INCENSe (INternet Cleantech ENablers Spark), the only cleantech and energy startup accelerator co-funded by the European Commission within its FIWARE Accelerate programme, has closed its second open call. A total of 257 applications were received from 29 European countries and Israel, with over 50% of the applicants coming from Spain and Italy. INCENSe was launched by Enel, Endesa, Accelerace and FundingBox with the aim of encouraging innovation and high-tech employment in the European energy sector by accelerating the implementation of clean technology.
“The large number of applications received in INCENSe’s second call highlights the attractiveness of Enel’s open innovation initiatives to the world of startups,” said Enel’s Head of Innovation and Sustainability Ernesto Ciorra. “This interest comes from the fact that INCENSe offers a genuine opportunity to innovate thanks to the support offered by the consortium. This can seen in the 14 winners of the first call, who in the three months following their selection began collaborating with Enel and INCENSe’s other partners in order to improve their products and services, with some of them reaching collaborative agreements. Furthermore, the consortium partners are working with the chosen startups via an acceleration programme considered to be among the world’s best by specialist external advisors.”
Independent experts and the INCENSe Evaluation Committee, which is composed of managers from the partner companies that kick-started the initiative, launched the evaluation process in October. This process is due to end in December 2015, with a Pitching Day during which the finalists will present their projects and up to 28 winners will be announced. The call was launched in June 2015, and since then 257 applicants have submitted their online technology platform (FIWARE)-based projects to www.incense-accelerator.com. Submissions were classified under the following categories: Energy Efficiency & Home Automation, Renewable Energy, Renewable Forecasting Solutions, Smart Grids, Energy Storage, Advanced Diagnostic & Automation Solutions, e-Mobility, Cyber-Security and Digitalization of Energy through ICT.
The winning startups will be supported and accelerated thanks to a non-reimbursable grant of up to 150,000 euros cash each (with no equity considerations) and support services. These services, which will be supplied by INCENSe partners, include a six-month acceleration programme, additional coaching sessions, tailored workshops on European funding programmes, possibility of accessing test beds in Spain (Smart City Malaga), Denmark (Next Step City Living Lab in Esbjerg) and Italy, as well as brokerage events during which startups will be able to present their projects to “Business Angel” investors.
The 14 startups selected in the first call are currently involved in their acceleration programme, taking part in the INCENSe Camps in Rome, which provide the companies with classes on the most important business topics and are significant networking opportunities.
With an overall budget of nearly eight million euros co-funded by the European Commission, INCENSe is coordinated by Enel, one of Europe’s largest listed utility. Other partners include Enel’s Spanish subsidiary Endesa, the leading electricity company in Spain, Accelerace (Denmark), Scandinavia’s leading accelerator, which has experience in developing startup companies and working with next-generation energy and digital products and services, and FundingBox Accelerator (Poland), the first and largest global public funding platform for startups and researchers. Startups will benefit from the experience of these strong partners, and from the opportunities that Enel Group’s large customer base and global presence could represent for their products and services.
The FIWARE Accelerator Programme is the third phase of the Future Internet Public Private Partnership (FI-PPP) Programme, which was launched by the European Commission in 2011. The FI-PPP Programme has involved key European technology companies in the development of an internet-based free technology platform (FIWARE), with a budget of 400 million euros for the first two phases. The third phase, which will have an 80 million-euro budget, aims to give products and services based on these technologies access to the market by supporting SMEs and web entrepreneurs, accelerating a new generation of European startups and encouraging high-tech employment.
For further details on INCENSe: www.incense-accelerator.com.