Applications opened on 9 January for a global energy startup accelerator program,called Free Electrons, backed by 8 utility companies from around the world. The programme’s stated objective is “To find and support the best startups all around the world that are ready to co-pilot the way towards a future where energy is smart, clean and easily accessible to everyone on earth”.
Participating utilities include Singapore Power, AusNet Services and Origin Energy from Australia, ESB (Electricity Supply Board) from Ireland, Tokyo Electric Power Company, Dubai Electricity and Water, AusNet Services, Energias de Portugal and innogy from Europe. These utilities serve a total of over 70 million customers in both electricity and gas and have over 148 billion USD in revenue across 40 countries. The programme managers are two silicon valley-based collaboration facilitators, New Energy Nexus and swissnex San Francisco.
The programme is seeking innovative start-ups from around the world in the areas of clean-energy, smart grids, energy management and efficiency, e-mobility, IoT and digitisation, on-demand customer services and more.
It is focused on finding advanced start-ups which have been already raised money and created a working prototype, and helping them scale-up rapidly.
Applicants must have an addressable market of at least USD 1 billion in size, a qualified and experienced team, an innovative solution with sustainable competitive advantage and a viable business model based on credible commercial and economic data and assumptions.
Applications close on 28 February and the finalists would be announced on 1st April. The programme for the finalists consists of three core modules in Silicon valley (29 April – 6 May), Lisbon and Dublin (24th June-1st July) and Singapore ( 16 September – 23 September).
Selected start-ups will receive advanced training in leadership skills, finance, be introduced to investors, have the opportunity to working with local start-ups and develop pilots with utility companies, which can help them scale their ideas. The utilities in turn get to source innovation and discover, test and adopt cutting-edge technology solutions.