What is the Free Electrons Accelerator Programme?
Free Electrons is the world's first clean-tech energy start-up accelerator programme that connects promising start-ups with globally recognised utilities and investors. ESB and seven other utility companies have partnered for this unique programme.
The aim of the Free Electrons Accelerator Programme is to recruit 12 energy start-ups to help drive the next generation of ideas in clean energy, energy efficiency, electric mobility and on-demand customer services. ESB, alongside the consortium of utility companies and other partners, are supporting these start-ups to refine their products and services, with the potential of testing and developing them for a global customer base. Collectively, the eight utility companies have a combined market base of 73 million customers located in more than 40 countries.
The programme attracted more than 450 global start-ups from 51 countries. The selected 12 finalist companies are now partaking in customer adoption modules in Silicon Valley, Lisbon/Dublin and Singapore over a six month period.
Module 1 - Silicon Valley, United States
With the 12 finalists selected the partners were invited to an immersion week in the global capital of technology innovation, Silicon Valley. Through the guidance of the eight utility partners, the start-ups attended workshops and seminars which centered on the idea of clean energy, commercialisation and the piloting process. Start-ups came away with the ability to speak the language of utility companies, enabling more fluent communication of their business ideas.
Module 2, Part 1 - Lisbon, Portugal
The first stop in module two is the city of Lisbon, one of the fastest growing technology hubs in Europe. The start-ups will continue to learn about the utilities from a European perspective. Once the workshops are over, the next stop is the Gateway to Europe module in Dublin.
Module 2, Part 2 - ESB's Pitch Off, Dublin, Ireland
The Dublin event will see the 12 start-ups compete in a 'Pitch Off' competition to win $25,000 (USD). Led by ESB's Innovation team, this competition will see the finalists perfect their pitch in front of a leading investment and start-up community.
Module 3 - The Final, Singapore
Taking place in Singapore in September, the 12 start-ups will once again compete in the final pitching competition for $175,000 (USD). The event includes granular utility/start-up contract discussions, an overview of Singapore’s start-up ecosystem and market, a final pitch event, and an awards ceremony. This final module is focused on contracting pilot projects between the start-ups and utilities.