PowerUp!, the largest contest between startups located in the Central Eastern European region, has been organized for the fifth time, during which ambitious startups with energy, e-mobility, cybersecurity and smart city solutions contest with their competitors. Nearly 300 companies from 24 countries entered this year, including 27 Hungarian enterprises, all of which hope to earn the prize and to even land an investment. Let us take a closer look at the concept of the competition and the Hungarian energy startups who entered the competition!

The best of Central Eastern Europe

InnoEnergy, a major supporting entity of sustainable energy through education, consultation, research and networking, has launched the PowerUp! for the fifth time this year. Organizers awaited applications on behalf of startup companies with clean and renewable energy efforts targeting the reduction of smog, and enterprises using technology in the fields of e-mobility, cybersecurity and smart city solutions. Startup companies from the Central and Eastern European region were able to apply until mid-March. Hungary, right after Poland and Serbia, has delegated the third most contestants for the 2019 competition with 27 candidate startups.

Summary of the PowerUp! 2018 finals

The Hungarian finals were held on 10 April in Budapest, where contestants were tasked to introduce their respective products and technologies via a 4-minute pitch in front of a professional jury. Out of the eight candidates the environmentally friendly cooling technology of V-Chiller came out triumphant and will represent Hungary in the PowerUp! competition’s grand final held in Poland. The solution of the startup company has the unique ability to cool drinking bottles in under a minute, resulting in the saving of over 50 percent on electricity bills for consumers – for example, the catering industry.

The second place went to Auto Paradigm, which provides a technology solution to charging electric cars while in motion. MET3R Zencharge came out third at the country finals: the company, by means of a complex system, optimizes the process of recharging electric cars, taking the energy usage of the car’s owner and the capabilities of a household into account with the least environmental damage possible.

Innovative opportunities in protecting the environment

The main goal of this competition was a huge factor in the final decision of the jury, which is to find the best green solutions attainable on a global scale, which aim to support the protection and cleanliness of the environment, the development of the energy sector and the improvement of quality of life for European cities.

Following the application stage, qualified startup companies took a two-day bootcamp, including a series of business, as well as intellectual and property rights coaching and investment pitch training workshops led by international business mentors. The project deemed the best was chosen at the individual country finals. After the second stage, contenders move on to the final competition held in Krakow, Poland on 21 May. Before the grand final is held, applicants will once more receive a two-day training.

For the first time this year, the competition also offers a reward for startup companies who deliver a huge contribution in the „Clean Air Challenge”, recognising the best solutions delivered in reducing smog and air pollution. The challenge commenced in October 2018 after InnoEnergy and Deloitte together published a report, drawing attention to the current status of air pollution, and strongly urging the development and usage of environmentally friendly heating and transportation technologies.

At the end of the PowerUp! competition, the startup company deemed the most innovative will win the grand prize of EUR 50 million, with companies in the second and third place also awarded prize money. Companies showing the biggest promise in an investor’s perspective might very well end up with a further EUR 150 million investment as part of the InnoEnergy Highway accelerator program.

From time to time, we aim to introduce Hungarian startup companies and projects worth the attention on the blog, showcasing their growth trajectory. Many of the portfolio companies managed by Széchenyi Venture Capital Fund Management are green enterprises working in the field of environmental management – bio wastewater treatment company Biopolus, wastewater and slime managing enterprise Cyclator, and wastewater site architect, building and development company INWACOO, for example, and we believe the industry has great potential.