Free Electrons, the first global energy startup accelerator program, that connects the world’s most promising energy startup companies with leading utility companies, just finished selecting the final 30 startups that will now go into the Bootcamp.
The United States and Germany, with 5 startups each, France and Australia, with 3 each, and Portugal and the United Kingdom with 2 each, are the biggest contributors. Nonetheless, an international array of nationalities such as Bangladesh, China, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates are also represented.
If we look at the categories of the applications, 30% are focused on IoT & Digitization, 27% are from the Smart Grids field, 13% are dedicated to Clean Energy, and 10% are looking into Energy Management.
In total, the program received 515 applications, from 65 different countries, a testament to the global reach of this initiative.
“We are very pleased with this final list, since it represents the great diversity we found in this applications process. It is not easy to pick and choose from 515 different applications, but we had solid debates and discussions, and were able to narrow the list down to 30. I believe this speaks to the overall quality of the candidates which is a testament to the program as we are looking for innovative solutions, that can be adopted and integrated in our companies in an effort to help shape the future of the energy sector”, says Luis Manuel, Executive Board Member at EDP Innovation.
The Free Electrons utility members are Ausnet Services (Australia), DEWA (Dubai), EDP (Portugal), ESB (Ireland), Innogy (Germany), Origin Energy (Australia), SP Group (Singapore) and Tokyo Electric Power Company (Japan), with also the participation of American Electric Power (USA). The program is supported by Beta-i (Portugal).
Three international modules held across the globe are the cornerstone of Free Electrons. During the course of the program participants will work closely with local players, utilities, mentors and other resources in order to accelerate their company’s growth.
Initially a one week selection Bootcamp will be held in Lisbon (Portugal) from April 3 to 6. The 1st Module will take place, in Sydney/Melbourne (Australia). The 2nd Module will occur in Silicon Valley (USA), and the final stage will close the program in Berlin (Germany), in October.
The utilities backing Free Electrons are leading innovation in the energy sector. This project is a testimony of their commitment to work with startups in building the future of the sector with clean, smart and widely accessible energy.
Free Electrons 2017 generated an overall financial value of contracts signed between the 12 startups and the 8 utilities of about 2 million dollars, with a pipeline of ongoing opportunities surpassing 12 million dollars.
About Free Electrons
The Free Electrons Program is the best opportunity for startups in the energy space to grow and develop their businesses. The energy market has seen rapid changes in recent years with the rise of renewables, decentralization of the energy system, regulatory uncertainties and disruptive new technologies. To stay ahead, there is a strong need for utilities to source more innovation externally and consider the ‘beyond utilities’ business models.