart Ease was founded by Guy Olian and Rob Williams in 2014 in response to the emerging need for businesses to transition to newer, cleaner and smarter technologies. The pair recognised that smart, energy-efficient solutions for a more sustainable planet are vital for building a better future – for our environment, communities and for businesses too.
The problem was these solutions need funding – and traditional models were not keeping pace with the changing environment.
“We identified that one of the main things stopping businesses from adopting those technologies was the upfront cost,” says CEO Guy Olian.
Today, Smart Ease is a leading digital-first funding provider in the smart-tech and renewable-energy industries. The fintech offers a range of payment solutions designed to make it quick, easy and simple for organisations to decarbonise and digitise their operations.
In the early days, the business – then known as Energy Ease – focused on funding solar power and storage projects in Australia and New Zealand. Residential solar uptake was booming, and commercial interest was taking off when the company opened in Melbourne in 2014.
In 2022, Energy Ease evolved into Smart Ease, a fresh brand name which reflects the convergence of digitisation and energy-efficiency technologies in the commercial space.
“When we started out as Energy Ease there was huge demand for solar equipment. Since then, our customers have been getting wise to the benefits of all sorts of smart and energy-efficiency equipment. So we’ve changed our name to Smart Ease,” explains Olian.
From one location in Melbourne, Smart Ease has expanded to Sydney, Auckland and, most recently, London. The expansion to the UK comes at a time when British businesses who are keen to reduce their carbon footprint are also compelled to protect themselves from a volatile energy market.
“More and more consumers and businesses are investing in solar,” explained Solar Energy UK Chief Executive, Chris Hewett, “because they know it is a proven way to cut their energy bills and carbon emissions.”
There are few industries unaffected by skyrocketing energy prices. From farms to factories, schools to charities, organisations of all types and sizes are focused on managing their energy expenditure, lowering their costs and addressing their environmental impact.
Smart Ease is proudly industry agnostic. While large agricultural and industrial customers account for roughly one-third of the projects it has funded, Smart Ease has helped businesses from every sector imaginable in their nine years of operation.
The projects they fund range in scale from modest equipment upgrades to colossal solar arrays which generate thousands of kilowatts of energy each day.
What all Smart Ease customers have in common is a drive to protect their cash flow and preserve their capital. By paying off the equipment they need in manageable monthly instalments, they can use their capital for other growth opportunities.
Smart Ease offers a range of payment options designed to make it easy to match business customers with their ideal funding situation. Payment solutions can be used to fund equipment across the energy-efficiency and smart-tech spectrum, including solar power and storage, EV chargers, heat and water pumps, efficient lighting and smart security systems.
While the details of the products vary, they’re all enhanced by Smart Ease’s advanced digital platform. This tech-enabled platform allows for fast and easy applications, approvals and funding.
There are three types of Smart Ease payment solutions, available via a network of Accredited Channel Partners (equipment installers).
Smart Ease Payment Plans are ideal for smaller projects and are Smart Ease’s most popular product. They’re fast, fuss-free and 100% online, with deals up to £100,000 pre-approved in around 4 minutes.
With $0 to pay upfront, Payment Plans help customers acquire equipment with no initial capital outlay. Once the equipment is installed, the installer is paid by Smart Ease within 48 hours. After this, the customer pays Smart Ease for the equipment in fixed monthly instalments for the agreed term of the loan, which is typically between three and seven years.
Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) work differently. They’re available for storage and solar only and are suited to larger, more complex projects. Under a PPA, a solar power system is installed on the roof, but is owned, maintained and insured by Smart Ease’s PPA provider. The PPA provider then sells electricity back to the customer at an agreed rate throughout the agreement. This rate is generally lower than grid-sourced energy.
The business is digital-first and backed by a team of experts in the smart-tech and renewable-energy industries, but what sets Smart Ease apart from most tech-driven, financial companies is its people.
“Our payment solutions are tech-enabled, but it’s our people who make the difference,” explains Chief Commercial Officer, Stefanie Di Trocchio. “We’ve designed an application process that’s simple and easy, not to replace the human element, but to enhance it.”
Working towards a different future
Five years ago, the world was a different place. The phrases ‘net-zero’, ‘carbon emissions’ and ‘decarbonisation’ were still foreign to many, and the COVID-19 pandemic was yet to disrupt our lives and economies.
Since then, increasing climate-related natural disasters, multiple global conferences and governmental changes have forced climate change onto the corporate agenda. Climate change is accelerating, and Smart Ease believes that business has a key role to play in tackling it.
Happily, the benefits of decarbonisation – such as cheaper energy through renewables, positive brand implications and keeping shareholders happy – have convinced most organisations of the need to act soon.
Smart Ease looks forward to continuing to play a key role in making emission reduction an achievable goal for those organisations.
“Solar panel sales boom as energy bills soar” – BBC UK, 28 August 2022.