15 start-ups selected for global energy accelerator programme

12 Apr 2018

The 15 energy start-ups were chosen from hundreds of applicants. Image: AZMIL/Shutterstock

The Free Electrons global energy start-up accelerator programme chooses its finalists.

15 of the world’s most promising energy start-ups are joining the Free Electrons accelerator programme, which will connect them with leading worldwide utility companies.

Start-ups from the US, Portugal, the UK, Bangladesh, China and Ireland are among the countries represented in the cohort.

Limerick company makes the cut

Limerick start-up Gridwatch is one of the 15 companies chosen out of 515 original applications. It provides analytics and data monitoring for energy utilities, and stands to reap major benefits from its participation in the initiative.

Paul Mulvaney, head of innovation at ESB, said: “We are delighted to be supporting cleantech start-ups from around the world to share expertise and ultimately deliver new energy products and services to our customers in the Irish and UK market.

“The fact ESB is working with three participants of last year’s Free Electrons programme to roll out new products is testament to the success of this hands-on initiative.”

Luis Manuel, executive board member at EDP Innovation, which hosted this stage of the accelerator, said: “It was not easy to pick and choose from such a strong batch; in fact, in the end, we had to choose 15 and not the 12 we intended, and I believe that says a lot about the global quality of the programme.”

An international accelerator

The Free Electrons scheme will see participants work with local players, utilities, mentors and other resources to nurture the growth of their respective start-ups.

The first module will take place in Sydney and Melbourne and will then move to Silicon Valley for the second stage. Berlin will host the final stage in October of this year. The winning start-up will walk away with a $200,000 prize.

In 2017, the programme generated an overall financial value of contracts signed between the 12 start-ups and the eight utilities of about $2m, with a pipeline of ongoing opportunities surpassing $12m.

The Free Electrons founders are: AusNet Services (Australia), DEWA (Dubai), EDP (Portugal), ESB (Ireland), Innogy (Germany), Origin Energy (Australia), SP Group (Singapore), Tokyo Electric Power Company (Japan) and American Electric Power (US).

The final 15

  • Adaptricity (Switzerland)
  • EQuota Energy (China)
  • Fresh Energy (Germany)
  • Greenbird (Norway)
  • Gridcure (US)
  • Gridwatch (Ireland)
  • Howz (UK)
  • Jungle AI (Portugal)
  • Kisensum (US)
  • Loqr (Portugal)
  • SOLshare (Bangladesh)
  • Orison (US)
  • Relectrify (Australia)
  • Sterblue (France)
  • Verv Energy (UK)

Updated, 4.13pm, 12 April 2018: This article was updated to correct a mistaken figure in relation to the overall financial value of contracts signed in 2017, and also to attribute a quote to Paul Mulvaney.

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects