Is your startup company using internet technology and game changing business models to accelerate the world’s transition to a sustainable energy supply? Empowering your local buildings, neighborhoods, or industrial sites to become energy independent through microgrid autonomy? Or collecting data from smart meters and IoT devices to create energy services and improve efficiency & security? The Smart Energy Accelerator program launched by Rockstart might be for you! We asked Pauline Massé, Program Associate Smart Energy at Rockstart, to tell us more about the initiative for which you can apply until February 17.
What is the program about?
Rockstart Smart Energy program accelerates startups at the intersection of IT and energy. Located in Amsterdam, Netherlands, the 150-days program incorporates an extensive network of smart energy mentors, partners, and investors. The first program launched in 2014. At the moment, we are preparing the 4th edition, which will start early April 2017. To join our accelerator, startups can apply on our website until February 17th – more info and the link to apply here.
Why did you chose to focus on that specific topic?
At Rockstart, we love looking at typically “old” markets that are in need of disruption and innovation. That is why we created a Smart Energy Accelerator in 2014, and a Digital Health Accelerator in 2015, in addition to our initial accelerator, Web & Mobile program, which is running since 2011.
How many startups do you expect to accelerate? What kind of startups?
Each year, 10 startups are selected to join Rockstart Smart Energy Accelerator. We are currently looking for early-stage startups, with at least a MVP (minimum viable product) or working prototype, and some serious traction – which can be users or customers, pilot projects, market research, etc. Another important criteria for us is the founders’ team; at least two founders are expected to work in Amsterdam while the program is running.
Who is leading the program?
The program is led by Freerk Bisschop. Freerk has been engaged in innovation and growth in sustainable energy since the 1980’s. He founded Planet B Ventures in 2011, to make ideas and investments work in sustainable energy and carbon cleantech. As program director of the Smart Energy Accelerator, Freerk establishes the vision and focus of each editions, as well as provide hands-on support and mentoring to the 10 startups participating in the program.
How do you support the startups?
We have created a strong curriculum that help startups build, validate and scale their businesses, as well as find the best international product/market fit. Our program is specifically designed to enable startups to work directly with relevant suppliers, users, professionals and other stakeholders in energy and tech. In 150 days, the startups will attend more than 40 workshops where they will be trained by mentors, experts and coaches. They will pitch at 6 exclusive international Rockstart events to meet with potential partners and investors. They will have access to a community of 80 smart energy mentors, whose expertise encompasses nearly all areas of the energy business – from corporate to startups, tech to financial, grid to light bulb.
What are the current trends in the Smart Energy sector?
We watch carefully what is happening in the energy sector, in order to establish our focus for each editions of the program. We believe that the future of energy is decentralised, decarbonised, and digital. This year, we are specifically interested in startups in the field of:
- Autonomous grids – local grids connecting production, consumption and storage of energy.
- Intelligence and security – using AI and IoT, collecting and sharing data to allow predictive services, and to improve efficiency and security.
- Game changers – startups with different business models that accelerate the deployment of energy efficiency and renewables to achieve a faster energy transition.