Ubiquitous smart meters are a key infrastructure component for the smart green utilities of the future because they generate a lot of valuable data and enable new energy services and dynamic pricing. In fact, it is a surprise that smart meter rollouts happen rather slowly in most countries due to slow regulators and hesitant utilities that are not yet ready to make substantial upfront investments in millions of smart meters that may bring more economic benefits to consumers than to the utilities themselves. Luckily, the Nordic countries and their resident startups have a headstart. Today, Düsseldorf-based corporate VC Statkraft Ventures leads the $5M Series A in Greenbird teaming up with London-based ETF Partners who were on the top of their potential co-investor list. The Norwegian energy IoT startup is Statkraft’s second investment this year after DEPsys from Switzerland in June.Read more
We believe that startups need corporates and corporates need startups. Startups need corporates as development partners, customers, distribution channels and investors to make better products and grow faster. At the same time, corporates need startups to sell new products to their customer base and survive the global competition. By connecting the companies that should be connected, Ecosummit accelerates startups, investors and corporates with a focus on smart green energy, mobility and cities. Our unique conferences are a physical marketplace enabling personal meetings and long-term relationships in a relaxed and productive atmosphere. Our next Ecosummit takes place on 11 October 2016 at CodeNode in the City of London. The agenda features 37 startup pitches and the conference will be recorded for our YouTube channel Ecosummit TV. Check out our participants, get your tickets and join us. Let’s warm up with a few innovation stories that will be elaborated at ECO16 London.Read more
Ecosummit TV: Selling PV systems online is a great business idea for a smart green startup. You can grow at Internet speed and drive the Energiewende by spreading renewable energy. If you want to build your startup in a capital efficient way with a small burn rate, it is also a good idea to minimise your customer acquisition costs by adopting a B2B business model and working with distribution partners. This is exactly what CEO Florian Meyer-Delpho and his co-founders did in 2012 when they launched Greenergetic as a white label portal for utilities to sell PV systems to their customers. At ECO15 Berlin in May, Florian pitched Greenergetic to increase investor demand for their €2M financing round (see Ecosummit TV video below). On 15 December 2015, RWE Vertrieb, the German sales company of RWE with 4 million customers and €12B revenues, announced their minority investment in Greenergetic. While the terms of the deal are undisclosed, we assume that Florian managed to raise a bit more than he was looking for given that Greenergetic expected €5M revenues in 2015.Read more
Ecosummit TV: We just met Ines Bergmann at the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco where she is spending 6 months scouting new innovation that can be brought to Europe. At ECO14 Berlin, Ines pitches the benefits of corporate venture capital provided by E.ON. The German utility is one of the most active corporate co-investors in smart energy startups. E.ON’s added value is rolling out the products of their portfolio companies to their 35 million customers, increasing startup revenues one market after the other. This turns out to be a very useful market entry strategy especially for US startups planning to enter Europe. E.ON’s portfolio includes Orcan Energy (ECO14 Award Bronze), Thermondo, Autogrid, Firstfuel, Sungevity, Opower and Bloom Energy. While many utilities are also working on becoming technology companies, it remains to be seen when E.ON’s CVC activities will result in the first acquisitions.Read more
Ecosummit TV: Jan Marckhoff pitches BEN Energy at ECO14 Berlin. The smart green startup enables customer intelligence and engagement for utilities and competes with Opower and Tendril. Being the market leader in Switzerland, BEN Energy recently entered the German market and already won a large customer and a powerful distribution partner. The founders successfully bootstrapped their spin-off from ETH Zurich to €1M annual revenues and are currently raising their first financing round. Jan will pitch again at ECO15 Berlin to change the way people experience energy.Read more
Ecosummit TV: Felix Grolman pitches Grundgrün at ECO14 Berlin. The Berlin-based startup is building a next generation smart green utility focusing 100% on renewable energy. Grundgrün’s core business is the direct marketing of renewable energy assets that they sell on short-term, long-term and balancing markets as well as directly to households and companies. The key to their success is an integrated IT infrastructure that enables sourcing, trading and distribution of energy as well as innovative energy services such as virtual power plants and production forecasting. Founded in 2011, Grundgrün is a fast-growing late stage startup with a team of 65 employees and backed by the family office Aeris Capital. Grundgrün is currently fundraising to further accelerate growth in Germany and new international markets.Read more
Ecosummit TV: Susana Quintana-Plaza presents the co-investment strategy of EON at ECO13 London. Since 2013 the German utility has been very active as a corporate co-investor in the US and Europe having made 9 direct investments including Opower, Sungevity, Bloom Energy, Orcan Energy (ECO14 Award Bronze) and, most recently, Berlin-based heating system online retailer Thermondo. EON also made 1 fund investment into the American VC Westly Group to quickly learn the trade. With 35 million customers and revenues of €122.5B in 2013, EON co-invests with the aim of rolling out the startups’ products to their customer base to help generate new revenues. This means that startups should have a competitive product and revenues to get EON excited about a participation. The next opportunity to pitch to Susana and her team is ECO14 London on 7-8 October.Read more
Ecosummit TV: Jan Marckhoff pitches Ben Energy at ECO13 Berlin. The Swiss startup is a spin-off from ETH Zurich and already provides their customer engagement solution to 17 utilities in Switzerland, covering 25% of the Swiss market. Being financed by the founders and customers so far, Ben Energy now looks for €1.2M Series A to increase their sales team in Germany and other new territories. Ben Energy competes with Opower that raised $65M and has got 400 employees. Comparing the two startups, it’s fair to say that the really lean startup comes from Switzerland. In my personal opinion, Ben Energy is a great investment opportunity for any cleantech VC who likes fast scalable business models that are capital-light and proven in the market. Opower may be their exit channel.Read more
Ecosummit TV: Urban Keussen presents EON’s innovation strategy for its smart green utility transformation and introduces their new corporate venture capital (CVC) activities. At ECO12 Duesseldorf, Urban announced EON’s CVC called “Connecting Energies” that co-invests in mid and late stage startups in Europe and the US that are focused on distributed renewable energy, energy storage, smart grid and customers and data. Moreover, Urban and his team work on a lot of innovation that does not have a business case yet but may well have in the future. Thus they are open for joint projects with smart green startups, especially if their solution is able to accelerate the Energiewende (energy transformation), the key task of all utilities.Read more
Ecosummit TV: Bernard Scherrer discusses open innovation at EDF, one of the biggest utilities in Europe. Part of the long-term innovation strategy is the new corporate venture capital fund called Electranova Capital that already made 2 startup investments in Actility (smart grid M2M applications) and Seatower (offshore wind foundations). To get the cooperation started, Bernard and his colleague Valerie are interested in doing pilot projects with the best cleantech startups in Europe that fit into their open innovation areas. Please get in touch if you are interested in doing business with EDF.Read more
Ecosummit TV: Urban Keussen, SVP Technology & Innovation, presents the smart green innovation strategy of EON at ECO12 Berlin. Urban gives a very informative lecture on how a big utility like EON analyses megatrends and new key technologies that are decisive for the Energiewende (energy transformation). Although EON is still very active in large-scale energy generation with fossil fuels, it invested over €7B in renewables during the last couple of years, mostly in wind. Urban is the perfect point of contact for high-quality cleantech startups that are interested in doing business with EON. We look forward to his upcoming talk at ECO12 Düsseldorf.Read more
“Our goal is to become the largest provider of clean distributed energy in the world.” Elon Musk, super hero of the Smart Green Economy, is doing it again. As Chairman and biggest shareholder, Elon prepares for his third IPO after PayPal (2002) and Tesla Motors (2010) and positions Solarcity as the smart green utility of the future. Solarcity just filed for its long-awaited Initial Public Offering on NASDAQ by registering the Form S-1 with the SEC. While IPO date, volume and share price are to be defined, reading this investment prospectus is highly recommended. Update: On 27 November 2012, the price range ($13 to $15) and the volume (10.065.012 shares) was announced (S-1 Amendment 27.11.12).Read more
Ecosummit TV: Jakob Assmann pitches Polarstern at ECO12 Berlin. Polarstern is a German startup that positions as a retailer of green electricity and green gas. They have big plans and believe they can be more innovative than the big utilities because they are fast, smart and green. Polarstern is based in Munich, raised €350K and has 12 employees. Polarstern claims to be the first utility in Germany that can offer a green gas product at a competitive price as a result of having developed their own green gas trading system.Read more
Ecosummit TV: Yueksel Sirmasac, Founder and CEO, pitches Rockethome from Cologne. The German startup provides a software platform to utilities and enables them to offer userfriendly smart home and smart energy applications. Rockethome was founded in 2010, has 25 employees and already 30 customers. Rockethome provides a connected platform that analyses and optimises energy consumption and production data, e.g. from solar or CHP systems, and enables the user to change his energy behaviour with the help of a smart home control system.Read more
Ecosummit TV: Norbert Verweyen, Managing Director of RWE Effizienz, showcases the strategy of his smart green utility speedboat which is able to launch new products more quickly than the mother ship RWE. Making money with energy efficiency is a big challenge for utilities and it’s a smart move of RWE to create their own startup with a lot of freedom to try out new ideas in the market. RWE Effizienz can be a good distribution channel for startups that have useful products at competitive prices. If you are active in electric mobility, home automation or decentralised generation you should get in touch with Norbert and his team.Read more
Ecosummit TV: Rolf Adam, Business Development Director Smart Grid and Utilties of Cisco in Europe, shares his thinking about the future of the smart grid and the Internet of things at Ecosummit Berlin 2012. Industry transitions don’t wait for anyone to happen. The energy industry is changing dramatically and utilities have to build a new energy platform to manage this disruptive change. Cisco calls its energy strategy Gridonomics and it’s about the future of the entire energy system combining technology, economics and policy.Read more
Ecosummit TV: Joerg Fabri, Managing Partner of the consulting firm allocate, talks about a holistic business strategy for the utilities to manage the energy turnaround (Energiewende). To implement the transformation to the clean energy system companies need to reallocate their 4 key corporate resources: capacities, capital, people and energy and materials. There is a new paradigm driven by energy efficiency which means that the former business model of megawatt growth will not work anymore. The smart green utility of the future has to become an allocation manager that learns how to better manage the increasing complexity in the supply side and the demand side.Read more
Ecosummit TV: Corporates are elephants and startups are mice. EDF is the French utility elephant on its long way to become a smart green utility. Bernard Scherrer is Head of Open Innovation at EDF and his job is to bring external innovation inside and internal innovation outside. It’s encouraging to see that corporate elephants make an effort to become friends with startup mice. Talk to Bernard if you are a smart green startup and want to do a pilot project with EDF. The best of you may even end up as new suppliers of EDF. To get a briefing on EDF’s open innovation strategy, watch Bernard’s authentic ECO12 talk on Ecosummit TV. I also recommend the fantastic books of Henry Chesbrough who believes that open innovation is the best strategy to innovate in a hyperconnected and hypercollaborative economy.Read more
If we make energy more expensive, consumers and companies will make a big effort to save energy. At Ecosummit 2011, I moderated an expert panel about the Smart Green Utility of the Future. Panelists include (from left): Joerg Fabri (allocate), moderator Jan Michael Hess (Ecosummit), Andre Shortell (GP Bullhound), Robert Werner (Greenpeace Energy) and Rolf Adam (Cisco). A smart green utility offers 100% renewable energy and helps clients save energy with smart green services and transparent tariffs.Read more
Going smart green now should be our motivation on all levels. For the smart green transformation I propose a strategy based on 7 pillars. This strategy has to be elaborated into a full-featured global master plan. I invite everybody to contribute to the elaboration of the global master plan and to join its execution.
1. Our global goal should be the fast transformation to the Smart Green Economy.
2. Cities are the epicentre of economic activity and must go smart green now.
3. Companies should adopt smart green strategies offering sustainable products and services.
4. Fast cost reduction of smart green technologies is the key leverage for the mass market.
5. We have to change our lifestyle and become smart green consumers.
6. We have to shift political and financial power to the United Nations.
7. Huge investments of human and financial capital are necessary.
Let’s start now, improve continuously, measure our progress every year and use open innovation and transparent communication so that we can learn from each other. Let’s share our ideas and know-how online on a global scale.