Initiate! is a great platform to meet innovative startups during European Utility Week, says :agile’s startup talent scout
Maria Freitag spends her days looking for startups which have the ‘X factor’ to transform the energy sector.
So when she attended Initiate! at European Utility Week in 2018 and acted as a judge for the Accelerate to Initiate! Programme, she discovered a hotbed of talent.
“The whole setup and environment of Initiate! brought a spark that shows the passion and dedication to accelerating the energy transition”, says Freitag, who is part of E.ON’s corporate accelerator and seed investor called :agile. She reviews applications to the programme and decides who goes on the shortlist.
Freitag says she was impressed by the quality of the startups at Initiate!: “A lot of the startups were highly interesting. We already invited some startups to the accelerator program, while the talks with others are still ongoing.” One of the companies that E.ON's :agile was already in touch with was Flexidao, who was also present at Initiate!. Freitag says “it was great experiencing their work, which gave us the confirmation that they are a match for sure”.
She also stresses the advantages of startups: “It is easier for startups to pivot and adjust because they are more flexible and work in a more agile way than some large corporates. We do not need to invent everything ourselves, but rather cooperate and partner with great startups such as FlexiDAO to help them to develop their solution with our energy expertise and vice versa and give them the possibility to test their solution real time. A win-win for both sides.”
Freitag further explains that therefore one of her tasks at the E.ON's :agile accelerator is to open doors for startups and connect them with E.ON departments and regions. And furthermore, support her E.ON colleagues to see and understand the opportunities coming while working with startups. “In the end, everything, even energy, is a people´s business”, says Freitag and smiles.