We are pleased to announce that Hygge Power has been invited to Free Electrons, arguably one of the most prestigious and selective energy startup programs in the world. Each year, Free Electrons offers startups the chance to collaborate with 10 global energy giants. Free Electrons seeks the most promising later-stage energy startups and is committed to supporting energy entrepreneurs and startups in transforming the energy market by co-creating the next generation of ideas in energy, energy efficiency, e-mobility, digitization, data-driven business models and on-demand customer services.
About the Free Electrons Program
The 2019 Cohort begins this week as a one-week bootcamp in Dublin, Ireland, followed by successive modules in Ohio, Hong Kong and Lisbon, Portugal. During the bootcamp, the top 30 companies are invited to showcase their respective solutions and teams. After, selected startups participate in three modules of roughly a week each, competing for the coveted “Free Electrons World’s Best Energy Startup” recognition, with a prize of $200,000.
Value of Free Electrons Program
For Hygge Power, the program offers an unprecedented opportunity for us to share our OPO smart plug and home energy storage device with clean-tech investors and leaders across a global network of potential customers. On top of that, Free Electrons helps us quickly “level up” with curated support and access to a network of utility giants, which is crucial. Utilities, in general, have barriers and a lot of red tape to deal with, and we have seen firsthand how the Free Electrons program can help remove those obstacles.
With Free Electrons, energy startups are afforded the luxury of legitimate face-to-face time with 10 utilities during workshop sessions in order to determine whether a pilot aligns to their objectives, what the success criteria are, and what additional resources are needed from the utility. From there, the program kicks off pilot programs for immediate testing, allowing for true innovation.
Beyond in-depth meetings with leaders of global energy giants and opportunities for strategic investments from utilities, startups chosen for Free Electrons receive unparalleled exposure to Australian, Asian, European and U.S. markets through three separate week-long ‘customer adoption’ modules. Each startup benefits from spending one-on-one time bouncing ideas off mentors and other mentorship support, and the program is structured to facilitate ongoing conversations between startups and utilities to seed pilot projects, investments and other commercial relationships.
What We Learned From Our Participation Last Year
Our interactions with utilities like American Electric Power (AEP), AusNet Services and Electricity Supply Board (ESB) all contributed to shaping the last 12 months at Hygge Power. Whether or not a company that makes it through every module, the mentor conversations the program facilitates can be invaluable if the company demonstrates the capacity to learn.
For example, AEP offered great feedback on improving customer satisfaction. Focused on building a smarter energy infrastructure and delivering new technologies and custom energy solutions to customers, AEP is aiming to become more of an energy partner with customers rather than being an energy provider, and because of that conversation, we were able to determine the value we can leverage customer-centric utilities like AEP to create highly satisfactory experiences for utility customers. We also spent a great deal of time with AusNet and ESB, major energy players in Australia and Ireland, respectively, discussing load shedding and the grid edge tipping point, alternatives to upgrading substations. These discussions brought us back to the drawing board, which helped shape our enhanced commitment to shifting critical plug loads without negatively impacting a customer’s energy uptime and therefore experience.
We look forward to this week’s opportunities to collaborate with these select utilities to receive further feedback, develop near-term “proto-pilots” and use case scenarios for our OPO products.