A new gateway to open innovation: the Enel Innovation Hub in Boston

Published on Friday, 10 May 2019

Building a more sustainable future is a commitment that we should all make. At Enel, we are dedicated to tackling the world’s energy challenges: sustainability, climate change, renewable energy, industry, digitalisation, smart cities and clean mobility, among others.

When it comes to addressing historical and current issues, new solutions are essential, and ideas become more powerful when they are shared. Innovation is a core part of Enel’s strategy and for this reason we continually work to expand our international network of Innovation Hubs, each with a unique perspective and access to technological resources, startups and a network of partners.

Now it’s time to put the spotlight on the city with one of the highest concentrations of energy innovation: Boston, USA. The inauguration of this new Enel Innovation Hub took place on May 7th and, as its Hub manager, Luca Seletto, explains, this is the perfect location for developing open innovation: “Boston is ranked in the world’s top 5 startup ecosystems and has some of its best universities, such as Harvard and MIT (the Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Moreover, Boston is located near two other very important innovation ecosystems, New York and Toronto.”

“It all began about three years ago in Tel Aviv. It has been a particularly interesting  journey, and now we are super-excited and sure we will find great opportunities for collaboration here, in Boston,” says Fabio Tentori, Head of Enel Innovation Hubs. Boston's adventure has only just begun.

A powerful alliance to boost cleantech ideas

The launch of the new Enel Innovation Hub in Boston has been coordinated together with Greentown Labs, a partnership that opens doors to new possibilities in our mission to discover the brightest minds and develop collaborations with the world’s most promising startups. “Greentown Labs’ aim is to be the best place to build cleantech startups. They are currently the largest cleantech incubator of the US, so they will support us with their network and knowledge of the innovation ecosystem,” explains Seletto.

The Enel Group is not a venture capital fund, so “what we do is to work together with the startup and try to create a partnership that can help us obtain new value and help them scale up their business,” he adds.

In addition to building these relationships with the best startups in the United States, this alliance will enable strategic partnerships that will help further decarbonise and digitise the company. The Hub’s activities will center on our business and technology lines and we will offer startups access to our expertise, our facilities, as well as resources for developing and scaling their solutions at a global level. “The Hub will be the point of contact between Enel and the local innovation ecosystem with the aim of identifying startups that will have the chance to collaborate with Enel’s business lines,” says Seletto.

In particular, the Hub will focus its activities on a wide number of technologies for which Boston is globally recognised as one of the best ecosystems: robots that are able to perform risky activities, data analysis, network digitalisation, solutions for smart cities and electric mobility, new types of battery storage and energy efficiency solutions.

Part of something bigger

Boston is the second US Hub launched by Enel, after the one in San Francisco. The presence of both Hubs will allow the company to work in synergy to cover all of North America’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and leverage innovation opportunities, in the region and throughout the world. “With this new Hub in Boston, we are continuing to grow our network of Innovation Hubs in the most forward-thinking communities around the world,” said Ernesto Ciorra, Enel’s Chief Innovability Officer.

Thanks to our network of international hubs (Italy, Spain, Russia, Chile, Brazil and Israel), there are already plenty of collaborations between Enel and US-based startups, such us Raptor Map, a developer of drone analytics tools using AI and Machine Learning; LotaData, which tests a data capture platform to analyze city transit patterns; Powerley, whose tool adds functionality to Enel’s smart home platform; and Sentient Energy, with which Enel tests the capability for an application focused on vegetation management and fire hazard avoidance.

Enel’s approach focuses on industrial partnerships and, over the last three years, we have implemented about 200 collaborations and more than 50 solutions from startups scaled up at a global level. Together, we are building the future of energy. Now, the latest gateway to open innovation is in Boston.

Open Innovability

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