On a stifling hot December day, I walk through the doors of the Experimedia Hall at the Victorian State Library to find a sea of glowing faces - people on phones speaking languages I can’t make out, some madly editing google slide presentations on their Macs and some waving their hands in grandeur explaining where their fabulous idea is at.
Welcome to Startupbootcamp Selection Days - where 20 of the best global energy sector startups vie for the attention of experts, partners and advisors in the hope that they’re offered one of 11 positions in the 2018 Energy Australia Startupbootcamp (SBC) cohort.
So what is Startupbootcamp?
Founded in Copenhagen in 2010, SBC are a global family of industry-focused programs, supporting early-stage tech founders to rapidly scale their startups by providing direct access to an international network of the most relevant mentors, partners, and investors in their industry. Overseas SBC Alumni include fintech startup Insly, Internet of Things company Relayr and aviation disruptors Undagrid. DiUS is thrilled to be a mentoring partner for the 2018 Energy Australia edition.
The local edition is focussed on solving problems in energy efficiency, energy independence, digitisation and analytics. Given DiUS’s deep expertise in these areas, partnering with SBC was a no-brainer.
Adding value to the SBC program:
Making new things happen is hard. It requires a rare combination of inspiration, persistence and willingness to adapt and pivot, which is what we believe that the Top 11 SBC startups undoubtedly have. Experience also plays a big part in success. Some say DiUS has been Australia’s best kept business secret for the past 14 years. Whether true or not, we know we are well placed to help these startups avoid common business pitfalls.
We’re looking forward to sharing our specific energy learnings with the SBC cohort - having collected deep expertise in the sector since 2008 - around the same time Spotify was founded (don’t we feel old!). Our biggest highlights include delivering local innovations via the Victorian Smart Meter rollout initiative, designing and developing the world’s first ZigBee certified electric vehicle charger (ChargeIQ), building digital solutions for United Energy, a long-standing partnership with Jemena Gas, in-home energy devices for Origin Energy, solar sensor trials with Powershop and more recently entering the market with a low-cost consumer power sensor.
The lessons that we’ll share come from working with organisations of all different shapes and sizes. From stealth enterprise startups, to large digital transformations. From companies in danger of losing market share, to those making gallant hero comebacks. From unpacking enormous monolithic systems, to lean architecture and ways of working. Our aim is to package up our lessons learnt and help the startups with the ‘how’ of innovation through experimentation, product thinking, and a culture of continuous learning.
The journeys I will be following closely
Almost every industry is dreaming up the infinite possibilities that blockchain can deliver. Nikolaj Martyniuk and the team at WePower are bringing the dream to life - in full colour. WePower is a blockchain-based green energy trading platform that enables green energy producers to raise capital by issuing tradable energy tokens. Since nurturing his idea from January 2017, WePower has seen some great wins, including platform launches in Portugal, Germany and Spain. Next stop? Australia.
You can read a great article here.
Cognitum present a product that in real time amplifies human intelligence in cognitively demanding tasks for better decision-making in government and health sectors. While the startup has completed successful trials in clinical decision and fraud detection systems, what we love about it is that the ultimate use case for the technology is still to be pinpointed. DiUS is keen to support ideation, design sprints and other techniques to understand how Cognitum can find and scale an impactful solution for a wicked problem.
Uprise Energy, California
Disaster recovery, remote farming villages and third world communities who are in need of electricity. These are only a handful of use cases that will benefit from the technology that the Uprise Energy team has concocted. Uprise is a San Diego based startup that will be famous for their 50Kw mobile wind turbine and their 100Kw semi-portable turbine. Analogous (for me) to going camping and pitching a tent, both contraptions can fit into a shipping container, be towed behind a truck, and can be setup in a couple of hours by a single person.
You can read some great stuff on Uprise here.
The startups in Energy Australia Startupbootcamp are tackling a challenge that affects our collective future. Energy is an important community and environmental issue that we know we can help solve. We are inspired by their efforts to use emerging technology and clever thinking to create a better tomorrow. All of us at DiUS wish them the best of luck.