Jakub Miler, InnoEnergy: Success Lies in Solutions That Bring Users to Forefront
Date: November 5th 2018
Author: Alenka Lena Klopčič
It has some 200 start-ups in its portfolio – three of which are potential unicorns – and is therefore recognised as the biggest energy accelerator in the world. Meet InnoEnergy, also known as the driving force of energy innovation in the European sustainable energy sector. Energetika.NET talked to Jakub Miler, CEO of InnoEnergy Central Europe, at the TBB (The Business Booster) conference, which was held in Copenhagen in mid-October. According to Miler, it is very hard to predict how quickly investments in energy start-ups can be returned, but it normally takes around five years. “Usually you don’t get anything from around one-third of the investments, while another third can bring surprising financial value and great returns, and the remaining third always lies somewhere in between”— he added.A while ago, Mr. Diego Pavia told Energetika.NET that he has high expectations of some of the development projects which focus on harnessing the power of the sea (MORE). So, where would ‘you put your money’ today? In energy storage maybe (MORE)?
Currently, success lies in the solutions which are bringing end consumers to the forefront and are in some way enabling them to become active as well as helping support the decentralisation of the energy system. For example, the Greenely app comes to my mind when talking about getting society more involved in the energy future, since, as they recently announced, they have already attracted around 20,000 users.
But then again, InnoEnergy is also proud to have in its portfolio a Swedish wave power technology company, CorPower Ocean, which has developed and tested a technology to turn waves into electricity with the aid of buoys.
At InnoEnergy’s biggest conference TBB 2018 in Copenhagen, we saw some really interesting energy start-ups, from those that harness ocean energy with the help of buoys to those that manufacture drones for wind turbines (MORE). What are the most interesting and most promising energy start-ups in your portfolio today?
In total, InnoEnergy has around 200 start-ups in its portfolio, so it’s really hard to highlight just some of them. We encourage all future partners interested in taking part to take a look at InnoEnergy’s website and find their personal favourites, either as investment targets, or just out of sheer curiosity.
Who are the most interesting people from the energy sector that InnoEnergy is involved with and how do you co-operate with them? I am asking this so that Energetika.NET can pass on this information to our readers from the energy sector in South East Europe.
Well, InnoEnergy is really very open, so I believe we can find an opportunity for basically anyone who shows real interest in start-ups – utilities, governmental and local authorities. We also work hard in the educational segment, so we even get involved with nursery schools. I strongly believe that the future lies in the individuals and not so much in the utilities themselves.
Didn’t InnoEnergy’s Innovation Director, Elena Bou, stress in her opening speech at the TBB 2018 that it is crucial that we “finally stop discussing the energy transition and actually make it the new reality” (MORE)?
Well, yes. And as we can already see, InnoEnergy’s activities, such as October’s launch of the Clean Air Challenge Report (MORE), are focused on a wide audience which has to be aware of the real challenges out there, but then we also want people to see that there are solutions to tackle these challenges. Furthermore, those solutions are huge business opportunities and what is even more important is that they are bringing opportunities not just for tomorrow but also for today. So, you can see that we are very pragmatic in our approach.
And also completely positive? I mean, if we just take a look at all the climate issues all around us…
Absolutely, especially if we take a look at cases such as Donald Trump admitting that climate change is a reality. Actually, we’ve all been aware of these changes, but only now are we achieving the right momentum – a momentum when clean energy technologies are also becoming cost-effective. So yes, I am positive (smiling).
Would you say that the largest portion of work to be done here will really be done by start-ups or will it be a mixture of start-ups as well as traditional energy companies?
It will definitely be a mixture. Start-ups will be bringing new solutions and new ways of approaching challenges, but there will also be a large portion of work that needs some ‘muscle’ which will have to be taken over by the ‘big guys’, so large companies are part of the story, too.
If we allow ourselves to be a bit futuristic and let our imaginations run wild: where – that is, in which areas (renewables, storage, digitalisation…) – and when do you see the next ‘energy Google’ arising?
I think that the whole energy future is based on energy democratisation, meaning that there will be nothing particularly revolutionary, but if companies don’t actively follow the current trends, they risk extinction. You know what they say: “Innovate or die” – that is certainly true in the energy business.
This article is available also in Slovene.
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