Pauline Massé

Electrifying Insights from Smart Energy 2016

On August 15th, Smart Energy 2016 ended. Now, it’s time to reflect on an accelerator program that gathered a diverse range of innovative entrepreneurs, created lasting friendships, and helped them work on their biggest challenges.

I took part in this adventure as Program Associate, which means that together with Program Director Freerk Bisschop, we ran the Smart Energy program. This included selecting the startups out of hundreds of applications, organising 40+ workshops and lectures, creating 8 exclusive events, and connecting the startups with our network of 78 Smart Energy mentors. Working closely with passionate entrepreneurs is intense, and incredibly rewarding.

Let me show you, in retrospect, what participating in a Rockstart Accelerator program looks like:

An intense, diverse, and brilliant family

The startups from Smart Energy 2016’s batch were as diverse as can be: 10 startups, coming from 11 countries! As their main point of contact, I faced different cultures, ages, personalities and backgrounds… With one common trait: all of them are driven entrepreneurs with brilliant ideas. The startups were working together, even living together as roommates. Hard work and relaxing times created strong friendships, as well as a powerful atmosphere in the office.

A week at Smart Energy

On Mondays, we started the week with our stand-up meeting in the office. Startups shared their plans for the next days, and we told them what workshops or events were coming up in the program. Each time, passion and energy filled the room.

On Wednesday evenings, we could catch-up again, this time with beers, snacks, and pitch training. I loved these moments where I watched the startups practice; together with Freerk, we would give feedback on their performance. Week by week, I was a witness to their constant improvements.

On Fridays, we had peer-to-peer sessions, a moment dedicated to shared learnings, ask for help, and give advice to other startups. We all looked forward to these sessions; from business and strategic matters to which restaurant to go to on the weekend, every question was answered.

Meeting someone new every day

Rockstart’s HQ in Amsterdam is a building full of like-minded entrepreneurs and mentors. Near the coffee machine, on your afternoon break, or at lunch, you often meet with someone who will give you advice or introduce you to his/her network. As part of Rockstart Accelerator, startups also meet 78 mentors, experts in the energy field or fellow entrepreneurs. Finally, they are introduced to Rockstart’s network of investors and partners, which helps them grow and reflect on their company’s value propositions.

Defining success at Rockstart

  • During the Smart Energy program, the team of Wapo.io had the opportunity to focus on their value propositions and learned a lot on how to creatively embrace mistakes and failures. As a result, they created the wapoBOT, a conversational UX and AI that reduces energy waste up to 20%, while increasing employee productivity and engagement.
  • The team of GEOLUMEN met with the City of Amsterdam to realize their first pilot project. Now, they are designing a new LED retrofit, with a smart services network integrated, to upgrade 100 lanterns in the city center. If the city replaces 5% of old lamps with LED every year, Amsterdam could reduce its CO2 emission from 341.317 TON to 123.274 TON in the next 20 years, with a reduction of costs of more than 30M€.
  • Our team from Estonia, Sympower, has agreed on a world first pilot project with TenneT – the Dutch grid operator (TSO) – and ENGIE – an energy company. The project is scheduled to go live on 1st January 2017. Sympower also installed their first hardware in Finland, and will soon go live with their first clients.

Rockstart Smart Energy Accelerator Demo Day

Rockstart Smart Energy Accelerator Demo Day


I loved every moment at the SE 2016 of Rockstart. It’s a great place for inspiration, solid support and community interaction.” – Thanos Daskalopoulos, CEO of Wapo.io The network Rockstart involves, the mentors, partners, companies, investors, etc.. is the real power of the program.” – Antonio Domenico Ialeggio, CEO of GEOLUMEN

Rockstart Smart Energy Accelerator Demo Day

“We started Rockstart as two people
with an idea, we’re now a team of five

with a real product.” – Simon Bushell

and Georg Rute, founders of Sympower

Want to know more about the Smart Energy program? Read about Rockstart Smart Energy 16’ Demo Day and learn about the other 7 startups’ achievements

Hear it from Program Director Freerk Bisschop:

Check out his podcast with Kees van der Leun on “Getting to a zero carbon society by 2050”

Watch him interviewed by CNBC about the Smart Energy Program, together with CEO Rune Theil

Pauline Massé is a Program Associate for the Rockstart Smart Energy Accelerator program and has been a member of the Rockstart team since 2016.

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