How We Landed In The Top 1% Of 800 Startups in Free Electrons (+ Piloting Our First Sensors in Japan)

Leona Leslie
VP Marketing

When the Free Electrons committee announced Disruptive Technologies as a finalist for their 2020 Program, our team felt privileged. 

We were one of 800 startups that applied to be part of Free Electrons 2020, with the hopes of immersing ourselves in a global innovation ecosystem hosted by 10 of the biggest utility companies in the world (The Utilities). In the midst of innovative global competition, the odds were tough. But we believed in the ability of our technology to transcend geographical barriers and bring global value. 

Through the span of one year, we went through four one-week-long modules and pitched to The Utilities. We received mentorship, access to key decision-makers, and the ability to test our sensor solution in a global environment. 

The result? A pilot program with Japanese powerhouse Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO).

What is the Free Electrons Accelerator Program?

Free Electrons connects promising startups to the world’s leading utility companies to create solutions and co-create “the future of energy.” The ten energy utility partners that developed the program are leaders in the clean energy transition. They represent 40 countries serving 82 million customers and have over 218 gigawatts of owned and contracted capacity.

The standards for selection to the program are quite rigorous. Potential participants must have:

  • The relevant experience and a mix of complementary skills, both business and technical
  • A quality, innovative solution that provides a competitive advantage and can be easily replicated
  • A clear articulation of the type and size of the target market
  • A clearly defined business model
  • A solution fit for The Utilities

The Free Electrons program consists of four one-week modules held across the globe over one year. This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the program was digital. During each module, the Free Electrons community, including The Utilities and other experts, held one-on-one meetings and structured group sessions. 

The consultations helped us refine our value propositions, test our technology in a global environment, and access key decision-makers. We delivered our final pitch in October to global interest and landed a pilot in Japan.

What's Next?

utility powerhouse

Our sensor solution is being piloted by TEPCO, the Japanese utility powerhouse in their power grid and retail businesses. By piloting our technology, TEPCO proves that they are at the forefront of Japanese innovation in the energy industry. We are grateful for their trust in our technology and their cooperation. 

We are honored to get the opportunity to test our sensor solution on the global market. Throughout this entire process, we found that the substation-related problems we are solving in Norway happen worldwide. Innovative, robust solutions like ours can help improve efficiency and sustainability as the world transitions to clean energy solutions.

Landing in the top 1% of applicants, we are alumni of the program and "future makers". We are very proud of this achievement and look forward to a fruitful relationship with Free Electrons, participating Utilities, and fellow innovators in the years to come.  

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