“Participating startups have access to a 12.000 strong audience of industry professionals”, says Sietske Jacobs, project manager at Initiate!, about “Accelerate 2 Initiate!”. The startup program is a feature of European Utility Week (EUW) that counts as the premier landmark event in Europe for the entire smart utility sector and beyond. The 2018 event takes place from 6th to 8th November 2018 in Vienna. For the “Accelerate 2 Initiate!” program, EUW partners with Vienna’s Blue Minds Company and the Viennese startup hub WeXelerate. “The ‚Accelerate 2 Initiate!‘ program provides a new form of innovating within the industry”, says Lorena Skiljan, Partner at Blue Minds Company and part of the EUW advisory board.
50 spots in the “startup pavillion” at EUW
“We started ‚Initiate!‘ a few years ago. We wanted a ’safe haven‘ for startups within EUW in order to show the innovation to our traditional audience”, says Jacobs. The “traditional audience” she talks about are the global industry leaders of the energy sector. The program grew bigger since then. For this year’s event, there are 50 spots reserved for startups at EUW on the Initiate! “startup pavillion”. And all 50 participating startups can benefit from this years biggest novelty. “With ‚Accelerate 2 Initiate!‘, we started a more tangible program that goes beyond the three days event”, Jacobs explains.
“Enormous treasure of creativity and agile work flow”
Throughout the program the startups receive coaching and mentoring. In a matchmaking process, they are selected by participating corporates. Depending on the requirements of each corporate, the selected startups already work on a common strategy and suitable business cases prior to EUW. “Startups bring an enormous treasure of creativity and agile work flow into this partnership. Rather conservative corporates can benefit strongly from this spirit”, says Sklijan.
Video Interview with Sietske Jacobs and Lorena Skiljan:
From storage over smart meters to energy usage awareness
The program call is out for “all smart energy startups that wish to showcase their solutions, do business with and network amongst key accelerators, innovation managers, corporate, utility and private VC’s”, as Jacobs puts it. However there’s a focus on Innovation in the areas of energy storage, smart homes, meters & grids, collective and decentralized energy generation & distribution, smart generation, energy reduction and energy usage awareness. “The big corporations of course do a lot of R&D inhouse. But we want to give them another impulse by introducing them to the startup ecosystem”, says Skiljan.
An MVP, a team of three and initial traction
The criteria for applicants are clearly lined out. “They have to have a minimum viable product (MVP). They must have a team of three people at minimum. And they have to have already gained initial traction. Because that is really what the utility sector is after”, explains Sietske Jacobs. Software startups can be up to five years old, hardware startups up to eight years old. “The reason for that difference is simple: It’s just easier to deploy a software service. There is less less R&D investment and less money needed in order to have your MVP”, says Jacobs. The startups that do not fit into the set criteria are still welcomed to join the event free of charge and attend the networking event.
Dates & Deadlines
Startups can apply until June 30th. The first selection process will be completed by the beginning of August. The corporate startup matchmaking will be carried out throughout September. After the European Utility Week from 6th to 8th November corporates and startups start implementing their pilots.