Free Electrons: the Global Start-up Accelerator

Initiated by innogy

The 15 finalists of this year's Free Electrons program are attending the first module of the acceleration phase

Great start for Free Electrons (FE)! The first global energy startup accelerator program that connects the world's most promising energy startup companies with leading utility companies has entered its acceleration phase. After selecting the 15 finalists out of more than 500 applications from 65 countries in a successful bootcamp in Lisbon in March, the start-ups are now looking forward to the grand final on october 5 in Berlin.

With 3 start-ups the United States are the biggest contributor to the final list, followed by Portugal and the United Kingdom with 2 each. In total, the program will include a very diverse mix of nationalities from countries like Switzerland, China, Bangladesh, Norway and Germany.

It's a perfect match - smart startup ideas meet a transforming corporate that is re-inventing itself and has established lean and agile structures that speak “startup” and “corporate” language alike. We can help startups scale fast; startups can help us with the best possible products. We go outside to innovate from within.

Stefan Padberg, Managing Director at innogy New Ventures LLC in Palo Alto

We couldn't be happier with the applications process. The bar was set very high with around 450 applications last year so we are very pleased to have exceeded that number. We believe that this is critical, as we are looking to grow Free Electrons so more startups can benefit. For our utility partners this is also very relevant as they want to source innovative solutions which can be adopted and integrated in their businesses.

Florian Kolb, Managing Director at innogy New Ventures LLC, Palo Alto

FE connects innovative startups with ten of the leading energy companies

The finalists met in Lisbon for a Bootcamp week and in Australia and the Silicon Valley for the first modules. The next session is going to take place in Berlin. The idea of all the reunions and the accelerator itself: to connect innovative startup with ten of the leading energy companies. Check our latest FE blog post for more details and stay up to date on the LinkedIn page of Free Electrons.

innogy has launched the new edition of the global startup acceleration program together with nine partners. Our approach: We want to reach start-ups that are developing solutions in mobility, clean and smart energy and IoT/digitalization. Learn more about the initiators here:

Watch this video for insights from the 2nd module in the Silicon Valley

Experience the innovative vibe first hand! For further innovation Hub videos check out our YouTube playlist.

Free Electrons 2018 - important dates

Application Deadline

28 February 2018

Application Results

5 March 2018

Lisbon Bootcamp

3-6 April 2018

Sydney + Melbourne

6-11 May 2018

Silicon Valley

24-29 June 2018


30 Sep – 5 Oct 2018

The utilities that launch Free Electrons are global leaders in the clean energy transition, delivering cutting edge solutions all over the world. To give you an idea take a look at the facts and figures below:

Big numbers, big opportunities – key facts about the ten utility partners

That's in for the winners

The Prize

The prize for the winner: 200,000 dollars!

But there is more:

The global financial value of the contracts signed between the 12 startups and the 8 utilities at the end of Free Electrons' first edition, with a pipeline of opportunities being developed reaching over $12 million.

Further benefits

Additionally the winners will benefit from:

  • International Market Expedition
  • Mentorship Support
  • Pilot Exploration
  • Investment Opportunities

The winners of Free Electrons 2017

In September 2017 the first round of Free Electrons ended in a Grand Finale Showdown in Singapore. BeOn Energy was chosen as the winner: The start-up from Portugal offers a DIY solar kit that can be plugged into an ordinary wall socket and is installed in fifteen minutes. Experience more about BeON here.