Lightning Lab Electric
New Zealand’s first energy-focused programme, Lightning Lab Electric, ran in Wellington from June to September 2017. Working in a niche vertical, the cohort was made up of four teams, 10 individuals, and a multi-national programme team.
Over the course of the three-month programme, the teams were supported by connections and expertise to bring together electricity industry stakeholders and spark innovation for the good of consumers and the industry.
The programme received support from over 50 advisory and expert mentors were involved in, including industry stakeholders from Genesis, GE and Unison.
After three months of intense programming, Lightning Lab Electric showcased its four startups at Demo Day on September 7th. The event was hosted at the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington and, for the first time, attendees were invited to not only watch the pitches but also to participate in a facilitated workshop to explore the future of the energy industry. With 120 industry stakeholders, electricity professionals, mentors and programme speakers came to support and learn about the companies’ experiences and offerings, with 85 actively participating in the workshop.
All four companies are continuing on their journey working with, and within, the industry to develop partnerships, close sales and continuing to grow and scale.
– James Swope, Programme Manager
– Jamie Silk, emhTrade
Polanyio engages with brokers, retailers and consumers for a streamlined tender process. Energy procurement is a slow process with insufficient transparency for commercial energy consumers, who may not be getting the best pricing deals. They provide the best fit between customer demand profile and retailer pricing offers.
MLabs (short for Mitton Labs) are bridging the electricity and tech worlds with their industry expertise – backed by their parent company Mitton Electronet – and knowledge of machine learning. They apply these elements with cloud-based computing to revolutionise high-speed HV electrical protection systems.
emhTrade enables consumers to set personal power preferences to make a positive impact on their bill, community and planet. This transactive grid platform and app rewards people for changing their electricity usage to better meet personal goals, cutting demand peaks that drive inefficient system investments and supporting the integration of renewables.
The purpose of Lightning Lab Electric is to spark innovation in the energy industry. We bring together innovators, experts, mentors and industry stakeholders to market test innovative and high-potential concepts and determine if they are worthy of further development and investment. We are here to provide a glimpse into the future and the world of the possible for those who want to change the sector for the better.
The accelerator provides the right environment for founders to thrive through the challenge of starting a company while being supported by a diverse lineup of industry experts, coaches and mentors.
Before the programme began, Lightning Lab set itself five strategic objectives to work towards with the startups. These were to:
- Stimulate innovation in the energy sector for the good of consumers and the industry
- Build the capacity of founders in New Zealand
- Increase the number of new innovative and disruptive ventures that have the potential to launch and test in New Zealand and grow to capture market share internationally
- Establish a model in which many stakeholders in the energy sector (corporates, regulators, service providers, and specialists) come together to help innovators define, build and test their solutions
- Build on New Zealand’s reputation for innovation and commercialisation of new products and technology.
Mentors play an active role in Lightning Lab (and bring the magic). They are some of New Zealand’s top minds in business and will join the startups in the trenches – help you strategise, connect you to partners and customers, and coach you to run a scalable business.
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