DS Meritve’s Second Generation Grid Wins PowerUp! Slovenia Final
Date: April 5th 2019
Author: Tanja Srnovršnik
In the PowerUp! 2019 country final in Slovenia, which took place on Thursday at Ljubljana Castle as part of the biggest pitch competition for startups from the cleantech sector, 2GG® - Second Generation Grid, a comprehensive system for collecting, transferring and processing data of energy and water use developed by the company DS Meritve, was announced the winner among seven shortlisted startups. SILEO, with its solar roof tile, finished in second place followed by Rivertum, with its Rivertum turbine, in third place. The winner gets to compete for prize money in the Grand Final in Krakow on 21 May.DS Meritve, the communication solutions provider for smart energy and water metering, started its business “by looking at energy distribution companies, utilities and building managers, and saw there is a trend that they are implementing increasingly more smart meters which help them gather more data and then they decide to use various software to analyse this data. However, we saw that the solution they were using to connect between the meters and the software wasn’t the optimal one”, explained Dejan Lešnik, CEO of DS Meritve.
Lešnik mentioned that the main reason for this is that companies don’t have the right people employed (not enough experience in telecommunications), whilst another reason is that companies experience compatibility issues when using various solutions. “We can help them solve these problems. We have developed a software solution to push the data to different managing software, together with hardware which can gather the data from different meter types (gas, water and electricity) at the same time. Our main product at the moment is smart metering as-a-service. This means we can finance the equipment, its implementation and then support our customers with integration of this data into their software,” explained Lešnik.
The company was launched in 2014 and last year it already generated over EUR 1 million in revenue. “Our market is growing very rapidly. It is estimated that the total smart metering market will grow to EUR 20 billion by 2022, and that smart metering as-a-service will grow to EUR 1 billion by 2027,” said Lešnik, noting that the company is growing in stages - the first stage started in Eastern Europe where it is already present and is breaking even. DS Meritve is now launching the second stage - tackling the Asian market. “In this case we are looking for new investors,” added Lešnik.
Sebastian Siuchta, Business Creation Officer for CEE at InnoEnergy, the leading European energy accelerator behind the PowerUp! competition, told Energetika.NET that the reason DS Meritve’s solution was chosen as the winner is that the company has already gained the confirmation from the market. “They have installed 13,000 implementations and generated EUR 1 million in revenue, which means there is a market need for their solution,” explained Siuchta.
Elon Musk is SILEO’s main global competitor
Meanwhile, the second placed SILEO developed a photovoltaic roof tile in order to address the issue of cities where urbanistic requirements might prevent solar panels being installed on the roofs of old buildings, and of ‘beautiful dream houses’ where the owners would like to use renewables whilst at the same time keep the aesthetics of their house”, explained Mateja Miško from the company. According to Miško, their solution offers “the protection of your house and a solar system at the same time.”
SILEO’s main competitor globally is Elon Musk, however, his tile are not yet available. “However, the other competitors’ products don’t have the same features as ours, the quality is lower and the price is higher,” noted Miško.
“There is a trend of growing solar PV installation, therefore, we believe that with our product we can cover the niche which classic solar panels can’t cover,” said Miško. SILEO would like to focus on the B2B sector (mostly architects) and, to a somewhat lesser extent, on the B2C sector (private customers with special urbanistic requirements that are sensitive to aesthetics and style). “Our next step is to expand from Italy (where SILEO already has 21 clients; author’s note) to the Slovenian market and the rest of Europe,” added Miško.
“We thought that SILEO’s solution is also very good. It goes along with the high-level concept of clean air and renewable energy and it addresses the need to preserve our heritage in the form of old buildings,” explained Siuchta for Energetika.NET.
Rivertum offers new way of producing energy
The third placed Rivertum’s solution is a “pretty simple way to produce cost-efficient clean power”, noted Dejan Keuc, the company’s COO and cofounder. “The demand for green electricity will grow very rapidly due to air pollution. Production of electric vehicles (EVs) will multiply six-fold in the next six years, and in the next 10-15 years an additional 2,000 GW of power generation capacity will be needed,” explained Keuc.
According to Keuc, Rivertum can address this need with its Rivertum turbine solution, which can convert river force into energy. “The Rivertum turbine is placed at the bottom of a river. It is made out of six blades, of which three are constantly open so that the river constantly drives those three open blades with incredible power 24/7. This is a huge advantage as EVs will be charged at night when solar panels don’t work,” said Keuc, adding that no dams need to be built for Rivertum turbines.
Rivertum has two business cases for its solution - in addition to the sale of turbines it also plans to install turbines itself and sell electricity on a long-term basis to the power distribution companies.
“We thought Rivertum earned this position because of its disruptive concept. The team had the courage to come to the stage and present a totally new way of producing energy although it is at very early stage with just a concept and some computer simulations. They believe in this idea,” explained Siuchta.
Hardware solutions in focus this time
Other presentations in the country final included:
- ID.Conference, a company specialised in the support, organisation and management of participants at big events such as conferences, symposiums, etc. Its ID.Conference solution is a modular solution that consists of a platform, applications, and an innovative RFID UHF stand. The latter solves the issue of the attendance of participants for conferences and reduces congestion and lowers staffing costs.
- Nordril Technologies, which has developed Hedging Studio, a software assistant with direct access to exchanges, enhanced with machine learning to aid in the wholesale buying of energy. This solution has been designed to help companies optimise the acquisition of energy.
- OmniOpti, whose main goal is to provide advanced solutions in various fields of Smart City operations. OmniOpti’s core competence is logistics/mobility, specifically an advanced algorithm for alternative routes, which can be used in route optimisation processes.
- TakeMine, which has developed the TakeMine Pitch Deck, a web-based platform that allows users flexibility to ease the way of sharing their vehicles with others along with extra features to help them better manage their car expenses, etc.
With so many startups coming on the market, Energetika.NET asked Siuchta how InnoEnergy chooses those with the best potential. “It is difficult, but it is also part of the game when you are investing in startups. Because in most cases there is no market implementation, so it is a case of betting on the future. Then, as we go along with a project, teams prove their value by getting customers and generating some sales. This is the ultimate confirmation of the value of a startup, of an investment idea. I am glad that we have chosen three startups which actually represent the hardware side. It is easy to invest in software. Everyone wants software because there is the chance of a fast return. It is more difficult for hardware startups, but those that we have chosen have good market potential,” said Siuchta.
The winner of the Slovenian PowerUp! country final gets to participate in the Grand Final in Krakow on 21 May, where it will be in the running for financial prizes and an opportunity to join Highway®, InnoEnergy’s prestigious business accelerator programme offering access to an international network of prospective business partners, wide-ranging InnoEnergy expertise, and financial investment up to EUR 150,000. This year’s fifth edition of the PowerUp! competition sees participation of nearly 300 start-ups from 24 Central-Eastern European countries.
This article is available also in Slovene.
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