Four EIT InnoEnergy students are living proof that the adage “being in the right place, with the right people, at the right time” can truly be the start of something wonderful. These bright young energy engineers met during their time in the Master’s in Energy for Smart Cities and have banded together to form start-up Zog. Their innovative tools aim to optimise wind farms and other renewable energy generation facilities through pre-emptive maintenance scheduling to make them cleaner, more reliable, and less costly.
So, what is Zog? Team member, Sriram Venkatakrishnan shares their vision, “We aim to lower the costs in the offshore maintenance sector, which constitutes almost 39% of the total expenditure. When operating costs are reduced, it becomes more interesting to investors. Our technology also means the offshore wind sector can have more standardisation in its maintenance activities – lowering time, costs and most importantly, the carbon footprint in conducting these activities. With other sectors adapting quickly to data-driven techniques for optimising their activities, it’s about time we bring this technology to the offshore maintenance industry.” Steffy Ann Thomas adds, “This is a huge breakthrough for the wind industry. Our machine-learning methodologies are quite simple and will greatly decrease the high price tag of offshore wind energy – making it easy to shift from fossil & nuclear fuel to this 100% clean energy source!”
Seyedeh Armaghan Bahreini (Arma) shares where the idea came from: “The idea was born during the Innovation Journey, in the first year of the Master’s in Energy for Smart Cities programme. We refined it further during the Entrepreneurship Journey while entering different start-up challenges (where our pitch won first place!) and also getting feedback from business and technical experts in the offshore industry. We were invited to join the KTH Innovation programme (pre-incubator), which gave us access to business coaching and more insights into the business, financing and marketing side.” Evgeny Genov adds, “The EFSC programme cultivates the idea of starting a company as a real career option and gives a rough roadmap on how to get there. This is different from purely learning the technical… it’s learning how to apply that technical knowledge towards creating something new!”
Arma shares her insight on starting a company in Europe: “We are testing our product in the North Sea market, but we plan to expand to all of Europe since it’s one of the key players in the offshore industry. Also, the EU governments and accelerator programmes are very active in supporting start-ups in terms of expertise, broad networks and funding – making the EU a great spot to start a company in!” Sriram adds, “The European region is the frontrunner in terms of development and innovation. There are many opportunities for entrepreneurs, with immense support from the government and industries to nurture innovation and entrepreneurship.”
As the team reflects on how far they’ve come from their initial idea to where they are now, a year later after starting Zog, Evgeny excitedly shares: “We’ve come a long way, but there’s lots more to do! We are focused on raising seed capital, running a field test and gaining more partners in our target market regions of Denmark, Netherlands and Belgium. You can follow the teams progress on our LinkedIn page. We are always on the lookout for talent, particularly in stack and cloud development” Steffy reiterates how it has all come together so far, “We have been so fortunate to find each other, with our complementary talents and skills, and be able to tap into the European market which is ripe for our idea. We have lots of collaborations at the moment, as we finalise the creation of our prototype tool and polish it up for the market. Our team clock is always running fast – it’s an exciting time!”