Free Electrons 2021 Bootcamp is taking place this week, from May 24 to May 27. Four days for the selected startups to showcase their solutions and their teams through a fast-paced pitch event and participate in intense one-on-one meetings with the utilities. Out of hundreds of applications, these were the Bootcamp selected:
Apollo Power is an innovation company in the field of Energy. We use our proprietary technology to produce a flexible, durable, lightweight solar film to solve different energy challenges in a new way, both on water, in the air, for infrastructure, or in the automotive industry.
BLIXT disrupts a 100-year-old industry replacing mechanical circuit breakers with smart digital devices. The Blixt Zero SSCB is x1000 faster, provides circuit level metering and remote real time control of power – all-in-one single device.
bsurance is a B2B2C, white-label insurtech company focusing on Embedded Insurance. The essence of our business model is to provide insurance to the customer the very moment it becomes relevant within the customer journey, inevitably connecting it to the product or service of their interest, without any interruption of their purchasing process.
Camus Energy is building an open source software platform to enable the future Distribution System Operator (DSO). Camus’ platform empowers industry leaders to safely and strategically manage a rapidly changing grid environment.
Electron’s solution is a configurable platform for local flexibility markets. Our software enables companies such as network utilities, municipal suppliers and others to launch and operate markets, communicate with distributed energy resources through price signals, and optimize their combined use of renewable generation or network capacity.
Eliq is the SaaS platform that enables energy companies to deploy applications that help end-customers better understand and manage their energy usage and accelerate their participation in the energy transition.
We sensorise existing installed Fiber Optic cables (usually telco fiber in cities, or for subsea High Voltage lines dark fiber installed along the cable, for overhead OPGW fiber is usually already available).
State-of-the-art artificial intelligence software solutions for the energy market. FSIGHT’s AI technology platform is specifically built to take advantage of the new decentralized energy market and smart metering data to increase revenues and reduce costs.
Gilytics delivers a Cloud GIS-based platform and service solution allowing users to calculate alternative routes for power lines, pipelines, roads, and railways, helping energy, engineering and transport companies save time, money and CO2 with better data, visuals, and communication to grow.
GO TO-U is a platform for electric vehicle (EV) charging management and operations. Our proprietary software technology enables charge point operators to drive 2x higher utilization of charging locations, enhancing EV drivers’ satisfaction and loyalty.
Creates a sophisticated digital twin of your existing and future energy projects, running thousands of simulations in a single click, optimising technology & commercial decisions across far more variables than was previously possible, to drive the best possible environmental and financial outcomes.
Through its unique 3D reality models, AI algorithms, and workflow integration, Clarity delivers benefits in business continuity, knowledge management, cost reduction, remote cooperation, and digital transformation.
Over the years, we have developed pipe-inspection services with ROVs and AUVs and their maintenance and repair together with IoT for water applications, besides a range of underwater inspection products.
An integrated solution that is designed to provide field employees in industries such as Power/Utilities, AEC/ Construction, Industrial Equipment and Oil/Gas and others an integrated experience for real-time collaboration, knowledge management and to leverage remote experts who can better help them get their job done.
Such a week! From 3rd to the 7th of February, the SOL Mobility bootcamp brought 25 startups from 13 different countries to present their solutions for urban mobility to the public and corporate partners of this Smart Open Lisboa (SOL) vertical edition. Urban mobility is a context where convergence is absolutely crucial to make change happen, so the collaborative innovation approach managed by Beta-i on this Open Innovation program just fits like a glove.
And after five days of intense collaboration between corporates and startups, always under Beta-i guidance and experts team support, 17 out of these 25 startups were invited to keep working with the companies, in order to develop the stunning number of 30+ pilots from now on. Check this quick video:
Such achievement was only possible because of the partner’s vision and commitment to tackle some of Lisbon’s biggest mobility challenges: from E-mobility to Digital & Personalized Mobility, from Smart Parking to Fleet, Asset and Traffic Management. They were able not only to select promising solutions from international startups but also to set up joint pilots – the best metric to translate the true collaborative innovation culture enforced by Beta-i on a daily basis.
“Our challenges are so big and diverse. That’s why this is a very good program since it enables us to work with different companies, partners and people to get different solutions“, points out the Head of the Municipal Mobility & Transport Directorate in Lisbon, Francisca Ramalhosa. She adds that “think and act like a startup” is also a huge cultural challenge – a common topic shared by some other partners, such as CP, which is currently implementing a strategic planning and innovation area. “It is crucial for us to be aware of the changes in our industry and stay open for a dialogue with a new generation of mobility solutions, so programs like this are really important”, adds CP Sectorial Supervisor, Teresa Sousa.
International and fully private companies also acknowledge the need for mutual collaboration to boost new models. “You can’t solve problems being isolated or alone. We must converge our efforts and combine solutions”, says Director for Connected Mobility at Siemens, Andy Gill. “So getting to know these high-quality startups during the program, and partnering with those who see us as a valuable partner to move forward is a fantastic model”. His thoughts also resonate on Galp, the Portuguese-based energy company that recently announced its shift as the biggest solar energy player in the Iberian Peninsula. “We’re diversifying our energy sources, and this shift must be accompanied by other strategic moves”, adds Galp Head of Innovation and Energy Efficiency, Nicolle Fernandes. “That’s what we understand SOL Mobility as a valuable program to help us see new ways of doing things and push for tangible innovation, perceived by our final clients”.
Lisbon has won the title of European Green Capital 2020, and one of the reasons is that Lisbon has a cohesive city-wide vision for sustainable urban mobility. This is achieved through measures to restrict car use and prioritise walking, cycling and public transport, and also by promoting programs like Smart Open Lisboa. This year the City Council also signed a Corporate Mobility Pact with several local partners (companies and institutions) with a set of commitments designed to make mobility in Lisbon more sustainable, through means such as creating conditions for employees to adopt new solutions and mobility behaviours.
So get ready for May, when all the pilot development impact results will be presented during SOL Mobility Demo Day: stay smart & open – oops, stay tuned 🙂
The Open Innovation programs The Journey and Protechting achieved major pilot results – involving 23 startups from 15 countries, in three continents – to develop new solutions on Tourism, Fintech, Insurtech and Healthtech businesses
The crucial moment for establishing collaborative processes between corporates and startups, within Open Innovation programs, is unquestionably the Bootcamp. Under the method implemented by Beta-i over the years (and it’s been a decade!), Bootcamps are the turning point of every program, as the people behind the needs of organizations and the solutions brought by startups meet one on one, to develop something new – and collectively get achievable results.
The latest Beta-i Bootcamps on Tourism (The Journey) and the Fintech, Healthtech and Insurtech triad (Protechting) are a robust example of this process, with 29 pilots going to be considered and developed from 23 startups of 15 countries to impact both B2B and B2C fronts.
The Journey: innovation in Tourism
This Open Innovation program deals with one of the most interconnected industries of the contemporary era: Tourism, a gigantic cluster that generates economic, social and even identity consequences for the destinations visited. Goes without saying that the Tourism sector has been booming in Portugal for years in a row, and that’s why this Open Innovation program has been connecting key players in the Portuguese market with innovators from all over the world. “The Tourism Industry is one of the most competitive ones, and we must build everyday solutions and new services to our customers while envisioning the future,” explains Sergio Guerreiro, Senior Director Knowledge Management & Innovation from Turismo de Portugal, one of the organizations investing in the program alongside Barraqueiro Group, Parques de Sintra – Monte da Lua and Vila Galé Hotels (in addition to Unicre, a key payment solutions provider in the country that participates as a Data Partner).
Every innovator deserves a break: The Journey participants on a hop-on hop-off bus and boat
In its 4th edition, the program investigated and selected startups able to tackle Hospitality, Parks & Monuments and Tours & Activities pain points shared by our clients, then linked to themes such as Smart Connected Operations, Seamless Traveler Journey, Customer Experience and Sustainable Development Solutions. These scouting challenges emerge a result of the needs assessments carried out by Beta-i’s expert team alongside the participant corporates teams, so the process can converge to common goals from the very beginning – and so can be explored in the Bootcamp.
The result of this concerted effort generated in the end of October the excellent result of 17 pilots, from 11 startups of 6 countries in Europe and Asia. “This number is a result of the program’s direct response to these tourism operators challenges,” says Gonçalo Faria, Open Innovation Program Director at Beta-i, who also highlights “some very interesting solutions on water and energy efficiency, aiming for a more sustainable tourism”. The results of this collaboration will be known at the end of January 2020, when The Journey comes to an end with one of the key events for tourism innovation businesses in Portugal: the Lisbon Tourism Summit 2020, focused on sustainability and organized by Beta-i, which counts with The Journey’s Demo Day on its programming: in other words, the moment when the results of these collaboratively developed pilots are presented to the stakeholders.
Protechting: tackling multiple industry challenges and geographies
Bootcamps are a special moment because, as Beta-i Senior Growth Strategist Tomás Bento recalls, “startups come in very ambitious for the program, but sometimes lack the experience to make the best win-win connections with corporates. And we believe that our contribution is fundamental to trim every potential down to the very essentials, and help them set up a bolder pitch”. And that’s exactly what happened at the Protechting bootcamp, which ended on November 21st in Lisbon, where 12 pilots were selected out of 21 different startups from 12 countries in three continents. As Beta-i’s Program Director Francisco Carvalho adds, “thanks to this collaboration, some startups were able to fully adapt their technologies, turning their initial proposals into much more fit and desirable solutions for the participant corporates”.
Shiny happy people: corporates, startups and Beta-i celebrating the closing of Protechting Bootcamp
Protechting is defiant by definition as it brings together different industries under the leadership of the same shareholder, the Chinese group Fosun – the name behind companies such as Fidelidade (Insurtech track), Luz Saúde Learning Health (Healthtech track) and the German bank Hauck & Aufhäuser (Fintech track). The process was tailored to this consortium, which in addition to different industries also operates in different geographies and has a particular involvement with China. To solve that, two groups of startups were selected: one for pilots development, and another (with more primary business models, coming from other 5 countries) for a parallel mentoring and acceleration path. “We truly believe in Open Innovation. The Protechting program gives us access to startups from around the world, and in order to accommodate both our strategic and geographic goals, we created these two groups. The pre-acceleration one is focused on bringing startups from markets where we are expanding right now, such as Mozambique and Peru” says José Villa de Freitas, Fidelidade’s marketing manager.
This strategic ambition facilitated by Protechting is reinforced by Harald Patt, CEO at Fosun Europe Innovation Hub and Managing Director of Fosun’s Wealth Department and Fintech Sector. Responsible for the Chinese group’s deal flow on startups, Patt sees the program as a concrete way to incorporate new solutions into the company portfolio. “In addition to the areas where we operate around the world, it is important to remember that we´re deeply rooted in China and we are able to generate great opportunities there.”
Bootcamps are particularly prized by Patt, since it’s the crucial moment where original ideas, created to solve people and organizations daily problem, leverage their approaches as business models. “It’s exciting. Startups with good ideas and bad pitches often turn out to present amazing solutions at the end of the pilot phase. Not to mention that this is the moment of truth, where they must prove a differentiated and scalable technology”. What was a surprise in the beginning – a global open innovation program set up all the way from Portugal – now is the new normal to him: “although central Europe is not always paying attention, the Portuguese ecosystem is very active and we are aware of this”.
Starting next Monday, June 21st, 21 startups will be joining us at Beta-i for the Bluetech Bootcamp. The Bootcamp is an amazing opportunity to spend a week liaising with the program partners – getting to know them and their business, find common values, explore possibilities and co-create a mutually beneficial pilot.
Understand the bootcamp
The bootcamp is an essential part of any open-innovation program. In this stage, startups and partners meet in person for the first time, and will dedicate their time to know each other’s business and work together. It’s essential to go through the agenda and be ready for the different parts of the schedule in order to not miss opportunities!
Research the partners
If you applied to the program, you probably have a particular interest in working with one (or more) of the partners. It’s important to research the partners, and know as much as possible about their business, so you can take your one-on-one time to the next level, by asking all the right questions.
Be ready to learn on the workshops
On Bluetech Accelerator’s bootcamp, you’ll have the chance to attend workshops with Beta-i’s open-innovation specialists and learn how to build your pilot case. This is an essential skill in order to advance to the next stage of the program. It’s also an opportunity to share your concerns and doubts with skilled and experienced facilitators and ask for advice – they have done this before!
Take advantage of one-on-one meetings
The one-on-one meetings with the partners are extremely valuable for startups. Here, you can deepen your knowledge about the partners’ business, get a better sense of how you can help their business, and also to figure out any technical ou specific questions about the application of your solution. Also, be ready to present your business from different perspectives, tailored to each partners’ business.
Co-create the pilots
Now that you’ve learned how to build a pilot and that you know the partners well, it’s time to build your pilot proposal. Understand that the value is in the collaboration: take advantage of all moments with partners and other startups to share information and build the pilots together – making them more likely to be fulfilling or everybody’s goals and expectations.
Not everything is work, but almost! Downtime, like coffee breaks and cocktails are a perfect time to wind down, and get to know everyone personally. Connect with other successful startups and
leaders that are disrupting the Ports and Shipping industry – and keep yourself open to opportunities.
Make arrangements beforehand
Now that you’ve looked at the schedule and prepared for the bootcamp’s activities, make all your arrangements beforehand! The bootcamp has an action-packed schedule that will require your focus in order to make the best of it. So, it’s better to make all logistical arrangements – travelling, accommodation, an even have business engagements – beforehand.
Take advantage of our beautiful city, its beach, culture and food – you won’t regret it! Take a look at the handy city guide our team always sends to bootcamp participants!
One of the characteristics that make Free Electrons a huge opportunity for startups is that it is truly global: the startups joining the program will get a chance to work with 10 global utilities, with experience and big markets under their belt.
Let’s get to know two of the utilities that are part of the Free Electrons utility alliance.
American Electric Power – AEP
American Electric Power is based in Columbus, Ohio, and is focused on building a smarter energy infrastructure and delivering new technologies and custom energy solutions to its customers.
We spoke with Ram Sastry, the Vice President of Innovation and Technology at AEP, who highlighted the pilots developed in 2018: with Kisensum, whose software Energy Management storage platform allows owners of electric cars, building loads and solar panels to optimize and integrate all these resources and optimize them; Howz, whose app allows customers to monitor the activity of elderly loved ones and receive alerts in case of abnormal behavior; and a third one where they partnered up with a startup and three other utilities in the program to develop a pilot, coordinating common goals.
We learned a lot negotiating with each other and coming up with common goals and a common framework.
According to Sastry, the program is rich in learning, giving equal importance to the learnings utilities get from working from startups, but also the learning they get from working with each other.
To AEP is clear that energy utilities are not stuck in the past: the future will not be equal to the present and past, so Free Electrons’ utilities are ready to welcome startups and create the solutions and products consumers’ are waiting for.
Watch the whole interview:
A major player in the Australian energy industry, AusNet is Victoria’s largest energy delivery service business owning and operating approximately $11 billion of electricity and gas distribution assets that connect into more than 1.3 million homes and businesses.
We spoke with Chad Hymas, Executive General Manager of AusNet, who highlighted the pilots they developed in the last edition, like data analytics and energy sharing in order to create a new transactional future for energy.
AusNet is also pleased with the collaboration between utilities, as sharing information helps them move forward even with startups they didn’t started pilots with, and also come up with real global solutions that can shape the future.
The collaboration between utilities has helped us go back to Aperio [startup from Free Electrons ‘17], cause we know other members of Free Electrons are also using their solution, and that gives us the confidence to treat them a more mature vendor.
According to Hymas, to becoming winners (of the program but also of new clients), startups must make very clear from the beginning what is the added value they bring, the problem they are solving, and genuine about their business and what their mission is.
Watch the full interview below:
The first module of Free Electrons ‘19 will happen on the 21st – 24th of May in Columbus, Ohio, home of AEP. The objective of this first module will be to match solutions with concrete challenges and define a collaborative roadmap for the first pilot among startups and Utilities.