Bangkok, Thailand – After 29 long hours of coding all but one team managed to submit creative digital smart energy solutions to advance the energy transition in Southeast Asia. The winning team “SolarPi” developed a solution that logs solar energy production data, writes it to a blockchain and uses this record to automatically claim solarcoins (a cryptocurrency that incentivizes solar energy producers). The “SolarPi” team mates serendipitously met and matched during a team formation exercise during the opening night. Robin Clart, CTO of Thailand based blockchain startup OmiseGO and judge at the Smart Energy Hackathon said: “Given the fact that the SolarPi team formed on site on Friday night, it is remarkable that this team delivered the most innovative solution”.
The runner-up, “Hive” prototyped an app called Solar Monkey that encourages solar adoption through system design, vendor selection and financing options in Thailand. The team, like many others, successfully conceptualized, designed and produced a working demo with the generous support from a diverse group of mentors. Mentors were an essential ingredient to the success of the Smart Energy Hackathon and over half of the mentors flew in from neighboring regions to support this effort. “We are passionate about supporting entrepreneurs bring their ideas and solutions to the Southeast Asia marketplace and abroad. With the right mix of ideas, support and capital we can accelerate the energy transition to smarter and cleaner alternatives” says one of the mentors, Jan-Justus Schmidt, Founder of BluGreen Energy.
The Smart Energy Hackathon is an innovation vehicle with the mission of evolving strong teams with viable solutions into real companies. Representatives from local incubators and accelerators KX, Techgrind and Startup Bootcamp were in attendance to scope potential teams to incubate. Incubators and accelerators can offer support services, mentorship, capital and training for startups and is a crucial component of building energy ecosystems in Southeast Asia. So are the Venture Capitalists, that were represented at the event as well. Nio Liyanage, Director at Hong Kong based Nest VC and judge at the event who has been at several hackathons before states: “I am genuinely impressed by the quality and variety of the submissions. The products developed, creativity, commercial application and pitches were of such high standard, it was a grueling process to select a winner in this competition”. One of the winning teams have concrete plans already: “We are stoked and will definitely take this idea forward. The first step is to look for $30,000 funding to spend on further product development”.
The Smart Energy Hackathon officially launches the New Energy Nexus Southeast Asia (Nexus SEA) initiative, which aims to develop a sustainable energy ecosystem throughout Southeast Asia. Nexus SEA will support energy entrepreneurship, corporate innovation and smart energy investment through a bottom-up approach. It will connect universities, co-working spaces, incubators, accelerators to raise awareness for for digital smart energy solutions and catalyze action. Nexus SEA will initially focus on three to four countries in Southeast Asia, but eventually enlarge to establish the entire region as go-to-place for digital smart energy-tech.
The Smart Energy Hackathon was enabled by strategic sponsors including PTT Public Company Limited, Engie, Provincial Electricity Authority, Lykke, Whapow, Blue Solar and Mint Coworking Space, and co-organized by GIZ, TechGrind, CalCEF/New Energy Nexus, Chulalongkorn University Innovation Hub (CU) and Knowledge Xchange for Innovation (KX).
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Organizer Descriptions Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
GIZ is an experienced service provider owned by German government with approximately 20.000 employees spread over more than 130 countries. GIZ offers demand-driven, tailor-made and effective services for sustainable development from balancing economic development with social inclusion to environmental protection. In Thailand, GIZ implements projects and programmes on behalf of several German Federal Ministries, the European Union and funding partners such as the Rockefeller Foundation or the Toyota Motor Corporation, as well as with the Government of Thailand.
More information at www.giz.de and http://www.thai-german-cooperation.info
TechGrind is an ASEAN technology startup ecosystem, headquartered in Bangkok, formed by TechGrind Incubator & Venture Capital, TechGrind Ventures Syndicate, TechGrind Hub and TechGrind Spaces. TechGrind Incubator is the 1st private technology incubator in Southeast Asia, in partnership with Amazon, IBM, Digital Ocean, helloPay, Microsoft Bizspark and many others. TechGrind offers incubation to early-stage startups to help build a founding team, corporate structure, IP strategy, scalability and then connect the startups to the world’s best tech investors.
More information at www.techgrind.asia.
Chulalongkorn University Innovation Hub (CU)
Chulalongkorn University Innovation Hub (CU) is committed to nurturing talents and developing innovations that transform how Thais live, learn and play. Founded and supported by Chulalongkorn University, CU Innovation Hub aims at developing creative thinking and entrepreneur skills for students and employees through hackathons, forums and training programs.
More information at innovationhub.chula.ac.th.
Knowledge Exchange for Innovation Center (KX)
Knowledge Exchange for Innovation Center (KX) acts as a portal, a contact point and a one-stop service provider with the mission “To Increase Thailand’s Competitiveness”. KX provides innovation capability building programs for productivities improvement as well as accelerator programs to support the startups. By cooperating with US and New Zealand education institutes, KX spares much effort to develop stronger SME for a stronger Thai economy.
More information at www.kxchanges.com.
CalCEF/New Energy Nexus
New Energy Nexus supports clean, smart and distributed startups worldwide by facilitating collaboration and innovation between industry experts, accelerators and entrepreneurs that are transforming tomorrow’s energy systems. New Energy Nexus is powered by the California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF). The California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF) has been investing in, and accelerating clean energy innovation and and startup ecosystems for over a decade. CalCEF is tightly integrated in a web of clean energy research institutions, startup accelerators, and investors.
More information at www.energynexus.co.