A light and scalable blockchain to make the best use of the BSO (Build, Sell and Operate) model in renewable power plants: the idea, developed by the Roman startup Gimede, was the best at the Pitch Day of the first edition of the Enel Startup Program held on 5th February.
The purpose of the project was to provide a team of new entrepreneurs with the tools to validate and fine-tune different business ideas, through the lean startup methodology. During the programme, the teams were able to discuss projects and receive feedback from various Enel business line managers.
The five startup finalists were invited to present their projects to a panel of experts with the aim of validating their business model and having the opportunity to discuss the project with Enel. The evaluators included Ernesto Ciorra, Chief Innovability Officer at Enel and Claudio Rossi, chairman of Peekaboo.
“We are creating an ecosystem capable of listening to what Enel is looking for from an Open Innovability perspective, while also offering a socio-economic context in which to develop a business culture: we want to be the main drivers of change,” Ciorra said.
Finding the winner was not easy, as the scores awarded were all very close. The finalists came from an already highly selective pathway: from the 350 initial applications for the development of innovative ideas in the Smart Home, e-Mobility and Blockchain fields, they were reduced to 36, then 10, and finally 5.
After last year's project, which was designed to train Enel's staff on lean startup issues, it was decided to open up to talented young people who had recently graduated from Italian universities or who were employed in the energy sector. The figures testify to the success of the initiative: an audience of 1 million people was reached, with more than 1,000 social shares.
"Regardless of who is the winner, each finalist will get the chance to pitch to Enel, thus enabling them to fine-tune their business model. The Enel Startup Program is designed for companies that are in a pre-start-up situation. In other words, not yet having a totally sustainable idea does not in any way mean not having the right skills,” explained Paolo Napolitano, Peekaboo CEO.
On with Gimede
Faster, more streamlined and easier to understand investments. The revolution in renewable energy assets is called Gimede, a Roman energy monitoring company – founded by the engineers Matteo Di Paolo, Antonio Tanzi and Edoardo Ferrante – that convinced the Pitch Day jury. Using a model already tested in the banking and financial field, but now provided with instruments of greater transparency, Gimede's blockchain is able to help overcome the problems of information asymmetry between investor and operator. The BSO model was launched by Enel with the 2017-2019 Strategic Plan and aims to increase the business development potential in the renewable energy sector, while reducing proprietary assets.
“Interaction with Enel along the training pathway was much greater than we expected, with continuous feedback, allowing us to build our team over the course of the programme. The biggest prize is certainly that of having been included in a group of such similar talents, thereby achieving both professional and human growth," said Matteo Di Paolo, Gimede CEO.
Startups to keep an eye on
Among the other finalists, Always On was the first startup to appear in Rome, offering a smartphone charging service based on a capillary network – including, for example, restaurants, pubs, bus shelters or even public transport – in combination with thunderbolt sockets and an app through which to locate the nearest charging point for your mobile phone. According to the latest statistics, 66% of the owners of electrical devices suffer from nomophobia (the fear of being left with a dead battery), while 39% need to charge two to three times a day.
Elbicity, on the other hand, has developed a project to leave e-bikes wherever you want and without stress: it relies on an app that makes it easier to lock them thanks to safety devices, such as GPS in the safety padlocks built into the bicycle frame, audible alarms and photos taken by customers to localise them.
H-Drive's car-sharing service (ranked second) is focused mainly on the tourist luxury market. It provides an electric car 24 hours a day to take clients along selected routes, while providing useful explanations about the destination.
Voicefab.io (ranked third) is aimed at the voice assistant market. This startup has designed the first virtual assistant that improves family communication and smarthome management. It can be integrated with CRM systems as well as with platforms that manage IoT devices to monitor consumption in homes, and can also interact visually.
As Ciorra pointed out, central and southern Italy represents a particularly interesting area from which to draw new talents and Rome, Enel's headquarters, is certainly among Italy's most lively cities in the field of innovation. Enel Startup Program also has the objective of bringing business needs closer to sources of technological and industrial innovation. With Enel, innovation demand and supply are closer than ever before.