Startup, smart, green. Three words that sum up the theme at the heart of the Berlin Ecosummit. The event focuses on the mechanisms that facilitate access to the markets for innovative startups operating in the field of technology for sustainability.
Held on 8-9 May 2018, this was the ninth Ecosummit in Berlin, while two have been held in Amsterdam, five in London and one each in Stockholm, Düsseldorf and Paris. This year’s big news was the fundraising launch of a venture capital fund for the best sustainability startups in Europe.
Startup, smart, green are also three key words to describe Enel’s sustainable innovation. Fabio Tentori, CEO of Innovation Hubs, was one of the 99 speakers in Berlin who included representatives from 69 startups and numerous leading businesses in the field of energy, with a total of approximately 300 participants.
Tentori described Enel’s support of startups in line with the Open Innovation approach. In order to achieve our goals in terms of clean energy and a sustainable future, Enel is facing outwards in all directions. It does not matter where the idea comes from, what matters is that it is a good one.
“We realise that we cannot do it all on our own, that we don’t have access to all the innovative technologies that exist. So we are setting up partnerships with universities, research centres, other businesses and, above all, with startups and small and medium sized enterprises,” explained Tentori.
Enel provides the chosen startups with know-how, an environment to flourish in and the opportunity to build long-term collaborations and move onto the scale up phase. The results are clear. As Tentori explained, “in the last few years, we have examined 3,000 startups of which we carefully evaluated 450, and have invested several million in 140 startup projects, of which 35 have moved into the scale up phase.”
In some cases, if a startup has solutions that are particularly well suited to our needs, Enel makes an offer to acquire the company. This happened, for example, with two American companies: eMotorWerks, leader in services and infrastructures for e-vehicles, an EnerNoc, global leader in the Demand Response sector, the energy service developed to stabilise the grid with the active participation of large energy users.
To be certain of intercepting the most promising startups, Enel has opened Innovation Hubs in Madrid, Catania, Santiago and Rio de Janiero, in addition to those in Tel Aviv, San Francisco and Moscow, which are considered some of the most world’s leading startup incubators.
Furthermore, as Tentori noted, Enel has launched the Open Innovability platform, where anyone can suggest innovative solutions for our challenges, or send us a proposal: Enel’s message is “Join us, if you want to be part of the change.”
The tenth Ecosummit in Berlin will take place 22-23 May 2019.