Yuri Sebregts from Shell delivers the opening address
Yuri Sebregts from Shell delivers the opening address

More than 520 participants from startups, venture capitalists, business, government, academia and media met at Shell Technology Centre Amsterdam to pitch breakthrough technologies and hear from thought leaders and global executives on entrepreneurship and the energy transition.

Energy Fest was hosted by Shell, DSM, Eneco, Rockstart, Sungevity and Salesforce during Startup Fest Europe, a week-long festival of events across The Netherlands to help startups grow faster. As the only Startup Fest event dedicated to energy, it aimed to inspire connections and future collaborations between startups, investors and corporate innovators: all with a shared interest in tackling the transition towards a world with more energy and less CO2.

Collaboration, courage and determination

Yuri Sebregts, Executive Vice President Innovation, Research and Development and Chief Technology Officer at Shell, gave the opening address on The Innovation Challenge: Accelerating Technology Advancement. Yuri described the energy challenge as “so enormous that no single company or knowledge institute can solve this in isolation – so let’s work together, not only to generate ideas but also to drive them to full deployment.”

Maroš Šefčovič, Vice President European Commission Energy Union, shared The European Commission’s Vision on Energy Union Innovation. Vice President Šefčovič described courage and determination as critical to establishing a successful startup before summarising the Energy Union’s vision, policy, financing and technology pathways.

Showcasing new ideas and innovations

The audience then split as some startups made final preparations to compete in a Startup Pitch Competition and others took their places in a Startup Café to showcase their business ideas and innovations.

Coordinated by Energy Fest co-hosts Shell and Rockstart and moderated by Jan Michael Hess from Ecosummit, the Startup Pitch Competition saw 15 shortlisted companies compete across three categories: Big Data and IT in Energy; Renewable Energy and Storage; and Innovation in Oil and Gas.

Opening remarks from Energy Fest co-hosts Eneco, DSM and Shell set the scene for each competition round. Each startup had three minutes to pitch their business challenge to a jury of energy sector investors and corporates, plus a live audience. Following their pitches, each startup faced a three-minute question and answer session with the jury and audience.

Throughout the day, the Startup Café welcomed 75 startup companies who demonstrated their innovative products and services to venture capitalists, potential customers and accelerators.

Startup Fest Europe co-founder Prince Constantijn closes Energy Fest
Startup Fest Europe co-founder Prince Constantijn closes Energy Fest

Energy in the startup ecosystem

While the Startup Pitch Competition was underway, the main stage welcomed a series of panel discussions and keynote speakers.

A panel session on Venture Capital in Energy Innovation saw leaders from Emerald Technology, SET Ventures, Global Cleantech Capital and Eneco Innovation and Ventures field questions from the moderator and audience.

Two startup companies – each in different stages of their lifecycles – then shared their stories. Allard van Hoeken, an entrepreneur and Netherlands Engineer of the Year 2015, shared his experience of founding startups including Oceans of Energy in 2016. Rod MacGregor, Chief Executive Officer of GlassPoint Solar, described the journey of establishing GlassPoint and its technology which concentrates sunlight to produce steam for enhanced oil recovery.

Another panel session welcomed leaders from Climate-KIC, The Netherlands Parliament, WakaWaka, Energy Academy Europe and Shell for a discussion on the Energy Transition.

Among the large audience of entrepreneurs at Energy Fest, Shell also launched the Bright Energy Ideas Challenge for startups to develop innovative ideas and solutions for future mobility. Participating startups have the chance to win €25,000 in cash, a convertible loan of €100,000 from Shell Technology Ventures and coaching from Shell experts.

Crowning the winners

As the Start Pitch Competition concluded, the full audience reconvened to hear from Michael Liebreich, Founder and Chairman of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, on global clean energy investment trends.

It was then time to reveal the Startup Pitch Competition winners. Mark Dierikx, Director General for Energy, Telecom and Competition, Ministry of Economic Affairs in The Netherlands, set the scene with the Ministry’s perspective on startups in the energy ecosystem and transition. He was then joined by Freek Bisschop from Energy Fest co-host Rockstart to announce the winners.

And the winners were…

  • Big Data and IT in Energy – Octo. The company says its software for managing heating installation systems combines all energy-related data flows in buildings, giving energy producers the ability for lean asset management, reducing costs and giving tenants accurate information on their energy use.
  • Renewable Energy and Storage – E-Kite. A developer of kite power systems, E-Kite says with such systems wind energy can be generated through kites at a 50% lower levelised cost of energy than wind turbines.
  • Innovation in Oil and Gas – Innoseis. According to Innoseis, it delivers the industry’s lightest seismic recording system to enhance hydrocarbon extraction efficiency.

Each winning startup will receive a trip to the United States where they can meet with venture capital firms and corporates to further expand their networks. In addition, Avenergie was named the winning company demonstrating in the Startup Café and will receive a week-long ride in an electric BMWi3 from Energy Fest co-host Sungevity.

As the day drew to a close, His Royal Highness Prince Constantijn of The Netherlands came onstage. Co-founder of Startup Fest Europe, Prince Constantijn praised the energy, innovation and collaboration among the Energy Fest audience and the programme’s contribution to showcasing the talent of the region’s startups and connecting them with investors, business leaders and developers.

Meer in in energie en innovatie

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Onze benadering van innovatie lokt slimme ideeën uit, waarbij sommige gerealiseerd worden als waardevolle technieken en benaderingen die helpen om op een duurzame manier te voorzien in de groeiende energiebehoefte.

Smarter mobility

Energiezuinige brandstoffen en smeermiddelen, tips om zuiniger te rijden en partnerships zijn een paar van de manieren waarop wij helpen om meer mensen en goederen veilig en efficiënt te verplaatsen.