The first module of EDP's new global program for energy startups, which aims to find innovative technologies that can be adapted to the operations of international utilities, starts today in Madrid. Created with the purpose of bringing together EDP's various innovation tools, the first edition of the Starter Acceleration Program received about 500 applications from around the world - especially Brazil, the United States, Mexico, India and the United Kingdom, which shows the initiative's global reach. Most of the startups come from areas such as digital innovation, clean energies, and customer-focused solutions.
For the module that starts today, the jury has selected the 10 European startups with the greatest potential. They all work in key innovation areas for the energy sector, which have been prioritized by EDP, such as energy production forecasting, artificial intelligence, customer-focused services, digitization, and smart grids. The finalists come from Spain, Italy, France, Estonia, Greece, Poland, Germany and the United Kingdom.
Three international utilities have decided to join the first edition of the EDP Starter Acceleration Program and become partners of its European module: American Electric Power (a company with over five million customers in 11 US states), Turning Tables (an innovation-focused subsidiary of the Spanish group Cuerva), and Verbund (Austria's largest electricity supplier). The program also includes L Marks and Ace, two companies specializing in innovation and entrepreneurship projects worldwide.
The European module will allow these startups to discover the needs of the four partnering utilities, which together boast more than 16 million customers. The teams will have the chance to pitch their ideas for the energy sector and be accompanied in the development of their products and solutions: they will have access to various kinds of support and benefits, such as the advice of innovation and marketing experts, among others.
This intensive work week will be replicated in São Paulo, Brazil (July) and in Houston, Texas (September) with the remaining selected teams. The projects with the highest potential will be selected for the big final, and the winner will be selected during the Web Summit in Lisbon (November). The finalists will have their own booth at Europe's largest innovation and entrepreneurship event so they can showcase their products and look for business opportunities.
The geographic diversity of applicant and selected startups shows that the program truly has a global reach, which was our goal when we created it. We look forward to hosting the 10 European finalists, getting to know their projects, and finding out how we can work together. Open innovation is more and more the future of this sector," says EDP Group Innovation Director, Carla Pimenta.
The Starter Acceleration Program brings together in a single global program the various innovation programs that EDP has created over the years in the countries where it operates: EDP Open Innovation and EDP Starter Spain and Brazil.