Startups of the Month – April 2020


Energy Efficiency and Environment, Energy Storage, IT & ICT

Our four Startups of the Week in April at a glance

In April, the startups Wecreation, IoT connctd, Qarnot and Ice on Battery gave us exciting insights into their solutions and innovations with their Startup of the Week interviews. We have compiled statements about their business models, markets, target groups and solution approaches for you here shortly. You can read the details in the individual interviews. If you want to contact them directly , feel free to use the messenger function in our database. There you can also present yourself with your own profile and get in contact with the startups.

WeCreation – Focus on the human part of digitalization (CW15)

“We empower organizations to actively shape the future through cultural change and future competencies and to use change as an opportunity.” Christian Binninger, Co-Founder Wecreation GmbH

Digitisation is not only being pushed forward technically. Rather, people are directly involved. This is why the start-up company WeCreation focuses on “the human part of digitisation”. Through agile projects, in various workshop formats or through leadership and team coaching, they accompany organisations in their transformation processes from within. This involves developing creativity, learning processes, teamwork and the acquisition of future skills. With their WeAcademy, people can deepen what the’ve been learning in the form of “blended learning”. In the wake of the Corona crisis, WeCreation has launched three new online formats. All organisations can benefit from their service offerings. Since its founding, WeCreation has focused on the energy industry and has worked closely with municipal utilities and utility companies. Its customers include the Haldensleben municipal utilities, the Menden municipal utilities and the Dessau municipal utilities. You can read more details about them and their services in the interview or find out more in their customer requests.

To the Startup of the Week interview CW15

IoT connctd – IoT platform for scalable data-based services (CW16)

“We designed and implemented the open and scalable Service Creation IoT platform to simplify the development of data-based services.” Axel Schüßler, Co-Founder and CEO of IoT connctd

IoT connctd has created a service platform for the use and application of IoT data. This helps customers to develop data-based scalable services. IoT connctd supports the technical implementation, such as data generation and evaluation, as well as agile further processing through simulations, tests, pilots and finally scaling. Their cloud-based IoT service platform maps the individual steps. The Startup addresses its offer to device manufacturers in the form of software. They can use the IoT platform as IoT backend. For service developers there is the GRAPH API, which works like a Google search engine for the Internet of Things. Here, IoT connctd takes care of the decoupling of user data and IoT data. They encrypt all interactions and allow only authenticated access. Hosting is provided in Germany and the EU. IoT connctd has a broad range of services on offer. They are also establishing a data marketplace to organise the targeted exchange of data. Their service offers around the IoT platform can be accessed worldwide. In contrast, they are currently focusing their projects on the European market. Further information, contact details as well as requests for partnership can be found in their requests in our database.

To the Startup of the Week interview CW16

Qarnot Energy – Patented Green IT approach uses waste heat from IT calculations (CW17)

“We use waste heat from IT calculations to heat buildings and water sustainably.” Paul Benoit, Co-Founder and CEO

With the increased use of modern IT technologies in the course of digitalisation, energy consumption is also rising. The provision of computing capacity in data centers is thus accompanied by increased energy requirements. At the same time, data centres generate a high amount of waste heat. Qarnot Energy has developed a solution approach. They make sensible use of the waste heat generated by data centres. This works by making it available to the energy system again through their patented technology. For this purpose, they have developed a computer heater and a digital water boiler. With these, they supply heating-customers with heat and computing-customers with computing power. Connections to the fibre optic network ensure an effective distribution in buildings with IT resources and heat. Their sales activities are focused on the B2B sector. Most customers are located in France. However, Qarnot Energy intends to extend its range of products to the European market, with a particular focus on the UK, the DACH region and Northern Europe. By recovering waste heat as a resource, Qarnot Energy can both reduce energy consumption and contribute to a significantly reduced carbon footprint of computers. Its worldwide patented technology enables an innovative, sustainable and economical Green IT approach that creates a node between IT and buildings. To contact Qarnot Energy directly, you can use our database and its requests.

To the Startup of the Week interview CW17

ICE-ON Battery – storing energy in cold (CW18)

 “We are working on an innovative cold energy storage system. The technology is patented and allows to store excess energy and reduce greenhouse gases.” Dariusz Ziemski, CEO

ICE-ON Battery uses ice as an energy source to store energy in the form of cold. Cold in turn is needed for industrial cooling processes or for air conditioning systems. With ICE-ON Battery, both conventionally produced and renewable energy can be stored in the form of ice. Heat is released when cold is converted into electricity. A combination of these two creates the conditions for an optimized use of energy in an energy multi-system. In combination with photovoltaics or wind, the efficiency of renewable energy can be increased and at the same time the energy efficiency of cooling and heating systems can be improved. This brings economic advantages and simultaneously reduces greenhouse gas emissions. ICE-ON offers its cold storage systems to system providers and companies in the renewable energy sector. They also work with industry associations, research institutes and governmental organisations. The first pilot projects are currently being launched in Germany. ICE-ON Batteries offers its customers a comprehensive range of services, including planning and concept studies, installation, maintenance and training. There will also be software solutions for remote control. Have a look at the database to learn more about their cooperation request.

To the Startup of the Week interview CW18

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.

Qarnot Computing is the Startup of the Week 17: Computing anywhere


Energy Efficiency and Environment, IT & ICT

For a long time, the topic of digitisation was associated with an environmentally friendly alternative to e.g. printed products. However, the increasing demand for energy was often not taken into account in this context. Little by little, critical voices are also being raised: For example, newspaper articles talk about “conflicting goals” or even “fire accelerators for environmental destruction”. This is a complex problem for which there are only a few solutions to date. Our start-up of the week, Qarnot Energy, is of the opinion: Why not combine the advantages of digitalisation with the sustainable use of energy? In our interview with CEO and Co-Founder Paul Benoit, we talk about how exactly this works and how existing potential can be used in a targeted manner.

Hi Paul, thank you so much for taking the time for us today. For a better start: How do you describe Qarnot Computing in one sentence?

Qarnot reuses wated heat from IT computations to heat buildings and water sustainibly.

A very recent subject. How exactly does this project shape up in terms of your target groups and the technology behind it?

Qarnot is the first company in the world which reuses waste heat from IT computations to heat buildings and water.
Qarnot has two kinds of clients: computing clients buying computing power on the one hand, heating clients who need ecological heat in their buildings on the other hand.Qarnot developed a computing-heater, QH•1, and a digital water boiler, QB•1, which both embed microprocessors as heat sources and are connected to the fibre optic. By spreading IT resources where heat is directly needed, Qarnot reduces the energy consumption and the carbon footprint of computing.
The more you need heat, the more we send computations. The faster your microprocessors are running, the more they release heat, which is directly reused within the building.Computing-heater, QH•1 and digital water boiler, QB•1, are installed in apartments, social housings, public buildings, swimming pools, heating networks…

You just said you’re the first company to use such a technology. Do you see this as your USP too?

We have been the first in the world to launch that kind of technology (patent in almost every country in the world). Qarnot proposes a digital circular economy approach in which heat, a waste for computing, becomes a resource within the building. Qarnot succeeds at linking two distinctive kinds of actors: computing/IT ressources and building. Our approach for green IT makes our technologies disruptive, innovative and ecological.

How does the associated business model look like? Do you have different approaches for “producers” and “users”?

Our unique approach is both ecological and economic, on two main business sides:
– we provide green cloud computing cheaper than others (2 to 4 times)
– we heat buildings for free once the investment is done. The “heating clients” first buy a computing-heater or a digital-boiler, and then we reimbourse the electricity bills, we do the maintenance and we replace the machines for free every 7-8 years.The computing-heater embeds sensors and interfaces that provide services towards smart building: air quality sensors, movement sensors, temperature sensors, luminosity sensors, QI charging module, NFC, Wifi Module…

You have just mentioned a few potential customers, such as public institutions or apartment owners. Which market segments exactly do you address within this target group?

We only work with B2B clients, that are divided into two parts:
In the computing area we provide high performance computing for big banks (BNP Paribas, Société Générale, Natixis in France), 3D animation studios (our last client is Illumination Mac Guff), fluid dynamics, machine learning (AI), molecular docking…
In the heating sector we work with social landlords, public buildings, apartments buildings, swimming pools, heating network managers…Most of our clients are French, most of the buildings we equiped are in France. We have a new project in Finland, where we installed digital boilers to provide hot water for a heating network.
We are starting right now to launch our business abroad, especially in Germany-Austria-Switzerland, UK and in the Nordic Countries.

It looks like you guys have already established yourselves pretty well. What are the latest developments in your company?

Our products (computing heater and digital boiler) are already launched on the market. Time showed they are working very well, and clients are happy with them.
Our computing clients are very satisfied too: the contracts we have are getting bigger, we succeed at having new ones and we recently made efforts to widen the sectors we address (e.g. AI, pharmaceutics, industry…). Our latest news is a successful 6M€ fundraising we achieved in March, with several prestigious investors: Engie, Groupe Casino, A/O Proptech and Caisse des Dépôts (public group serving the public interest and the country’s economic development).

Paul, thank you very much for the exciting interview! We wish you every success in the further development of your company and hope to hear a lot more from you.
Those who want to support you can take a closer look at your Innoloft profile or contact you via our Messenger.

AMPEERS ENERGY is the Startup of the Week 14: The future of energy


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

The energy industry is changing. Where for many years only a few large companies set the tone, there is now the opportunity to become an energy producer through decentralised generation with the help of renewable energies. However, this requires external help. This comes, for example, from our Startup of the Week AMPEERS ENERGY. They won the kraftwerk city accelerator bremen Challenge and also the Frauenhofer Founder’s Prize last year – successes that are quite impressive. We wanted to know more and talked to Gerrit Ellerwald, Managing Director of AMPEERS ENERGY, about the startup and the idea.

Hello Gerrit! We are happy to learn more about your startup today and therefore we will start right away. What does AMPEERS ENERGY do?

At AMPEERS ENERGY, we make it easy for companies to tap the potential of the decentralized energy revolution – economically and ecologically!

That sounds very exciting! How does the whole thing work in detail?

First of all, you should know that as an SaaS company, we offer three cloud-based applications. Those applications enable companies to save money, automate processes and protect the environment. In addition to the AE District Manager, which is a complete energy management solution for the district, there is also the AE Local Supplier. This fully automated and integrated tenant electricity software takes care of the administrative side of tenant electricity projects. And the AE Fleet Optimizer exists above it. By consolidating all relevant data, the intelligent software takes over the control of the load and charge management of e-fleets.

The basis of these products is an extremely powerful Fraunhofer software which is able to connect all decentralized processes relating to energy generation and consumption. It ist is also able to control them in a targeted manner. This is possible through the use of self-learning technologies.

This technology basically consists of two components – an energy management component and a billing component. The energy management component controls and optimizes generation and consumption facilities. The more heterogeneous these plants are, the better the technology can play out its strengths. Similar to a conductor, you orchestrate all the producers and consumers in a neighbourhood and can thus save money. This is based on linear optimization models and the basic idea that one tries to make generation and consumption coincide. In very, very simple terms, the car should be charged when the sun is shining. Load peaks are absorbed by trying to switch on flexible loads when other loads are not running at the same time.

The billing component is an energy data management system. It is used to take the various energy data from the management systems, such as from the meter and the generation components, and assign it correctly according to the source. It can create bills for the customer or fulfill the obligation to report to distributor and government authorities. Intercepting the relevant energy data correctly, making it transparent, and billing or forwarding it correctly is the job of the billing component.

These components can also be used individually, for example only the energy management in the neighbourhood or only the billing component in tenant electricity projects. However, the great advantage of our offer is that the components can be combined. For example, the charging station can also be billed correctly for controlled fleet charging in the neighbourhood. This is what makes the product so strong.

At the moment many are dealing with the decentralization of energy supply, what separates you from their ideas?

AMPEERS ENERGY ensures that energy generation, transport, consumption and billing are as simple as, for example, e-commerce today. In this way we enable our customers to enter the energy management 4.0 environment, in which all players and technical components are seamlessly integrated. Each individual market participant can thus realize considerable savings potential, in some cases up to 40 percent. E-vehicle fleets can become a real alternative to existing diesel vehicles through our SaaS solution and much more. New types of business models based on intelligent energy can thus be created.

The big difference to our competitors is that we take a holistic view of decentralized business models and do not just deliver partial solutions. With us, you get the complete software support for the implementation of an overall decentralized business model. And this in turn is so user-friendly that we clearly differentiate ourselves from our competitors thanks to this intuitive usability.

Furthermore, thanks to the cooperation with Fraunhofer, we have the advantage of continuously integrating further innovations into our SaaS solutions. This is a market advantage that probably no other startup has.

You just mentioned that you’re a SaaS company. So you offer the applications as a service. What exactly do you charge for?

Yes, we are a Software-as-a-Service company and generate revenues by licensing our products to customers.

Pricing consists of a setup fee, and a usage fee. In the Set Up Fee, we calculate the setup expenses, such as customizing the system or connecting the interfaces to the system. And to keep the entry hurdle low so that monthly costs are not too high, the pay per use fee is paid after use. For tenant electricity projects, this is per apartment/per meter. We calculate the pay-per-use fee for neighborhood management and for fleet optimization per KWh.

For the time being, we are not planning to provide any additional services outside our core products. We are concentrating on the continuous development, implementation and maintenance of our products.

Who exactly are you addressing with your solutions? Do you also address markets outside Germany?

There are three main target groups for our services: Energy suppliers and service providers, the real estate industry and fleet operators.

For our tenant power and neighbourhood solutions, for example, all medium-sized and large housing construction companies are suitable. Also all companies with relevant large housing stock (church, private, public and co-operatives) are relevant customer groups. There are approximately 40 million apartments in Germany – 10% of which are tenant electricity and suitable for the AE Local Supplier. All larger building complexes with a heterogeneous generation infrastructure are suitable for our neighbourhood energy management system.  Examples for this group would be airports, shopping centres, purely residential districts or various mixed districts. The AE Fleet Optimizer is worthwhile for all companies that have at least 10 electric vehicles.

And to the question of internationalisation we can answer that we are already in the process of internationalising in the DACH region. At the end of the day, our solutions are not limited to the German energy market. With a (neighbourhood) energy management system, the only question is what should be optimised. And if this involves cost optimization under boundary conditions (e.g. maximizing the own power consumption), then this is only a mathematical function that is optimized. It is possible to use our product everywhere internationally. At the moment we focus on the DACH region, later on Europe and finally everywhere where our products can be used.

Now, we only have one question left. As winner of the kraftwerk city accelerator Bremen Challenge and Frauenhofer Spin-off your idea is very popular. Where do you stand with your startup at the moment?

We have successfully completed the first financing round. The first two products (District Manager and Local Supplier) are successfully on the market and we have a double-digit number of customers. At this point, we would like to proudly announce that we have won the Fraunhofer Founder’s Prize 2019. This prize honours the most successful Fraunhofer spin-off of the year active on the market, whose products and services have a direct social benefit.

We find it motivating to make an active contribution to the energy turnaround and thus also to a greener future with our daily work. And for those who also believe that we should no longer just talk about the energy turnaround, but finally tackle it, we encourage you to join us and take a look at our website. There you will find open job offers (and the contact details for a initiative application).

Thank you for the interview!

Gerrit, we also thank you for the interesting conversation! We wish you continued success and will follow your developments with great interest. If anyone wants to learn more about you, we invite them to check out your Innoloft profile and your requests.

MagnoTherm Solutions is the Startup of the Week 6: Next generation cooling


Energy Efficiency and Environment, Health & FoodTech

Conventional cooling systems often use problematic gases. In this case “problematic” means extremely flammable, toxic or refers to a high greenhouse effect. Our startup of the week does without these gases in their products and uses magnetic materials instead. Timur Sirman, Co-Founder of MagnoTherm Solutions, explains today how this works exactly.

Hello Timur! Thanks for being here today. Our first question is this: What is behind MagnoTherm Solutions?

We develop and build environmentally friendly cooling units for the cooling and heating systems of the future: with magnetic materials without any problematic gases.

How does this process work?

Active metals are cyclically heated and cooled by means of a permanent magnet. This is done by the magnetocaloric effect of these active metals. They become warm when they are exposed to a magnetic field – and cold when the magnetic field is reduced. Using a water-based exchange medium, the heat and cold can be transported from the solid and made useful. For this purpose, motor, pump, valves and control elements are used.

Why is it better to dispense with gases and use magnetic materials instead?

Without the use of F-gases, flammable gases, toxic gases or other problematic gases, our system is up to 40% more efficient than the best compressor-based cooling system available today. And this is independent of the temperature stroke or temperature range. This can be achieved by individualizing the active metals. As a result, highly efficient systems can be realized even for warm ambient temperatures and small temperature strokes, with a greenhouse potential of zero.

And that in turn is better for the environment. How do you integrate it all into a business model?

Our cooling units are integrated by our customer into his cooling system and then sold to the user. Here we develop customized products for our integration partner. In doing so, we can respond very quickly and precisely to the respective needs of the user, as our standardized structure allows the active metals to be adapted to the requirements at any time.

Who do you address with your products?

In principle, we can implement cooling units with a cooling capacity between 100 W and 100 kW. The European supermarket refrigeration industry is the first sales market, as the challenges are the greatest there. However, other markets we address are IT cooling, industrial cooling and heat pumps.

What stage of development are you currently in? How mature is your product?

We are currently building the first prototype, which will have a cooling capacity of 500 W to 1kW. This year we will equip a cooling system for Food&Beverages with this. At the same time, we are in talks with development partners to build further systems.

Timur, I’m afraid we’ve come to the end of the interview. We thank you for the exciting interview and wish you continued success. To find more about MagnoTherm Solutions, you can take a look at their Innoloft profile!

ChargeX is the Startup of the Week 5: Future-proof charging infrastructure for electric mobility


Energy Efficiency and Environment, Mobility

The switch to alternative drives in the field of mobility is in full swing. E-mobility is one way to implement the energy transition on the road. But the expansion of charging infrastructure is long and complicated. It is therefore only a question of time before a shortage in the availability of charging points appears. ChargeX, our Startup of the Week, has developed a product for that. It makes the assembly and development of new charging points easier and more efficient. An exciting idea, which we talk about in an interview with co-founder and CBDO Michael Masnitza.

Hello, Michael! We are happy to learn more about your startup today and therefore we will start right away. What is your idea at ChargeX?

At ChargeX we develop modular charging solutions for electric cars.

It would be great, if you would give us some background information about your solutions. How does your idea work in detail?

With our modular charging solution for electric cars called “Aqueduct” many parking spaces can be electrified at low cost and with little installation effort. The modular concept enables operators of fleet parking lots and underground garages to expand their charging infrastructure cost-effectively and in line with demand.

The modular charging system of ChargeX starts with the start module. This is regularly installed by an electrician. It forms the first charging point and contains all core components such as the energy meter and the internet connection. Now further charging points, the expansion modules, can be added as required, simply as “plug & play”. Based on our intelligent charging algorithm, the electric car to be charged is determined during operation. From the customer’s point of view, we offer a modular multiple socket for charging stations. From a grid viewpoint, we create a small microgrid of charging stations to make optimal use of the existing grid connection.

Since electromobility is currently on everyone’s lips, most of the problems are already known and are being addressed by many young companies. What makes your solution special and how do you open up the way to practical application?

Aqueduct makes optimum use of the existing network infrastructure thanks to our sequential load management and the plug&play system reduces installation costs to a minimum. Our product concept focuses on advantages that can only be used if several parking spaces are electrified. In addition, we save many components, which also makes the hardware significantly cheaper. This makes it very easy for our customers to set up a large-scale charging infrastructure. Aqueduct is a complete system. Even the internet connection to a backend is pre-configured. So the customer only has to unpack it, install the system and he has immediately set up several charging points. If he needs more charging points in the future, he can easily add more modules.

What is the pricing-model for Aqueduct?

Our system is primarily aimed at companies that need charging points for their fleet or employees. Of course, it is also ideally suited for urban living areas, i.e. large underground car parks. Each charging module costs 750€. We offer a Starter-KIT consisting of 4 modules and all installation materials for 3499 €. If the customer needs an additional backend system, we deliver a partner backend directly with the system.

You have just briefly mentioned your target group that ChargeX addresses. In which other segments and industries are your customers establishing themselves?

Our charging solution is designed for private and semi-public charging of electric cars, i.e. at home or at work. The applications are the electrification of company parking lots, underground garages or garages of residential buildings with more than one electric car. The customers are communities of owners or operators of these fleet parking lots and underground garages. In addition to private individuals, a Renault car dealership was acquired as a test partner and we have validated our concept in several customer meetings and received LOIs.

We compete with manufacturers of low-cost charging stations and with hardware-oriented providers of load management systems. However, these cause high costs per charging point, are expensive to install or not suitable for the electrification of several parking spaces. By deliberately avoiding the market segments of quick charging stations and public charging, which are in the focus of the media, we can offer a more suitable and cost-efficient solution for the customer. We are targeting the growth market of charging infrastructure in the private and semi-public charging segment. Our product can be used throughout Europe.

Which brings me to my last question: You founded the company in 2017 and have certainly reached some milestones since then. What are these milestones? Where do you currently stand in the development of Aqueduct?

With our first prototype, we have achieved proof of concept thanks to the support of the Climate-KIC Accelerator. In mid-2018 we were able to convince the first business angels of our idea. The product (MVP) is certified since March 2019 and the first pilot customers like Volkswagen are already equipped with charging systems. Aqueduct can be ordered regularly. However, as a startup we cannot cover all areas of the value chain. We are primarily looking for local resellers for our charging solution. Currently we are looking for seed financing of 1.5M€ for the preparation of scaling.

Michael, thank you very much for the interesting interview! We wish you every success in the further implementation of your vision. If anyone would like to support ChargeX, please have a look at their Innoloft profile or the Innoloft requests.

SOLARIMO is the startup of the week 2: New energy for cities


Energy Efficiency and Environment, Energy Market & Trading, Energy Supply

The consequences of climate change are already very noticable. Fortunately, in Germany we have not yet been affected by natural disasters such as floods or severe forest fires. Nevertheless, we too must transform our behaviour to be more sustainable. Photovoltaics and green electricity are popular solutions to curb the production of CO2. However, the planning and construction of such a system is often complicated and daunting. Our start-up of the week, SOLARIMO takes care of exactly this case. We discussed what this looks like in detail with Sebastian Lammers, project developer at SOLARIMO.

Hi, Sebastian! Thanks for taking time for us today. We are very much looking forward to getting to know SOLARIMO better. So would you give us a little pitch right now about what you do at SOLARIMO?

Sure! SOLARIMO plans, builds and operates photovoltaic systems on rental properties. This generates the so-called tenant electricity with which we give the tenants access to the cheap green electricity from their own roof. In this way we contribute to a sustainable energy supply.

That sounds very exciting! What exactly does the concept behind it look like?

As already mentioned, we build and plan photovoltaic systems on apartment buildings and offer the sustainably generated electricity to the tenants. The building owners benefit from a sustainable and social upgrading of their properties. The entire construction process is carried out and accompanied by us with local installers. This implementation of a tenant electricity project is possible with our model for new and existing properties. We also implement projects with battery storage units and charging points for electric vehicles.

At present, there are many new companies with the idea of installing photovoltaic systems on real estate and thus generating green electricity. What added value do you generate with SOLARIMO that your competitors do not offer?

We offer our customers a complete tenant electricity package. Here we take over the consulting, planning, financing and installation of the system. In addition, we take care of the entire process, including marketing and selling the electricity to the tenants. The tenants receive the complete power supply from us at a price at least 10% below the basic supply tariff. They can thus participate in and benefit from the energy turnaround. By installing photovoltaic systems, building owners contribute to the energy turnaround in urban areas and ensure a local and climate-friendly energy supply.

I see. What does your pricing model look like?

Our business model is simple: we offer tenants a low-cost and ecological electricity tariff and try to produce the majority of the electricity on their own roof. At the same time, our B2B customers gain an advantage by being able to position themselves sustainably. We generate our income from selling electricity to the tenants and from the remuneration for feeding the remaining electricity into the grid.

Until now you have named the B2B sector as one of your customer segments. Do you target your product only at B2B customers? Could you be more specific about your target groups??

Our customer group can be divided into the B2B and B2C market. B2B are the building owners. This would include, for example, cooperatives, housing construction companies as well as project developers and municipalities. Currently we are only active nationally.

Finally, we would like to know in which development phase SOLARIMO is currently in. What are your future goals, especially in 2020?

SOLARIMO has been on the market for 2 years and has already implemented more than 3200 Kwp in energy in over 35 projects. At present, several follow-up orders are already on hold in various cooperatives, so that we look forward to the next fiscal year with confidence and optimism. As we are a corporate start-up of the Engie Group, we are not dependent on external financing next year.

Sebastian, thank you very much for this exciting and detailed interview. We wish you every success for the further development of SOLARIMO. If you would like to support you in this, please take a look at your Innoloft profile.

Greenlytics is the Startup of the Week 51: weather forecasting for decision optimization


Energy Efficiency and Environment, IT & ICT

Weather forecasting is actually more interesting than just knowing if there will be rain tomorrow. Knowing how weather will affect business operations is very important for power and utility companies. Greenlytics, our Startup of the Week is using weather data and artificial intelligence to help companies to transform into a sustainable and more efficient way to produce and consume energy. We spoke to Sebastian Haglund El Gaidi, CEO of Greenlytics, to find out more about their idea.

Hello Sebastian, thank you for taking time for this interview! We start directly with the first question: How would you describe Greenlytics in one sentence?

At Greenlytics, we are like Google analytics for weather and energy data.

Could you tell us more about the technology that you are using?

Sure! We combine the fields of energy, meteorology and data science to create products that help in the transformation to a sustainable energy future. We offer a platform, with four different modules.

The first one is the datahub, where weather data gets collected and stored. In this case, weather data consists out of measurement, analysis and forecast information.

Second, we have our business impact forecast. In detail that means that we make mappings between weather forecasts and how the future weather might impact the business of energy companies. This forecasted impact could for example be, future heat consumption for district heating, storm impact on grid infrastructure or forecasting of renewable power production. The forecasting module uses open source machine learning technologies that can be run on scalable compute infrastructure for large scale computations.

Moreover we have the decision optimisation, which provides scalable optimisation technology. To illustrate: business impact forecasts can be used as input to optimise decisions regarding power trading, maintenance or operations.

The last module in our platform is the visualisation module. This is especially important for the user. With this module we create interactive visualisations that make Big (weather) Data and output from machine learning models descriptive and intuitive for the users.

This sounds very promising, especially with regard to the technologies used. In order to survive on the market in the long run, you still have to prevail against competing companies. Which unique selling proposition do you use to approach this competition?

To put it simply: With the Greenlytics Platform our customers save an immense amount of time. What I mean by that is, energy companies can go from an idea to actual operational value in just 20% of the time compared to before. In addition to this, the Greenlytics platform allows to pull human operators out from the decision loop. Therefore they can oversee and criticise data-driven decisions. We are making decision problems easy to solve, improve process efficiency and reduce costs. It also allows companies to reduce their environmental impact and increase reliability of their assets.

How do you incorporate your product into a profitable business model? Do you offer your product as a service?

Yes, exactly. We offer our Software as a Service, meaning that you get access to the software, but it is still hosted on our servers. Also we employ a ”pay-as-you-go” business model, that is similar to cloud providers such as Amazon or IBM Cloud.

And where is your target market located?

Currently, most of our clients are from Europe. However we are also operating internationally.

What are your plans for the future of Greenlytics? As far as I know, you have recently launched a new product, is that correct?

Yes, we just launched the Beta of our Forecasting-as-a-Service product offering. Anyone can go to our website and sign up – and it will be completely for free during the Beta period. Now we are looking to get pilots as well as investors. For the pilots we are looking to do weather analytics projects for utility companies to help solve their needs as well as continue the development of our platform.

Sebastian, thank you very much for giving us detailed insights into Greenlytics and your products. We are thrilled to see your startup develop further, especially during the next year.

More interesting information about Greenlytics can be found in their Innoloft profile and their requests.

Komprenu is the Startup of the Week 50: Innovative Software for Energy Monitoring and Condition Monitoring


Energy Efficiency and Environment, IT & ICT

When it comes to saving resources, you can fall back on many software solutions that measure the consumption of equipment and machines. However, a company uses equipment from different manufacturers that needs to be monitored. Therefore there are often compatibility problems. In order to make energy monitoring and condition monitoring more transparent, our startup of the week, Komprenu, has developed a software solution that makes it much easier to view data and find potential savings. We sat down with Rolf-Dieter Clavery, CEO of Komprenu, to discuss the solutions and technologies in detail.

Hello Rolf-Dieter! I’m glad you have time to answer a few questions! Let’s dive straight in. What are you doing at Komprenu?

At Komprenu we are committed to making resource conservation easy. For this purpose, we develop our manufacturer-independent Katmai platform. The platform records data for energy management, condition monitoring or building data. The data is visualized and the savings potential can be optimally exploited with the help of machine learning.

That sounds like an exciting idea! The visualization aspect in particular makes it easier for users to quickly understand the data and take appropriate action. What technology is behind it?

The data is collected from the measuring devices in a company and transmitted to our server via a small connector and a secure connection. There, the data is processed and subjected to analysis. The configuration and the visualization, which can be designed by the user, take place via a pure web interface. This means that the application can be operated and used on any device, from a mobile device to a desktop PC.

In most cases, the measurement structures in companies have grown over time. It is therefore likely that different measuring devices and/or platforms have come together. We can use different data sources and also merge data from several portals of different manufacturers or energy suppliers into one database. The energy manager in a company no longer has to manually check different sources for a monthly report, and thus gets more time to take care of the optimization issue.

But energy monitoring is nothing new anymore. After all, there are many young companies that take up this challenge. What makes you stand out?

Our software makes the consumption of resources transparent: where is how much of which resource consumed and when. Other EM systems do the same. However, we go further and offer to look into the machine with extended sensor technology and to record status data there as well, which can then be related to the consumption data. This makes it possible to form key figures, down to a single piece in series production. Once these figures have been determined, they can also be used to calculate the energy consumption for the planned production. In addition, the energy consumption can be optimized and/or the energy can be purchased on the spot market.

That sounds like a good showcase! Do you sell your software as part of a Software-as-a-Service model?

Our software is still in a state of flux and is constantly being expanded. Therefore, we currently only offer it as a service, which we operate in a German computer center certified according to ISO 27001. In the foreseeable future, however, it will also be available as an “On Premises” solution.

We charge a monthly flat rate for the service and an amount per measured value. This makes the costs manageable and affordable even for small businesses.

Saving resources is a process that takes some time and is carried out in different steps. We would like to accompany this process. In addition to our software, we also offer support in planning the measuring points, together with the energy manager or an energy consultant, the configuration and setup of the visualization. In addition, we help with the interpretation of the collected data.

We are also happy to create software for individual projects as a service. Together we have more than half a century of experience in the development of software for industrial processes in various industries. We are happy to bring this knowledge to our customers!

Which target group do you want to reach with your product? And on which markets do you already operate?

Now at the beginning, our target group is the plastics processing industry. Here there is a savings potential of up to 50 %. Even in smaller companies, costs can be saved every year in the amount of the price of a privatly-owned apartment. Ok, we are not talking about the size of the apartment here… However, we do not limit ourselves to this, but offer our services to companies of any industry!

Especially suppliers for larger companies will have to face the challenge of climate neutrality. Here the saving of energy, as preparation, is a must.

The finiteness of resources does not stop at German borders. This also applies to Europe and the rest of the world. Even if we first address companies predominantly in Germany, the web platform offers a location- and country-independent possibility to offer the services.

You mentioned earlier that you want to further develop your software. Where are you standing right now with Komprenu and your Katmai platform?

Our platform is ready to collect and visualize data and is looking for pilot customers. We are currently working to implement the remaining items on the BAFA list and to be classified as eligible energy management software. This should be the case in Q1/2020. In parallel, we are planning the next steps towards condition monitoring and machine learning.

Rolf-Dieter, thank you very much for this exciting interview! We wish you continued success in expanding your product and look forward to seeing how Komprenu will develop!

If you want to learn more about Komprenu, take a look at their Innoloft profile and their Innoloft Requests!

Bia is the startup of week 49: AI-controlled optimization of power grids for electromobility


Energy Efficiency and Environment, IT & ICT

Electric cars are gaining ground due to economic and environmental developments. However, our electricity grids are not designed for these developments. Because the electrification of transport increases peak demand and causes additional costs, inefficiencies and environmental pollution in the electricity grids. In addition, electricity grids have difficulties integrating renewable energies due to interruptions and a lack of disposition control, which leads to fluctuations in the grid. Our startup of the week, Bia, has addressed these issues and developed machine learning solutions for them. Today we talk to Anne-Lise Laurain, Head of Product Strategy at Bia, to learn more about the startup and his idea.

Hello Anne-Lise! Thank you for taking the time for us today. We’ll start with the first question right away. What are you doing at Bia?

At Bia, we develop software solutions to transform electric vehicles and distributed storage into core components of clean and resilient power grids. We control the charging process of electric vehicles so that the entire flexible capacity is available for grid operation, while fleets and individual EV owners have constant availability, cheaper charging and healthier batteries.

That sounds very exciting! How does the whole thing work in detail?

Our software platform provides tools for optimized interoperability between e-mobility and utilities. It reduces power costs and minimizes battery degradation for EVs by optimizing the charging process while maintaining the customer experience. In addition, our software is able to remotely control charging and forecasting flexibility. This provides network operators with new tools to manage peak loads from EVs and facilitate intermittent renewable energy integration.

Our first service offering, Analytics for Insights, includes data analysis to identify the flexibility value, a simulation model with optimization scenarios, and a proposal for implementation. When we implement an optimized EV charge, our customers save money, conserve battery power and have the opportunity to participate in grid services.

We also have optimisation software called Opti. It includes customizable options such as incentive regulation for high power generation times. Finally, the consolidation and optimisation of these storage facilities becomes a valuable network service, enabling new revenue from peak loads, demand sponsoring and additional services, and providing valuable data sets and insights for network operators.

At the moment many people are working on the optimization of store networks, what distinguishes you from their ideas?

Our platform is based on an asset-agnostic cloud architecture that can be used for a wide range of distributed storage resources and is designed for large-scale deployment. Our machine learning algorithms analyze and predict EV behavior. Then our optimization and aggregation models find the highest value in flexibility, renewable consumption and participation in carrier markets.

Unlike most of our competitors, we do not focus on hardware development, but on the development of scalable and hardware-independent software.

In addition, we strategically include the untapped market of light EV fleets, which only very few companies consider. “Analytics for Insights” provides data analysis services that simulate optimization opportunities for customers before they decide to implement our software.

Our pilot projects in the emerging energy markets offer the opportunity to validate a wide range of applications, from charge optimization to V2G capabilities, while we establish Bia as a global platform with positive impacts on rural communities and mini-networks to centralized systems in the most advanced environments.

We are a “world positive” company with the conviction that Zero Carbon Grids are not only possible, but that they are robust, reliable and accessible to all.

How do you integrate your cloud solution including the various services into one business model?

We have various opportunities to generate sales. First, Bia generates revenue through data and simulation services with consulting contracts under Analytics for Insights. This is calculated at a fixed project price, which varies depending on the size and quality of the data set and the volume of the fleet or loading infrastructure capacity.

First, we generate revenue from a monthly fee with Opti implementations as EV operators and charging point owners benefit from lower electricity bills, optimized battery life and participation in grid services.

As an aggregator, we will generate revenue from participation in demand management, load shifting and the provision of ancillary services.

For utilities, we can offer flexibility forecasts, visibility behind the meter and data services for real-time and future planning requirements for a flat annual fee.

In which markets are you represented?

We are focusing on Europe and the US as we see the potential in opening the markets for EV growth and demand response. Based on expected EV growth in the US and Europe and Cenex research from network services, the combined market size in Europe and the US will be at least $50 billion by 2030.

We also see significant opportunities in emerging markets, as the growth of light EVs and renewable energy will exponentially increase over the next few years. Overall, we see a global market opportunity of $100 billion.

Where do you stand at the moment with the development of Bia? Is your cloud platform already usable?

7 months ago we officially founded ourselves and are a member of the Telefonica Accelerator Program. We are also involved in several other pilot projects and programs. For example, we have a LEV2MG (Light-EV 2 Minigrid) pilot project in Bangladesh in cooperation with SOLShare, which owns and operates 18 micro-networks throughout the country. We see great potential in emerging markets to validate our technology, train our AI and test commercial strategies. We are also working on a new pilot in Uganda to monitor and optimize the battery change stations for electric motorcycles.

Our current focus is on using our MVP in the commercial environment and integrating our customer pipeline through Analytics for Insights, which provides data and optimization services.

We are now in a seed financing round and are looking for angel investors, public funds and grants to generate our first revenues.

Anne-Lise, unfortunately we have already arrived at the end of the interview. Thank you very much for the exciting insights into your idea. People, who are interested in Bia can check out your Innoloft Profile and your Innoloft Requests.