08 Jun Time to grab the chance? EnergySpin is fishing for promising startups around the world
EnergySpin is laying its nets around the world to catch promising startups. The Vaasa, Finland actors are especially out for startups that the Vaasa energy cluster could cooperate with – either now or in the future. They want to attract these startups with sparring sessions, development opportunities, and direct contacts to important partner companies.
”We are laying our nets around the world”, say Marko Koski and Marko Kuokkanen, the main actors in the accelerator program EnergySpin when describing their current activities.
The EnergySpin program is on the lookout for the best startups to cooperate with in the (widely-defined) energy sector. What is being offered in exchange to these startups is help in accelerating their growth, as well as direct contacts to the most central companies in the Vaasa energy cluster.
The goal for the companies that are partners in the program is guaranteeing the competitiveness of the cluster in the long run. For this, some special new skills are required – innovations and new ways of thinking, stuff that the most promising startups often are good at.
The central idea behind the program is to bind these startups to the energy cluster. The better this succeeds, the more beneficial their relation to both the current and future companies within the cluster.
The accelerator program EnergySpin is coordinated by Technology Center Merinova. The program explores the world to find the most promising energy startups to work with.
– We are especially open for new innovations. Some of the ideas that our target companies work with may break into the market only after five years, says Marko Kuokkanen.
One good example of the companies that have participated in the accelerator program is Geyser Batteries, a cleantech company that recently secured a sum of millions of euros in financing.
Only the best will be chosen
The EnergySpin accelerator typically attracts hundreds of applicants. The goal is, however, not a big amount, but a high quality. The program can best support companies that either have a working prototype or a ready product, eventually also some cumulative sales, or an established bigger company backing them up. Simultaneously, the companies the program looks for typically haven’t broken through big-time yet.
About 90 per cent of the applications come from outside Finland.
– We are happy to take in local applications too, but there are only so many energy-related companies around here, and mostly they also already have a tight connection to our partner companies, says Marko Koski.
– A benefit with applications from Finland is the companies’ generally good economic condition, and they also typically possess the right knowledge, says Marko Kuokkanen.
About twenty of the applicants will be selected to participate in a Selection Day. This year, this day will take place on September 3rd, and during this day the companies can really showcase their ideas.
A handful of companies will also pass this test, and will then be subject to a sparring and development process in the program and with its partner companies. The partners are Wärtsilä, Vasa Elektriska, Danfoss, The Switch (Yaskawa), VEO, EY, VNT Management and NetControl.
This year the Selection Day will take place virtually. Physically, the EnergySpin office is since the beginning of 2020 located in Wasa Innovation Center in Vaasa, Finland.
– It is a perfect location for us, the premises are just fantastic, says Marko Kuokkanen.
In order to make sure the best of the best startups are caught in the net, the program has cut down two previous annual application rounds into one. The reason to this is practical. With just one round, Kuokkanen & Koski have more time in which to conduct the search process for the right candidate companies, which indeed can be a tough task when they need to search the whole world. This is also why they recently have recruited Matina Mitsobonou to work with communications and help with the startup search.
-The work has taken off nicely, and we have a good base to work with, says Mitsobonou.
The Internet to the rescue
At the moment, EnergySpin is developing a new live webinar series concept, LiveSpin. This is done to further increase the interest for the program. The topics of the webinars include issues interesting for startups, such as financing and internationalisation. A part of the webinar is recorded, followed with a live Q&A session.
The participation in the program is free for the startups. For the smallest companies, however, the costs of travel and accommodation, and the time invested, will anyway be considerable.
– This is why the goal must be clear from the beginning, and it must be international growth, says Marko Kuokkanen.
The application period for the 2020 accelerator program runs until August the 9th.