ANU alumnus Lachlan Blackhall, co-founder of Canberra start-up Reposit Power, says it was a shock to lock in a deal with car maker Tesla to supply software to the company's home battery business.
Dr Blackhall, Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of Reposit Power, has locked in a contract that will see Tesla batteries sold with Reposit's technology installed in them.
"On one level it's quite a shock when you think of the multi-billion dollar value of Tesla," says Dr Blackhall, who is also an Adjunct Professor at the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science.
"But for us what it does is give us some validation in the market that what we're doing is really cutting edge and world class."
The Canberra-based firm is the brainchild of Dr Blackhall and business partner Dean Spaccavento.
Reposit Power has developed software - in the form of a computer program and phone app - that allows consumers to determine their energy usage and generation, and how much energy is being generated from solar and how much is being drawn from the grid.
"We've been working on this since 2011," Dr Blackhall says.
"Being able to demonstrate that with Tesla really was where their interest was garnered, because they saw we have a world-leading capability."
The Tesla agreement adds to an already successful 2015 for Reposit Power, with the business already starting work with West Australian firm Magellan earlier in the year.
"There are a large number of manufacturers all over the world who currently have storage on the cusp of being available or currently available, and the vision for Reposit is our system sits on every single one of them," he says.
Dr Blackhall says if he hadn't come to ANU in 2007 to do his PhD, Reposit Power may never have formed.
"I had a wonderful time. It's a fantastic university with great people, and it really trained me well in not just the technical side of my life as an engineer, but also how to solve big meaty problems where you don't necessarily know the answer ahead of time," he says.
He still has strong ties with ANU.
"I'm an adjunct and still teach. Previously we've built a power lab in the Engineering department to demonstrate the technology we've been working on," he says.
"You never know the kind of skills and expertise you need. Being able to go back to university and talk to my professors and colleagues when needed is fantastic."
In March, Dr Blackhall received a Vice-Chancellor's Commendation in the ANU Alumni of the Year awards.