Portfolio Day: From Pitches to Lasting Partnerships
In order to discover and cultivate innovation, it is important to have an open dialogue that enables partnerships and collaboration to take hold. With this in mind, we at innogy Innovation Hub recently held our first global Portfolio Day in Essen, Germany, bringing over 250 start-ups, investors, and corporates together to encourage new and meaningful interactions.
We’re proud to say that Portfolio Day was a great success. Not only did we have 28 start-ups join us from the US, Israel, and Europe, but we also welcomed 80+ innogy colleagues, 100+ partners from our global network, and our teams from innogy Innovation Hub and innogy Ventures from all of our global offices – Berlin, Silicon Valley, Israel, Warsaw, and Essen.
Throughout the day, portfolio companies from across our focus areas - and from across the globe - pitched on the stage to showcase how their ideas are pioneering the future of energy. We greatly appreciate the inspiring plans shared by the start-ups, offering transformation in each of our following focus areas:
In addition, we had four ‘reverse pitches’. These were from our innogy colleagues, where they pitched the current challenges they’re facing in order to open the door for start-ups to offer solutions, specifically in retail and the grid.
To discuss retail, the crowd heard from Cosima Bockelmann, Head of B2B Product Development Commodity/E+, innogy SE and Lars Vallböhmer, Head of B2C Programme Management, innogy SE. Cosima and Lars offered powerful insights into how customer expectations are changing and how the use of technologies is the way forward if we want to further retail businesses and optimise the customer experience.
“The Portfolio Day was an excellent event and the ‘reverse pitches’ were a great opportunity for us to present the specific challenges facing the innogy retail business and share what we have achieved so far. We took advantage of the chance to connect with many start-ups that are offering promising solutions, some of which were completely new to us, as well as others that we are already familiar with. Our mission is to identify solutions that offer an easy, ‘hassle free’ customer experience, as well as increase sales conversions in the energy+ area. This open-network approach enables us to collaborate on fresh ideas with new partners for the future innogy B2C business.”
Lars Vallböhmer, Head of B2C Programme Management, innogy SE
Presenting on the challenges facing the grid were Jens Sikorski, Senior Business Development Manager Grid & Infrastructure, innogy SE; Stephanie Spurk, Referent, innogy SE; and Sven Jundel, Manager Coordination of Product Development, innogy SE. They shared information about future DSO challenges, and said that next to retail, the grid is the most important area in innogy’s business.
“Portfolio Day illustrated the innovative power and potential of our Innovation Hub portfolio. We had fruitful conversations with several start-ups about concrete challenges in the area of ‘Micro-grids’ and ‘Mobile Cyber Security’ and how we can make use of existing technologies.” – Jens Sikorski, International Market Development, Grid & Infrastructure, innogy SE
“The Portfolio Day was the ideal opportunity to strengthen our pre-existing relationships with the portfolio start-ups and bring them in close contact to innogy’s core business. I´m quite positive that we will start another round of proof-of-concepts with four start-ups and their businesses shortly. “ – Sven Jundel, Coordinator Technical Product Development, Grid & Infrastructure, innogy SE
By giving start-ups something to respond to, these pitches created a more dynamic conversation, and gave the start-ups insight into the projects and issues that innogy is most interested in collaborating on.
Last but by no means least, one of the key elements of the day was to promote one-to-one meetings that we encouraged through our app. Pitches are always important, but pairing corporates with start-ups to discuss in detail the applications and use cases for how a certain product can be utilized within a company is essential to forging new and meaningful partnerships. We’re proud to say that over the course of Portfolio Day, we facilitated 273 of these “match-making” sessions, and we’re confident that many of these conversations will continue well past the conclusion of the event.
Thomas Labryga, Investment Partner at innogy Ventures, shared the benefit of the one-to-one meetings, saying: “The Portfolio Day was a perfect opportunity for our start-ups to present the USPs behind their business models to responsible retail and grid colleagues from innogy SE and our global network partners in order to boost joint businesses. The event was extremely helpful for start-ups that are already well-connected within the innogy Group like gridX and Akselos and new investments like Teraki.”
For more content from our Portfolio Day, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter, where you can find pictures and videos from the event.