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The Finish Chute to Smart Energy Demo Day: Part I (of III)

The 2017 Rockstart Smart Energy program is coming to a close! With Demo Day around the corner on September 13, we wanted to take the opportunity to showcase the nine teams that went through the fourth installment of the accelerator.

We’re very proud to see these companies excel and grow and are pleased to share their progress. In a series of posts leading up to Demo Day we will feature three teams per post, recapping their missions, and asking them to reflect on the outcomes of their time in the program.

Pauline Massé, Program Associate Smart Energy, describes the current climate leading up to Demo Day as both exciting and tense. “We are going through ups and downs, feeling strong together,” she says. “It is not rare to see startups very early or very late in the office – they are working hard to rock the stage on September 13!”  She adds, “I’m looking forward to seeing them shine after working with them for 150 days.”

For our first post we are excited to present three of our international startups. We were intrigued to learn the following from all of the founders:

“What did you gain from doing this accelerator in Europe?”

Check out what the first three of this year’s Smart Energy startups are up to below. We look forward to hearing their pitches at Demo Day and to staying engaged in their next steps!

Solarpipo

Solarpipo is a go-to platform for systems sizing, buying solar products, accessing installation and repair service as well as credit checks to get solar product loans. The company is leveraging the increased mobile access in Africa to bring solar products services online.

Driven to contribute to the Smart Energy movement, co-founders Sizoomu Mwamed and Hashim Mutanje identified that there are a number of issues in Africa, and globally regarding access to solar products. These include; Difficulty in modeling of solar setup environment and system design, inefficiency of solar sales, sales management and distribution, disparity in solar energy needs and actual solar products purchased, and gaps in solar financing models.

When co-founder, Mwamed was asked, “What did you gain from doing this accelerator in Europe?” he responded that he was surprised by the challenges faced by startups that he had not anticipated. Before I came to Amsterdam, I thought that the only major challenge our startup had was funding/investment.” Mwamed said.  “A few days later into the program we had speed meetings with Rockstart mentors and they poked lots of holes in our idea until we woke up from the dream and faced the reality.”

Immediately from the onset, Solarpipo was forced to examine its product market entry (planned method of delivering goods or services to a new target market and distributing them there). According to Mwamed, this change of location to Europe allowed them a larger perspective on the market landscape.

Over the past few months while in the program we pivoted until we found the right product market entry” Mwamed said.  “And now Solarpipo is well positioned to easily scale up.”

SolarCreed

SolarCreed helps farmers in off-grid communities produce, package and distribute food using solar energy, eco-friendly packaging and SmartID to improve production and reduce carbon.

According to co-founder, Saheed Okuboyejo, the aim of SolarCreed is to deploy 100 pay-as-you-go (PAYG) Solar Lighting Systems for poultry farmers, lower energy costs for farmers, (which will lead to lower costs for food), create local jobs for Nigerians. Additionally SolarCreed seeks to improve of economic, social and cultural development and provide access to clean and cheap energy for rural communities in Nigeria.

With ambitious and complex user issues to solve, Solar Creed sought to streamline its growth in coming to Europe. A primary benefit to SolarCreed says Okuboyejo, is that “Europe has a vibrant and progressively diverse startup community. At Rockstart, we have experienced lean acceleration in less than 6 months”.

Solar Captus

Solar Captus, an Australian-born company, is on a mission to bring solar to the next generation. With prices of solar plummeting, the co-founders feel strongly that people-powered energy is more accessible than ever to the masses. Therefore the team is building the worldʼs first database of rooftop solar to ensure that everyone is part of the solar revolution.

The company’s data-driven software creates an optimal customer experience thatʼs engaging, personal and easy-to-understand. They built a radically different approach to selling solar using machine learning and state of the art computer vision on satellite imagery, LIDAR and customer intelligence. The aim of the company is to make solar energy available to the masses, and lower the customer acquisition costs.

Because Australia is one of the most mature and competitive markets for solar, it was pertinent for Solar Captus to develop within a completely different customer segment to test both scalability and relevance. Co-founder Jelmer van Rooij, says that participating in a European accelerator was, “a great way to test our main assumptions and learnings from the Australian market.”

Up Next

Stay tuned for the next post in our finish chute series leading up to Smart Energy Demo Day. We will feature three teams representing the Dutch startup ecosystem. Are you interestested in attending Smart Energy Demo Day on September 13? We would love to have you!

Email smartenergy@rockstart.com for more information on attending.



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