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You’ve got Smart Energy questions? We’ve got answers!

Q&A with Smart Energy Program Director Freerk Bisschop

This year Rockstart’s Smart Energy program will be running for the 4th season. The program kicks off in April 2017 and program director Freerk Bisschop is busy with the preparations. To make sure it will be a great success, Freerk is looking for the best Smart Energy startups out there, that can rock the ecosystem.

To answer all the applicant’s questions, the Smart Energy team has organized Online Office Hours. There, startups get the chance to ask their questions about the program. Find some of the questions that were asked during the first Online Office Hours below. The answers might be helpful for you too!

Would Rockstart Smart Energy consider a hardware startup?

We love hardware startups, but we need to see your hardware tech is already in a mature stage. It should be out of the lab, be testable and in a stage where you can run prototype testing on pilot projects. If this is the case, we can help you to develop your business model. Since the Smart Energy program is about accelerating startups that are at the intersection of IT and energy, we would like you to include IT. The combination of hardware and software has our preference.

Are startups that focus on access to energy in remote communities in developing countries eligible for the Smart Energy accelerator program?

Yes we do. We love to work with startups like this and help them find ways to scale their solution. We even feel that energy solutions in the emerging markets might be an export product to the Western world in the longer term. The same way that mobile telecoms has been developed faster in African areas than in the Western world.

Where does the Smart Energy program stand on social enterprises?

We think that companies that have a social drive really fit well with our culture. We do, however, want you to have the potential to have a huge impact in terms of number of users, savings in energy and generating clean power across the world. If you approach it from a social perspective, that’s fine, as long as there is a business model that works under that and isn’t dependent on subsidies or charity.

How intensive is the Smart Energy accelerator? How much time per week is available for your own startup activity?

The program elements absorb around 50% of your time, so there is time to work on your own business apart from that.

When I share my idea with Rockstart’s Accelerator, is my idea secured?

We’re big fans of the quote “execution is everything”. In saying that, we are not in the business of stealing ideas. We can assure you that any idea that gets sent through our application process is only for the purpose of evaluating your startup. That means we won’t show anyone your idea, even if they ask really nicely.

Do you have a question that wasn’t answered here, then we have good news for you. Smart Energy will host more Online Office Hours! The next one will be on the 9th of February from 13.00 till 14.00 CET, register here. And there will be another chance to talk to program director Freerk Bisschop on the 13th of February from 19.30 till 20.30 CET, register here. Looking forward to seeing you there!


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