HeatVentors from Hungary is the winner of this year’s edition of international PowerUp! competition for innovative energy start-ups. Rita Farkas and Zoltán Andrássy presented a solution which offers an innovative thermal energy storage with phase change materials which can save 90% space and 20-40% energy with 0,5-2 years return on investment. The technology has a variety of applications for thermal energy storage: from deep freezing technologies to comfort cooling and heating, renewable energy sources, industrial technologies and concentrated solar thermal power plants. HeatVentors was awarded € 20 000 and a chance to be invited to the prestigious InnoEnergy Highway® accelerator.
“The winning team responds to one of the biggest needs of the energy sector: the need for new energy efficient storage solutions. The energy storage area is such a Holy Grail and we see the biggest challenges there”, says Łukasz Świercz, Business Creation Officer of InnoEnergy Central Europe, chairman of the Jury.
The runner-up title and € 10 000 prize was awarded to FLASC from Malta which is an energy storage device that integrates into a floating offshore platform. Third place and € 5 000 went to VIA ALTA from Chech Republic, which is a technology for the production of biofuel from biodegradable waste.
During the Grand Final in Budapest, 12 start-ups presented their solutions before the jury, investors and media. These were the winners of regional finals which took place in Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Greece. The finalists were selected from 158 teams from 24 countries of Central Europe who entered the competition. The stakes were high as the Highway® accelerator is one of the best programmes in cleantech sector in Europe:
“We help actively – we verify the business model, check if the company needs a salesman. We try not to interfere but to show solutions and open doors – we give access to our business and academic partners all over Europe. And this is the main goal of PowerUp! competition” – says Jakub Miler, CEO InnoEnergy Central Europe, the organizer of the competition.
Participation in Highway® was granted to Mebius, the winner of Wild Card, special award from a Global Partner, MOL Group.
Zsolt Winkler, Head of Open Innovation Hub at MOL Group commented: “Our ambitious, transformational 2030 strategy is built on the premise that advancements in technology, coupled with environmental consciousness and new consumer habits are fundamentally changing the entire Oil & Gas industry. At MOL, we see embracing an open innovation culture as the right response to these challenges, and reaching out to startup ecosystem is an important step for us. We are delighted to be the main sponsor of the PowerUp! competition and see so many inspirational ideas materialize in our region. I’d like to congratulate to all participants and wish best of luck to the winners.”
Jury included also: György Bacsa, SVP Group Strategy and Business Development, MOL Group; Viktor Miškovský, Investment Director, Inven Capital; Matias Torrellas, Portfolio Manager, InnoEnergy, Łukasz Świercz, Business Creation Officer, InnoEnergy Central Europe, who was the chairman of the Jury, and Agnieszka Wasilewska-Semail, CEO, Rafako S.A., who assessed the level of the competition as:
“The level that represented the participants of the Grand Final, I judge as very high. The scope of the presented ideas was very broad, but most importantly, each of them could potentially contribute to improving the cleanliness of our environment, and this is the most important thing in this whole competition. As RAFAKO, we are currently seeking solutions for distributed energy and circular economy. We will take a close look at the companies presented today and I am sure that with some of them we will establish closer cooperation.”
The audience had a chance to listen to Jonas Kjellberg, one of the co-creators of Skype and venture capital investor.
What makes PowerUp! stand out from other competitions for start-ups is Bootcamp: before the Grand Final, the participants spent two days on verifying their business models and taking their presentation skills to another level. The coaches and mentors included expert business trainers from Central Europe, e.g. Gleb Maltsev, Estonia, Rafał Szczepanik, Poland and Costas Troulos, Greece.
“The workshops during Bootcamps allowed verifying the perception of business – it was an exceptionally valuable experience. We are proud of the victory and today – more than ever – we believe that we will have accomplished a great deal”– says Zoltán Andrássy from HeatVentors.