Last month an EIT InnoEnergy student founded start-up, Seeds Renewables, received global recognition as they brought home two gold medals in the Red Bull Basement contest. Seeds is a gamified mobile app which sits uniquely at the crossroads of Cleantech and Financial Tech.
Seeds Renewables crowdfunds the construction of renewable energy projects by collecting the spare change from their investor community’s everyday purchases to provide loans to renewable energy cooperatives. Their investors receive both a competitive return on investment as well as they can watch as their investments offset their personal carbon footprint, a unique value proposition within the impact investing industry.
The company, established in Spain in October 2020 by four EIT InnoEnergy MSc Renewable Energy students: Alba Forns, Guillermo Marchessi Riera, Jose Luis Colomer Bel and Will Wiseman, has been making rapid strides in both development and traction. The Red Bull contest proved to be a stepping off point for social proof and marketing.
The Red Bull contest was a call for innovative start-up ideas within the areas of accessibility, body & mind, career, clean water, climate action, education, empowerment, energy and smart cities. Ideas were initially ranked by total votes received within a three-day voting window open to everyone globally. Following this stage, the top 3 voted start-ups within each country moved on to a jury selection round and from there the jury selected a single idea.
This country representative wins a partnership with Red Bull’s global business accelerator programme, an illustrious and reputable programme. Seeds Renewables won both of its contest categories, climate action and energy, by a margin of over 10% of total votes, racking up 1122 votes in total!
The entrepreneurial process is often a curving path covered with successes, failures, pivots, opportunities and setbacks. As Will Wiseman, CEO of Seeds Renewables, explained “The process is almost never linear, but always forward.” He said this was especially true this time because “I actually only learned about the Red Bull contest through a contact I made while planning a TEDx event. The event ended up getting cancelled because of COVID-19 but without pursuing that opportunity and persisting through that setback we never would have walked away with this big victory.”
Despite not winning the spot in Red Bull’s business accelerator, the awards did stir up new investor interest, prompting conversations with two new venture capital firms and a business angel firm within Barcelona. Through these talks, Seeds Renewables has recently agreed to partner with Swala Ventures to move through a financial readiness bootcamp in preparation for raising a pre-seed financing round aimed to close in June 2021.
“We are at a very exciting point in this journey. Collaborating with other EIT supported initiatives we are working to bring on some software development talent from the EIT Digital programme. We just hired a marketing intern and things are beginning to move very quickly. This is what every entrepreneur lives for.” added Wiseman.