Berlin-based Smalt Snaps €4.1 Million to Overcome the Talent Supply Shortage for the Green Energy Transition

November 3, 2023

Stefano De Marzo

Smalt, a talent development and services platform for the green trades sector, has raised €4.1 million in pre-seed financing to accelerate Europe’s green energy transition through the untapped potential of immigrant workers. The round was led by La Famiglia, Europe’s leading B2B technology investor, and joined by US-based Owl Ventures, the world’s largest education technology investor, and Axel Springer, Porsche Ventures, and a group of reputable angel investors.

The company’s platform upskills talent with specialized training and certification programs in clean energy, and transforms service fulfillment with smart dispatching, AI-driven workflow guidance, and dedicated customer analytics.

“Smalt is purpose-built to bridge the gap between talent shortage and demand surplus. Our training platform will be the source of economic opportunity for tens of thousands of workers.”

“Smalt is purpose-built to bridge the gap between talent shortage and demand surplus. Our training platform will be the source of economic opportunity for tens of thousands of workers,” said Khurram Masood, one of the Co-Founders of Smalt.

Smalt is already delivering its services to large B2B customers, such as solar and heat pump OEMs, energy companies and large green energy asset retailers who have a centralized demand for homes that need installation services. The key value proposition to these customers is the access, at scale, to high-quality installation services from a pool of experienced and recently trained workers at Smalt. Over time, Smalt aims to scale through a continent-wide network of installation and servicing stores led by experienced leaders from its workforce, local entrepreneurs, and experienced trades workers.

“By digitizing the predominantly pen-and-paper process of procuring, installing, and maintaining renewable energy solutions, Smalt will empower this new talent to become the engine Europe needs to secure our environmental future,” added Marius Westhoff, Co-Founder of Smalt.

Europe’s ambitious climate goals are threatened by a shortage of skilled workers in the green energy installation sector: Germany alone requires 750,000 new climate workers in the next six years. Meanwhile, many of the 2.3 million immigrants who have arrived in Germany over the past five years are blocked from gainful employment by language and bureaucracy.

“The transformation of our energy systems, the shortage of skilled workers, and the migrant crisis are among the biggest economic and societal problems Europe faces today. We have been looking for founders who are bold enough to go beyond the proven model of talent marketplaces, which work with existing talent supply, and instead dare to build a company around the creation and productivity of new talent in the blue-collar market. Khurram and Marius share incredible experience in the education sector, strong entrepreneurial DNA and the drive needed to have a massive impact in this market,” added Judith Dada, General Partner at La Famiglia VC.

Founded in 2023, Smalt’s innovative education program starts with intensive two to six-week academies and continuously trains participants with digital learning technologies to become certified solar and heat pump installation specialists. The first cohort, including individuals displaced by conflict and seeking better opportunities, has already graduated and is actively installing solar systems across Germany.