A new way to connect: easier, faster and safer!

gulplug rethinks the way in which your machines connect to electrical power and the internet with new services: reduction in energy use, increase in factory competitiveness, ease of connection for the general public…all convincing arguments for the gulplug magnetic electrical plug and sensor.

Since 2014, the gulplug team, incubated by KIC InnoEnergy, has been developing a magnetic electrical plug that allows 220V electrical devices to be rapidly and easily pluged and unpluged. In parallel, gulplug developed a wireless and battery-less sensor within PLESMO, an innovation project co‑financed by KIC InnoEnergy. This technology contributes to quick and easy energy savings, and has already been tested out in several European factories. gulplug estimates that the widespread implementation of this system could reduce European energy use between 2 and 2.5%, or nearly 10% of the 2030 energy-climate package’s goal. Both the magnetic electrical plug and associated sensor will open the door to new connected services as a third line of business.

Innovation in touch with reality

Develop an innovative and decidedly useful technology, all the while creating jobs: these are the goals of gulplug’s seven founders based in Grenoble, France.

KIC InnoEnergy never once hesitated in their support of gulplug’s development. Xavier Pain, CEO and co-founder of gulplug, shares his entrepreneurial experience.

How did you come up with the idea for gulplug and what was the key to its development?

Xavier Pain: At the beginning we wanted to create a magnetic electrical plug that was easier and safer to use, particularly for people with reduced mobility, so that home care services can be facilitated. The consumer tests were very convincing and it became obvious that we needed to enhance the connected smart plug. In parallel, we also developed a sensor to measure energy use. In an industrial setting, for example, the data collected from the sensor is useful to detect machines which are not working, but are still consuming energy. This results in significant energy savings. Those two technologies combined will join the pool of connected services (Internet of Things).

The collective action involved in the gulplug start-up allowed it to obtain concrete results. Once completed, the magnetic electrical plug and associated sensor will spawn many connected services.

What conditions encouraged these developments?

Xavier Pain: The technologies were first created at Schneider Electric and then the project took flight and spread thanks to backing by: KIC InnoEnergy, Gate1, the Regional Council of Rhône-Alpes, BPI France, the G2ELab research lab, and customers such as, Fenwick, Seb Calor, ARaymond, Renault. With gulplug, we won the national grant for innovating start-ups in 2014, organised by the Minister of Higher Education and Research, and we were among the six European projects nominated for the EIT Awards 2015. This was wonderful publicity for our project, highlighting the importance of our initiative. We also relied on human expertise capable of responding to gulplug’s challenges. Today, we have an original team model. Our team is made up of two entrepreneurs (co-founders), three young engineers and three expert advisors from Schneider Electric. It is immensely satisfying to be able to create economic activity and jobs.

The PLESMO project, funded by KIC InnoEnergy, is a true springboard for initiatives like gulplug!

What advice would you give to those who wish to invest in this type of initiative?

Xavier Pain: Dare to jump right in and reassess, constantly and at times, profoundly! With gulplug, we experienced changes and resistance in our trajectory, but we never gave up – each time our motivation increased tenfold! Putting together a start-up represents collaborative entrepreneurial freedom. From the beginning idea to its fruition, by way of field tests or finding partnerships and financing, this project is a fantastic collective adventure. The key is to be open and well supported in all areas.

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