Smart Energy Congress 2019 in Madrid

The Smart Energy Congress 2019 organised by enerTIC has taken place this week in Madrid. enerTIC is a Spanish platform which brings together the main companies in the field of energy and telecommunications, aiming to foster the development of energy efficiency by means of the use of digitalisation and innovation.

i-deals organised the European Hub, fostering synergies between key stakeholders with a common interest in developing innovative projects within the energy sector. Two consecutive discussion tables were organised by i-deals, who also set the main discussion lines to build a common ground of understanding, covering innovation topics and giving a snapshot of the Spanish start-up ecosystem within the energy arena.

The first table was moderated by Francisco Ruiz Barrientos, Business Consulting Director on Energy and Utilities at NTT DATA, covering “Corporate Venturing” practises. The table counted with the participation of the venturing directors from the main energy companies within the Spanish landscape such as Repsol, Enagas and engie. It was a great opportunity to get an overview of the track record of these companies in the field of open innovation and discuss about the next steps regarding corporate venturing initiatives.

As a novelty, the second round table was moderated by Irene Gonzalez Lopez, the CFO of FiTalent, NTT DATA’ venture capital firm, who opened the discussion introducing some worldwide statistics about the venture capital pulse. Irene brought the discussion to the Spanish landscape, in order to provide the big picture of the Spanish ecosystem from a venture capitalist point of view. Although most of the panellists came from different private investment firms (Swaanlab, a Spanish-based venture capital firm, and startupxplore, among others), the differential point of view was introduced by Andrea Barber, CEO & Co-founder of Rated Power, one of the most promising start-ups within the Spanish ecosystem. Andrea introduced most of the main needs of the forthcoming Spanish digital start-ups. The debate focused on the evolution of Spanish start-ups and how investors play a fundamental role in the development of the innovation ecosystem.

A wrap-up of some of the takeaways from the event are:

  1. Venturing initiatives driven by energy companies in Spain are very recent and there is a still long way to go.
  2. Spanish based start-ups had evolved since the last decade leveraged by digitalisation, transforming the innovation ecosystem.
  3. These new waves of start-ups are meeting the investment and scalability requirements from venture firms.
  4. Both private and public investors play a major role as development drivers within the energy-based start-ups ecosystem.