OMNIA is the Startup of the Week 23: The plural of energy


Energy & Environment

Is it possible to successfully go through the energy market transition? How can the process be easier? Meeting the new challenges of energy reform is costly and daunting. There is so much to consider: Political processes and regulations, new business models, market integration and much more. The Startup of the Week OMNIA is a young consulting firm that specializes in these transformations. Managing Partner Andreas Pointvogl explained OMNIA’s special approach in more detail.

Hello Andreas! We are glad you are here today! Let’s start right away: How would you pitch OMNIA in one sentence?

OMNIA helps to manage far-reaching transition processes towards greater economic and ecological sustainability – on a small and large scale.

How does this work in detail?

We follow a very simple approach in what we do: “master, quantify, implement”. This, through our previous experience in application, leads us to work holistically in the few areas we call ours. Our claim is not only to be an expert in each sub-theme, but also to be able to implement it and to bring our partners up to the same level. This has an effect on our products, which benefit from our overall economic understanding as well as our detailed knowledge. While we use established IT solutions, we constantly encourage our customers to consider and implement new technologies.

What do you do differently or even better than traditional consulting firms?

We work both in very large contexts, such as sector reform programmes, as well as in small process steps that are necessary to implement a transition requirement. Our USP is that we go hand in hand with our partners through a crucial phase in their development and thus become part of the team. We work as and with a mixture of experts, development workers and politicians, which is unique on the market.

What is your business model?

We offer modern standard solutions in the field of quantifying and implementing structural transition processes. We specialise in the areas of energy system transformation and sustainable financing. At the moment we are developing a new standard for reporting and due diligence in the field of sustainable finance, which will help to meet future European requirements at an early stage and make our partners first-movers. Our business model is a new form of advisory service, which is characterized by a focus on our special topics, but also by a full-service attitude.

You have already mentioned your areas of expertise, namely topics such as energy system transformation and sustainable financing. Are you also active in the international field? Who are your clients?

Yes, exactly. We mainly operate internationally. Our clients are governments, international organisations, banks, state and private companies that are in a transition process, want to accompany or initiate it. Our potential target group are all institutions that are active in the energy sector or are committed to sustainability and are therefore very large. However, this is again limited by the fact that we only want to work with clients on a long-term basis and in partnership, i.e. not in a classic client-service provider relationship, which for many already requires adjustment.

What developments have you planned for the near future? And where do you currently stand?

We are standing very firmly on one foot in the field of transition in the energy environment and are currently rolling out our offering in the field of sustainable finance with strong partners, i.e. our second pillar. In the future we will tackle the areas of smart city and mobility services and roll out new service products there.

Andreas, thank you very much for the insightful interview. We wish you continued success in opening up to new areas!

If anyone wants to learn more about OMNIA, please visit their Innoloft profile.

cAPPabilities is the Startup of the Week 22: Converting strategies into action


Energy & Environment

Within a challenging business environment, companies adapt their strategy, enter new markets or change their corporate culture. In order to actually implement these changes, employees and the entire organization must behave according to the new framework. Employees need to have the opportunity to develop their skills. Unfortunately, this is often still very complex. Our Startup of the Week offers a systematic approach that can be easily applied and in the long term. To learn more, we talked to the co-founder of cappabilities, Ralf Bilke.

Hello Ralf! Thanks for answering our questions today! Could you introduce cappabilities in one sentence?

cappabilities offers systematic skill development via an AI-supported app combined with fresh training and consulting formats.

What is your aim with this? And with which method do you want to achieve it?

We want to completely personalize and scale the development of skills such as creativity, communication or collaboration.

The basis is our unique learning approach, which confronts users with the actual challenges of their everyday life and offers specific methods to master them. This is reflected in our training formats and especially in our app. With the help of an AI mechanism, an exercise program tailored to the user is created so that skills can be systematically trained – similar to fitness apps.

For companies and their employees, we create specific training programs to support users in developing skills. The goal is to completely automate the learning  process by using artificial intelligence.

What makes your approach so special?

New possibilities are unlocked for the users when their compentences and skills. For companies, this approach allows strategic plans to be systematically converted into the behaviour of employees. Innovative, agile or even efficient is then no longer just written on paper, but is lived in the company.

What sets us apart is the universal character of our approach. We can personalize and scale our services via an innovative app design, fresh didactic methods and AI. We are able to map different skills and develop the approach with each experience to constantly simplify the competence development and enhance the progress. This gradually allows us to scale into other content, target groups and industries.

How do you integrate the app and your other services into a business model?

In the B2B sector we have various sources of income. These include app licenses, consulting and training fees and white label offers.

At a later stage, we can market an app adapted for the B2C market via the app stores.

There are training offers for all conceivable industries. Do you focus on companies in a specific sector?

There are a wide range of applications for our product. We are initially starting in the energy industry with which we are familiar in order to support energy suppliers in their specific change journey. In the future, we plan to expand our offering to other topics and industries. We will also examine the B2C market entry.

The app’s general target group are individuals and companies who have recognized that the development of skills offers professional and personal added value. For companies, pressure for change (e.g. due to industry or technology) helps them to orient themselves in this direction.

Is your app ready for use yet?

Yes, the development of the web-based app has been completed and we have already conducted a number of trainings in the areas of innovation, communication and sustainability, among others. Currently we are fully focused on marketing, where we have already built up many positive leads and have entered into a cooperation with a management consultancy. In addition, we have already found international cooperation partners to further market the app.

We are also constantly developing our app and our formats. We are also looking for development partners and investors to create the basis for extensive scaling within and outside of Germany in the B2B and B2C sectors.

Ralf, I’m afraid we’ve come to the end of today. Thank you for the exciting interview! We wish you continued success, especially with the search for investors.

If anyone wants to learn more about cappabilities, you can find more information on cappabilities’ Innoloft profile.

Digital B2B support to cushion the corona crisis


Energy & Environment, Health & FoodTech, Industry 4.0 & Logistics, Mobility, Smart City & Buildings

Innoloft supports you with its digital network in times of Corona

The COVID19 pandemic is spreading worldwide. It affects all of us and comes along with lots of uncertainty. What we will face in the upcoming months nobody knows. The economic consequences of the crisis can’t really be quantified yet. Nevertheless, we are not completely helpless facing the crisis. While there are major cuts in the analogue economy and the “lockdown” forces to slow economy activities, digital solutions can help to bridge this situation. Millions of people in Germany and around the world currently work from home. Doing home office would not work without internet connections, digital tools and platforms.

Plenty of companies are currently offering support in these times of crisis. We at Innoloft would also like to contribute and help to cushion the economic restrictions. We’re making our digital network platform available as a “white label application” to networks, associations, clusters, trade fairs and other private organizations. For this purpose we adapt it according to your corporate design. Our Innoloft network operating system is designed to initiate business contacts and connect solution providers, such as startups, with solution seekers.

 

What features does our digital B2B networking platform provide you?

– Create company profiles & personal profiles

– Place technologies, products and services

– Find business partners

– Automated business matchmaking

– Share news across your ecosystem

– Access a global network of innovation stakeholders

 

In addition to these key functions, the digital B2B network platform with its network feed, chat and mailing functions between network members offers further opportunities to exchange information and stay in touch with network users. Thus, the platform supports you in establishing new business relationships and serving existing ones, regardless of time and place.

 

Economic added value via digitised business relations also for the time after COVID19

With our digital B2B network platform, we would like to give you support for a difficult period of time. For this reason our offer is limited in time. For a period of six month, we are able to provide you with the platform in your design and we’ll make ends meet to shift the development costs. The platform is only suitable as a business network and is not designed for private use.

In the long term, we want to be available to you as a digital B2B network that will enable you to prepare for the digital future, even after the coronavirus. Our platform offers you and your network members the chance to network effectively with other companies, start-ups, organisations. You can establish and maintain business relationships in a digital manner. With the functions mentioned above, our platform offers numerous opportunities for new “customer leads”, partnerships, contacts, innovations and projects.

 

Learn more about our Platform

Are you interested in our six-month Corona B2B support offer and would like to learn more about it?
Get in touch with our CEO, Sven Pietsch.

Contact and further information

Email: s.pietsch@innoloft.com
Phone: +49 152 33668237

Schedule an Appointment

ICE-ON Battery is the Startup of the Week 18: Converting energy into ice


Energy & Environment, Energy Efficiency and Environment, Energy Storage

What if one could use the phase transition from water to ice? For example for energy storage? Our Startup of the Week has developed a product that enables energy storage and energy release with these phase transitions. The idea of ICE-ON Battery is not only innovative, but also good for the environment. In the interview CEO Dariusz Ziemski gave us more information.

Hello, Dariusz! Nice of you to answer our questions today. Why don’t you tell us briefly what the project ICE-ON is all about?

At ICE-ON Battery we are working on an innovative cold energy storage system. The technology has a patent and allows to store excess energy and reduce greenhouse gases.

What technology is behind it?

The ICE-ON cold energy storage system uses the phase transition from water to ice to generate energy. Basically, ice is the energy source in the ICE-ON battery. The energy is released in the form of cold, which is used in air conditioning systems or in industrial cooling processes. The ICE-ON Battery also offers a unique possibility to store electrical energy from conventional and renewable energy sources. During preriods of energy surplus we store this as ice.

The conversion of electrical energy into cold generated large amounts of heat. Depending on the solution, this heat is either lost or actually used. In combination with a remote control program, we enable optimal management and use of the stored energy. This functionality of ICE-ON offers unlimited application possibilities. On the one hand in cooperation with air conditioning and refrigeration systems and on the other hand as part of an energy multi-system.

What other advantages does your cold energy storage system offer?

The use of our cold accumulators allows you to optimise the management of energy consumption (cooling and heating systems). Thanks to the synergy effects with photovoltaic and wind turbines, ICE-ON increases the efficiency of renewable energy sources. Thus, the use of ICE-ON contributes to “peak shaving” and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

What exactly do your customers pay for?

We offer our customers and partners a comprehensive package of services, from feasibility studies and design assistance to monitoring the execution of installation and maintenance. As the manufacturer of the ICE-ON cold storage tanks, we also offer the delivery of the products and the training of the craftsmen. In addition, there is the possibility of obtaining the software solution for the remote control program. This can generate further income on our side.

Since you are manufacturing a cold energy storage system, energy companies are certainly among your customers, right?

That’s right. In general, we are open to a wide range of opportunities for cooperation with companies from the renewable energy sector and with their system providers. But we are also interested in cooperating with industry associations, governmental organizations and research institutes. We operate both nationally and internationally.

Is your product, the ICE-ON cold accumulator, already usable? And what else do you want to achieve this year?

The first pilot projects confirmed the advantages of ICE-ON batteries. We have already initiated a research project at the Fraunhofer Institute. Here tests are being carried out with regard to the technical data. In addition, we analyze the effects of ICE-ON batteries on the German energy industry. Production will then start at the end of this year. We currently prepare and implement the first pilot projects on the German market.

Dariusz, thank you very much for the interesting interview! We wish ICE-ON Batteries only the best during this time and are curious how you will develop further. If anyone wants to know more about the project, they can check out your Innoloft profile and your requests.

IoT connctd is the Startup of the Week 16: IoT Service Creation simplified


Energy & Environment, IT & ICT, Mobility

By now it is normal that technology helps us humans to perform activities. The Internet of Things connects physical and virtual objects and lets them work together. Our Startup of the Week uses IoT not necessarily for smart homes and voice assistants, but for the development of data-based services. CEO Axel Schüßler of IoT connctd told us more about this in an interview.

Hello Axel! Thank you for taking the time today. What do you offer at IoT connctd?

We designed and implemented the open and scalable Service Creation IoT platform to simplify the development of data-based services. We offer service providers and manufacturers the flexible and universal system.

In doing so we pursue 3 overriding goals. For example, supporting the creativity of customers in service development and the use of data from networked devices. They no longer have to deal with technical features and specifications.

The second goal is to support agile developments. First simulate, then test and pilot, then scale. The platform supports each of these steps.

The third goal is to let the platform grow with customer requirements. Furthermore, we want to support digital trnasformation in an efficient way. We guarantee high quality and availability at the same time.

A very exciting topic. Can you tell us more about your technology?

The Internet has been functioning for years through interfaces and the various combinations to generate services and products. We bring this model into the physical world. Internet services and everyday things merge. For this purpose we have developed the cloud-based Service Creation IoT platform with a range of functionalities. Independent of specific infrastructures, “things” are described in a particularly “Internet-suitable” way. For us, this means Things concept and is derived from and compatible with the “Web of Things” the Internet standardization group W3C. We give these things a physical or logical structure. For us this means UNIT concept and supports any form of digital twins.

Data wants to be read out or things want to be controlled. Everyone offers APIs for this. But if these APIs are not well designed, the developer will have a hard time. That’s why we offer a very innovative GRAPH-API in addition to the classic REST-API. It is a really cool tool for developers who can use our platform like a Google search engine for the Internet of Things! We strictly decouple the user data from the IoT data, because only our customers should create this link. IoT connctd is not a “data copy company”. All interactions are encrypted and access is only possible via secure authentication!

Are the services always run in the cloud?

Of course we are a cloud company, but this does not mean that everything is always and everywhere in the cloud. We offer the possibility to run services combined in the cloud and locally. This means that data acquisition, data processing can also be done in the EDGE device – i.e. locally. The service developer then decides which services or data are used in the cloud. For us this is quite natural and the question of cloud or “on premise” does not arise here at all. It is a clear “both and”.

Our platform grows in minutes with the requirements of our customers. Hosting takes place in Germany and the EU. But we can also get close to international markets on all continents with our customers. Together with our infrastructure partners, we thus ensure very fast platform interactions.

What sets you apart from other competitors?

We offer software to manufacturers to use our IoT platform as an IoT backend while maintaining full control over the devices or keeping them in place during their life cycle (via remote access and device management).

For service developers we offer a very flexible working environment and the already mentioned GRAPH-API. What is that? A simple and familiar example explains it quite well.

As an operator of parking garages I want to offer a service to assign the exact parking space. For this purpose, I have digitally recorded my car parks and my parking decks and the individual parking spaces, some with sensors, others with cameras. Some car parks also have charging infrastructure for electric cars. It is the developer’s goal to develop the query in such a way that it can be performed efficiently and quickly.

So it would be silly if I had to query every parking space individually. So our platform works like a search engine: “Give me the nearest free parking space with charging station” + “Set the usage indicator to reserved” + “Start the timer when the sensor detects the car as parked”. All these combined queries are not feasible in classic API logic and thus lead to many individual queries. With our API there are basically 3 combined and filtering queries. The whole thing is really efficient!

I see. What is the business model behind the services?

Initially, we built the Service-Creation IoT platform for service developers. Therefore we offer free access for testing and a fair pay-per-use model for commercial use.

However, we also know that not all of our partners have IoT skills or service creation experience, but they do deal with customer requirements or operational process problems. Therefore we offer a range of project-based support from IoT coaching to full-stack co-development, which we partly implement with a partner network.

As an additional model, we are currently preparing to enable the owners of the data to pass on this data to authorised users and receive a data fee for this. The role of connctd here is to orchestrate a data marketplace without being the owner of the data itself and to ensure a very simple process for the diverse provision and use of data. There is much talk of Open-Data: We believe that there should also be a coordinated marketplace for data of various kinds where the players can interact commercially.

Which industries are you addressing with your solution?

From the very beginning, our orientation was to provide a universal service creation IoT platform so that any kind of device manufacturer can represent their innovative products on the Internet and service developers (energy providers, telcos, banks, insurance companies, facility managers, media houses/publishers, health care providers, logistics companies, etc.) can safely concentrate on their line of business and applications.

Our know-how lies in IoT and cloud services. The areas of application are thus multifaceted and start with Smart Home/Building, go on to Smart City and extend to mobility, logistics, transport and production. Our high-performance IoT platform supports service offerings worldwide, whereas we have so far concentrated on the European market for projects.

How far is your platform with its services in terms of development?

Our offer is “ready to use”. Yet we still work on it constantly, of course. We have a number of additional platform functionalities in preparation to provide even more comprehensive support for service developers and manufacturers. The main focus is on tools for data analytics.

Today our platform is already in use in various industries. We also report regularly on this on our website.

We are aware of the situation – especially in the energy industry – that first-time contact with IoT requires special procedures. For this reason, we also focused on the Service Creation Process at E-World 2020 in Essen. In this way we show how much our partners and customers can concentrate on WHAT and how little they have to worry about HOW. At the E-world we also showed examples of how our solutions suit more secure data sharing perfectly. The data could be shared with third party developers, who should not be granted direct access to their own, e.g. LoRaWAN infrastructure. In addition to that we demonstrated how easily e.g. energy-related services can be based on different systems.

Axel, we thank you for the interesting interview! We wish you continued success and are eagerly following your developments. If anyone wants to know more about you, they can find more information on your Innoloft profile and in your requests.

Wecreation is the Startup of the Week 15: Able to act during a crisis


Energy & Environment

If you know our Startup of the Week format, you know that we usually present more technically oriented startups. This week, however, our Startup of the Week is less technically oriented and works under the slogan “The human part of digitalization”. Wecreation helps companies to act future-oriented and agile, but resilient at the same time. Even in the current situation, Wecreation can help companies to deal with the new changes in a successful way. We asked founder Christian Binninger about their start-up in detail.

Hello Christian! Thanks for answering our questions today. Let’s start right away. What do you do at Wecreation?

We enable organizations to actively shape the future through cultural change and future competencies and to use change as an opportunity.

How does that work in detail?

Organizational culture change enables organizations and their employees to react agilely to the constantly changing environment. Because we believe that people can shape the future of their organization themselves.

With workshop formats, leadership and team coaching and agile projects, we support organizations in their transformation process. We always individually tailor them to the needs and challenges of our clients. In doing so, we make use of various working methods and approaches from agile work such as Design Thinking, Scrum, LEGO Serious Play. Above all, we have an attitude that gives creativity room to develop its own approaches.

What do you do particularly well when working with those organisations?

We convert fears into creativity and help to develop your own potential. This enables us to shape the working world of tomorrow together.

At eye level and together with our customers we develop solutions for relevant challenges which are quickly implemented. While we promote future skills such as learning competence and teamwork, we teach methods and tools from agile project work. This makes methods and tools more directly and clearly understandable and easier to use than in classical training.

What distinguishes us from comparable organisations is the fact that we do not advise, but empower. We start from the assumption that there is already potential in the organisations, this only needs to be discovered and developed. Therefore, we do not explicitly train new ways of working and methods, but focus on solving a challenge relevant to the company. The human being is the focus of our approach. Because it is every single person in an organization whose perspective and principles help to shape the corporate culture.

How do you integrate your services into a business model?

As an organisation with a clear service approach, we work with our customers on intensive workshop and project days according to pre-agreed daily rates. In doing so, an open and honest approach and a high degree of transparency is important to us.

In addition to our coaching, the WeAcademy offers an extension to integrate methods experienced in workshops and projects into everyday life to an even greater extent. More over, following the blended learning approach, to create a deeper learning and transformation experience.

You were talking about organizations in very general terms earlier. Do you address companies in a specific sector or are you broadly based there?

Our human-centric approach works at every interface of an organization where people work together. Since every organization lives a culture and is in context with its environment. The constantly changing environment brings new, often unknown challenges. Through an internal, people-centered cultural change, we promote future competencies and strengthen sustainability. In order to gain a better understanding of needs, processes and trends, we have decided to work in particular with organisations from the energy industry. Their proximity to customers and their essential role in the infrastructure sector provide a good foundation for a cultural change with agile working methods.

What have you achieved so far? Where do you stand in the development?

We accompany in particular energy supply companies on their transformation process. The spectrum ranges from impulse presentations, which encourage reflection and action, to long-term support, which results in a change in the mindset of employees and managers, a change in the way they deal with each other and a clear, value-oriented strategy for the future. We are pleased to accompany organisations such as Stadtwerke Haldensleben, Stadtwerke Menden and Stadtwerke Dessau on this path.

In March 2020, we launched three new online formats in response to the prevailing corona crisis. With these, we want to enable our customers to tackle their current challenges, such as working from home, in a targeted manner and also to perceive the crisis as an opportunity. We offer leadership coaching, which provides security and clarity. Moreover we offer two further group formats, in which like-minded people can jointly identify current challenges, develop new ideas and enable teams to work in a targeted and results-oriented manner.

A year ago we approached Peter Spiegel, the director of the GENISIS Institute for Social Business and Impact Strategies and the Terra Institute he founded, because since our visit to the School of Design Thinking in Potsdam we have been fascinated by the paradigm shift from ‘IQ to WeQ’ he proclaimed. It quickly became clear that we wanted to push this paradigm shift forward together with many other actors. This is how the WeQ Future Skills project came about, which is concerned with demonstrating the significance and relevance of the identified future skills and making them tangible and learnable through formats.

Currently, individual chapters on various future skills are being written for the WeQ Future Skill Handbook. The accompanying workbooks for independent learning, conference formats for experiencing and an online platform for the formation of an entire ecosystem. All this with the goal of revolutionizing education from within and to create an attitude in society for more common welfare.

Christian, I’m afraid that brings us to the end of the interview. Thank you for the interesting insights! We wish you continued success in 2020.

If anybody wants to know more about you, we encourage them to check out your Innoloft profile.

Startups of the Month March 2020


Energy & Environment, Industry 4.0 & Logistics, IT & ICT

Our five startups of the week in March at a glance

In the month of March we presented five startups in our Startup of the Week format in an interview. Interviews were conducted with Blue Boson, FSIGHT, Motius, SPAROX and AMPEERS ENERGY. Here we give an overview of their solutions in our Startups of the Month article. If you want to learn more about their offers, you can also have a look at their profile in our Innoloft database. There you will also find their and other customer and partner searches.

 

Blue Boson – water treatment without any chemical additives

Blue Boson uses a technology for the treatment of contaminated wastewater that does not require any chemical additives. This enables them to remove incrustations and deposits in an environmentally friendly way. By protecting systems from corrosion, they extend their service life. They are already on the market with two patented products called SCAT® and SCAT REXCIT®. Their hydraulic flow modules ensure supramolecular treatment of water, but are also suitable for treating other liquid or gaseous media. They manufacture or modify their equipment according to requirements and application. Fully automated, they can be operated around the clock. They distribute their products according to the ESCO model. This refers to an energy-saving contracting model that is geared to energy efficiency and cost savings. They also offer equipment rental and sales as well as other services.

To the Startup of the week interview KW10

FSIGHT – Artificial Intelligence Platform for the energy sector

The startup FSIGHT focuses entirely on artificial intelligence and shows how this can be used profitably in the energy industry. With its energy management platform, energy flows can be calculated with foresight and adjusted according to demand. With the help of their Energy-AI platform, they can combine the consumption behavior of consumers with the energy production of renewable energies and energy market prices. They use over 40 machine learning models for this purpose. Their trading model for energy communities allows private households, commercial customers and industrial companies to trade the electricity they generate themselves. In addition, energy savings of up to 20 percent can be achieved for end consumers. At the same time, its platform helps to stabilize local power grids. Its Software-as-a-Service solution benefits energy customers and consumers as well as energy companies and network operators. FSIGHT’s customers are located all over the world.

To the Startup of the week interview KW11

Motius – Modern technologies for every kind of use case

Motius GmbH has an answer to the rapid changes in the tech world. Its mission is to open up technologies for customers from the most diverse areas for their respective fields of application. For this purpose the Motius team uses extensive tech expertise. As technology experts, they serve the innovation needs of their customers on the one hand through their interdisciplinary talent pool and on the other hand by integrating technology and management hubs. In doing so, they offer support in generating ideas and applications, in providing proof of concept and in product rollout. Motius focuses less on specific industries and target groups and more on the application of new technologies in a broad customer segment. Motius has been on the market for seven years. For some time now, they have been among the fastest growing start-ups in Germany.

To the Startup of the week interview KW12

SPAROX – Amazon for spare parts in the energy sector

Sparox procures spare parts for energy systems. Via their platform, they supply plant operators of all types of energy production in German-speaking countries. For this purpose, they have built up a network of suppliers with a wide range of products. Their portfolio currently includes over 15,000 spare parts. There is an emergency function on the platform for spare parts that are needed quickly to prevent plant failure. With SPAROX3D they also serve a segment where 3D printed spare parts can be ordered. For plant operators, the use of the platform is free of charge. For suppliers they charge a transaction fee. Especially in the current corona crisis, the added value of the Sparox platform is evident, not least in the avoidance of downtimes and the securing of energy supply.

To the Startup of the week interview KW13

AMPEERS ENERGY – Energy Management 4.0 for Decentralized Energy Supply

With their Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution, AMPEERS ENERGY are giving the decentralized energy turnaround the right impetus. Based on a self-learning technology, it allows decentralized generation to be combined and controlled with energy consumption. AMPEERS ENERGY offers three cloud-based applications that can also be used individually. These include its AE District Manager as a comprehensive neighbourhood energy management solution, its AE Local Supplier fully automated, integrable tenant electricity software and its AE Fleet Optimizer solution for intelligent control of charging processes and loads for electric fleets. All three components interlock technically, are user-friendly and connect market participants. Their SaaS solution not only enables innovative business models, but also provides all participants with environmentally friendly efficiency advantages and cost savings. AMPEERS ENERGY’s approach not only convinced the jury members of the kraftwerk city acceleration bremen Challenge last year, but also won the Fraunhofer Gründerpreis 2019.

To the Startup of the week interview KW14

“Flexibility as a business model” – Where are lucrative business opportunities for energy companies?


Energy & Environment

Our lattest issue of our industry trend report “blue oceans” provides answers

The current issue of our industry trend report “blue oceans”, produced together with energate, deals with the question of how “flexibility as a business model” in the energy sector can be used. The third issue on this topic was published in February 2020. In addition to a comprehensive market analysis using the Innoloft database and insights from our partner energate, we present concrete flexibility solutions by using examples. In the report, you will find news, interviews with startups, requests for cooperation in the form of calls and a detailed business case. With this case, we present you with a business model for flexibility marketing that is little known but already profitable.

Flexibility in the energy sector is a broad topic. Its importance is growing because of new technological developments and the increasing spread of renewable energies, energy storage, and electromobility while at the same time reducing conventional energy production. Thus flexibility affects the areas of generation and consumption as well as the areas of trade or cross-sectoral use of energy.


Six startup use-cases with “flexibility as a business model”

Using six examples from our trend report, we would like to present to you in excerpts the flexibility solutions that young companies and startups are offering and the business approaches they are pursuing. In interviews, their CEOs share their views on the development of the topic. Our trend report, as well as our Innoloft database, provides you with more details and startups.

blue oceans trendreport

 

Sympower – flexibility for networks with the help of Demand-Side-Management

The Dutch startup Sympower was founded in 2015. Their product opens up flexibility based on flexible consumers, such as intelligent heating and cooling systems for households and companies for energy supply. With their demand-side management (DSM) solution, they offer the energy supply system an alternative to fossil fuels as flexibility reserves. Instead of coal and gas power plants, they integrate heating and cooling systems, energy storage, ventilation systems, water boilers and other devices located in the vicinity. They pool these sources of flexibility on one platform. With their DSM solution, greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced and fluctuations in the supply of renewable energy can be balanced. Transmission system operators, as their main customers, can derive added value from their offer. Thus they are able to react to increasing demands on the energy market.

In his interview in the blue oceans trend report, Simon Bushell, Founder and CEO of Sympower B.V. tells you more about their Demand Response Solution for energy grids.


View Sympower Profile

 

Bl!xt – Analog circuit-breakers converted into digital multifunction switches

The startup Blixt has its focus on circuit breakers. It was founded 2018 in Sweden. While conventional circuit breakers are used to switch off the power, Blixt has developed a digital alternative. With their multifunctional switch, they can not only control energy flows but also monitor them. Their circuit breakers enable real-time remote control of the household’s energy supply. This provides consumers and energy service providers a new tool. They combine different functions of a breaker, remote control, and smart meter – all in one single device. Thus they create the prerequisites for intelligent demand-side management. As a B2B company, Blixt has set itself the task of bringing a new digital circuit breaker infrastructure to the market. But they are not doing this on their own. They want to cooperate together with existing suppliers and face the demands of a future energy market.

Why Bl!xt is focussing on digital circuit breakers and how their technology can contribute to flexibility Charlotta Holmquist, Co-Founder and CFO, explains in her interview in the blue oceans trend report.


View Blixt Profile

 

Urban Energy – Controlling charging points with the help of smart grid technologies

With its Energy Data Hub, urban ENERGY connects consumers and producers in an intelligent way. The startup from Berlin has created a B2B software IoT platform that uses intelligent algorithms to collect all data in urban districts in real-time. In order to manage plants, buildings and charging points in a way that relieves the strain on the grid, AI models create forecasts. For example, it calculates when the best time is to charge an electric vehicle. With its smart grid solution, urban Energy is initially focusing on municipal utilities and housing associations. The solution may also be of interest to logistics and commercial customers who are converting to an electric fleet.

David Stolz, the CEO, talks in his interview in the blue oceans trend report amongst others, how their solution prevents the grid becoming a bottleneck for e-mobility and how they are going to use flexibility marketing to grow.


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EnergyCortex – Creating transparency in energy data

High energy consumption generates high energy costs. Both are directly connected with each other and play a significant role, especially for commercial and industrial customers. The company EnergyCortex, founded in Aachen in 2018, pursues the goal of reducing energy costs and energy consumption for end consumers by using AI-based data analysis. EnergyCortex has developed intelligent cloud solutions. Their software provides an interface to the data of its customers and its own services. It can be used to prepare and visualize data. Currently, they serve the B2B segment in Germany with their cross-sector, intelligent services. At the same time, there is the possibility of a worldwide roll-out.

Bastian Baumgart, the CEO, talks in his interview in the blue oceans trend report, how they ensure transparency for commercial and industrial customers and what kind of added value their solution provides.


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Senfal – Generating economic added value for customers on the basis of AI

Senfal, founded in the Netherlands in 2014, has developed a demand-response platform using a self-learning algorithm. Their AI-based solution regulates electricity purchases based on energy consumption data from plants and companies whose market prices are forecast for intra-day electricity trading. This enables them to control the consumption of the plants and to optimize the purchase of electricity. In this way, the startup can generate economic added value for its customers. At the same time, customers have transparent access to the information. Senfal was purchased by Vattenfall in 2019.

Bart de Vries, Business Owner, Vattenfall Flexibility Services gives more insights to Senfal’s solution in his blue oceans trend report interview. He answers in detail the question of what the advantage is to be part of a big energy supplier.


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gridX – Strengthening customer benefits with the help of flexible platform solutions

Founded in Aachen in 2016, the startup has developed a platform in conjunction with a holistic energy-IoT solution. It connects end devices independently of manufacturers and manages their energy consumption. Their Independent Homes, Smart Charging, Microgrids, and Smart Commercial solutions provide connectivity and communication of a bunch of devices. In doing so, they connect a wide variety of manufacturers and devices. In the long term, the platform will integrate not only energy consumers and storage devices but also producers such as virtual power plants. For the marketing of its solutions, gridX is already relying on strong partnerships to achieve win-win situations and create customer benefits.

How gridX is going to achieve its goal to become the central platform for energy producers and consumers and why the customer can participate in their business model, David Balensiefen, Co-Founder and CEO is explaining in his blue ocean trend report interview.


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Conclusion

There are plenty of flexibility solutions for the energy market. Using these in a targeted manner by using new intelligent technologies is a task that startups and young companies have taken on. The global energy turnaround and the worldwide transformation of energy systems the topic of “flexibility as a business model” is gaining importance. Our trend analysis shows this, as do the examples and the survey of market players in the energy industry conducted by energate.

blue oceans offers all innovative market players who are dealing with new business fields in the energy market in general and promising business models in the field of flexibility in particular relevant information on the flexibility trend as a future topic of the energy industry.

Do you like to take a short look? Here you will find a reading sample as well as the whole report.


Go to Reading Example

 

 

 

Venios is winner of the FNN-InnovationHub Challenge – Congratulations!


Energy & Environment

 

On December 4th and 5th, 2019, grid experts from industry and politics met at the FNN Networks Congress in Nürnberg. They exchanged their views on the current state and future of grid technology and grid operation in Germany. The FNN Congress provided a stage for innovative start-ups to present their smart grid, grid technology and grid operation solutions. After sucessful application to the Startup-Challenge of the “FNN InnovationHub”, which was launched by VDE | FNN, the finalists were given the chance to pitch their smart solutions to the audience of the FNN Congress.

 

And the winner is …

The aim of the competition is to accelerate innovations and digital solutions for the energy system. With its platform technology, Venios won the FNN InnovationHub Challenge and thus also an order worth 25,000 euros. Venios convinced the jury at the FNN Congress with its solution for detecting the system status of energy grids. Venios is able to provide real-time location and time-based information about the status in low and medium voltage. Due to its solution, Venios can also provide information on the network operating resources by measurements at network-critical points.

They also use mathematical models to create simulations. In this manner they provide relevant informations to the operators, in which they also include secondary data for their forecasts. Beyond this bottlenecks can be detected early.

Flexibility can be provided, enabling network operators to intervene foresighted. This enables grid control as well as the balancing of energy bottlenecks. This prevents overloading of networks and thus network failures. In addition, grid operation can be optimised and costs for grid expansion can be reduced.

 

Next steps

After the challenge, Venios will develop an app together with VDE | FNN by the end of 2020. It is intended to map the system status of a region on the basis of the application rule “Interface between transmission and distribution grids” (VDE-AR-N 4141-1). The software solution should help distribution system operators to meet the requirements of the application rule. FNN members should later be able to obtain the software at a reduced price.

 

Innoloft was involved as a partner in the implementation of the FNN InnovationHub – Challenge through our white label website, the digital application process and marketing.

 

Energy Mavens is the startup of week 4: Understanding the wishes and needs of the customer


Energy & Environment, Energy Market & Trading

When buying a product, a person no longer makes their decision on the basis of the price alone. Many different factors now play a role in the purchasing decision. Among other things, current socio-political developments are responsible for this. But how should one design products that appeal to potential customers? Our start-up of the week, Energy Mavens, has created a solution for this. With their special customer analyses they offer companies support in product development and product design. We spoke to Thomas Schönland, CEO at Energy Mavens, to find out more.

Hello Thomas! We’re very happy that you’re here today. Let’s get right to it: How would you describe Energy Mavens in one sentence?

We analyse the needs of electricity customers to support energy supply companies in the design and development of energy revolution products.

How does such an analysis work? Which framework do you use for this?

Developed in the field of psychology, conjoint analysis has now also established itself as an estimation method in marketing. The method enables the disclosure of the true preferences of respondents by mapping a (fictitious) decision between different products. We use a modern, adaptive methodology that addresses the respondents individually and thus involves them more than in the currently used standard surveys.

The application of our conjoint analysis to innovative products in the energy industry thus supports energy supply companies and municipal utilities in product design and customer clustering. Customer needs can be served in a more targeted manner and the customers themselves can be involved in product development at an early stage. Therefore the customers feel that they are helping to shape the product. Moreover, the survey is much more interesting for them than any conventional marketing survey. More valid results enable a simulated evaluation of product combinations that were not asked for in the questionnaire. For example, a competitor’s product can be compared to one’s own and (expected) market shares can be estimated.

You have already mentioned the advantages of conjoint analysis, but you are not the only ones who use this method. What do you do differently from your competitors?

The energy industry is currently at a tipping point. Energy supply companies and municipal utilities are moving from being pure suppliers to energy partners. Accordingly, a more comprehensive understanding of customers is indispensable. Customers no longer make decisions for or against a supplier or its products based on price alone, but are guided by a variety of parameters. Depending on their preferences, different products may or may not offer the customer a benefit.

In order to understand these preferences and make them available to energy partners, we apply conjoint analyses to energy market-specific questions. From the perspective of a municipal utility, this means: What are the characteristics of an energy system transformation product? How do I price it? Where do I position it and to whom? By asking customers’ opinions early on, we are able to develop a customer-centric design and make energy products more efficient.

As a result, our approach enables the disclosure of willingness to pay, obstacles to switching and target group-specific characteristics. This enables a utility company to design, place and price its products precisely.

I see. What is the pricing model for Energy Mavens?

We offer quantitative consulting. This means that our revenue is calculated from our daily rate and the estimated consultant days per project. The expenditure is determined individually for each project. Among other things, it depends on the data basis with which the survey is started and how large the survey is going to be.

In addition, we offer our support as a partner in various phases of product development. This includes, for example, idea generation, actual testing, validation and the final implementation and market launch. We pursue a cooperative consulting approach, in which we enter into a close exchange and regular feedback loops with our customers.

You have already explained that your customer base is consisting of municipal utilities and energy supply companies. Can you go into more detail about your target markets?

We concentrate on the marketing and product development departments of smaller municipal utilities or regionally operating energy supply companies on the German market. We see the greatest potential for data-based customer analyses in this target group. In addition, for these suppliers with a strong regional focus, a customer-oriented product orientation is extremely important.

Where do you currently stand with the development of Energy Mavens? Are your services already usable?

Yes, our current focus is on the implementation of pilot projects and the associated development of references. We have already been able to demonstrate the proof-of-concept that we can make statements on energy system transformation products using our methodology in two studies. A study on the design of the product “local electricity” was conducted in cooperation with Allgäuer Überlandwerk GmbH. In a second project, we are analysing the preferences of RE investors in the context of tenders together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI). In this context, we are particularly proud that we are a competence spin-off at Fraunhofer ISI since September 1, 2019.

Now we have unfortunately already reached the end of the interview. Thank you Thomas for the interesting conversation! We wish you continued success for the future of Energy Mavens! More informations is to be found on the Innoloft profile and the Innoloft requests.