Swiss startup Papers.ch was the overall winner of the Energy Blockchain Hack in Bern last week. The ‘Current’ app they pitched after 48 hours of prototyping in Switzerland’s capital earned them €2,500 and tickets to Pioneers ’19 in Vienna on May 9th-10th.
The Energy Blockchain Hack saw 14 startup teams from 12 countries and four continents come together to explore use cases for Blockchain the energy industry. Switzerland’s first hackathon focused on this topic was organized by Pioneers Discover and co-hosted by Swisspower and the Energy Web Foundation (EWF).
The Papers.ch solution ‘Current’ qualified for overall victory as the winner of the PV-centered challenge from Swisspower, which is a strategic alliance of Swiss energy utilities.
‘Current’ is a consumer-facing mobile app that allows users of photovoltaic (PV) energy to track and optimize both energy consumption and their footprint, including in-app green energy certificate trading powered by smart contracts. Targeted at larger residential complexes, the Papers.ch developed it as a ‘win-win-win solution’ in which the consumer saves money whilst PV investors get faster returns on investment and the relevant utility earns a better margin.
The other category winners also impressed their respective partners. Russian team DAO IPCI produced the best response to the EWF challenge, in which the global non-profit organization asked teams to design an end-to-end provenance platform to capture goods’ CO2 footprint throughout the lifecycle. DAO IPCI, which also won Pioneers ’19 tickets, is a smart contracts and Blockchain-based independent ecosystem designed for carbon markets and societal costs mitigation instruments.
FlexiDAO was the third category victor, also walking away with tickets to Pioneers ’19 after winning the challenge from Iberdrola, the multinational energy utility based in Spain. This was about developing a system to police ‘honesty’ in measuring devices such as meters. The Barcelona startup impressed the judges with their concept for a low-cost, fast-performing, decentralized system to track and regulate a meter’s ‘reputation’, under which irregularities could be challenged by incentivized users. A meter’s ‘honesty’ could be confirmed (or otherwise) by uploading a photograph of the meter reading.
Prize-winners aside, this latest Pioneers Discover innovation event saw all the participating teams come away enriched. Even those who didn’t win got priceless access to industry leaders and bonded with potential new collaboration partners. The intense prototyping format also opened their eyes to new markets and use cases they might not be thinking about in their existing models.
“We’re not industry experts, so winning the hackathon came as a huge surprise for us,” commented Papers.ch Co-Founder Lukas Schönbächler. “We could have never developed a solution for the energy industry without taking part in the hackathon.”
While the majority of startup teams (which were scouted by Pioneers Discover) were European, one travelled 26 hours from Australia to take part! Others coming from far afield included competitors from the USA, India and Kazakhstan.
For upcoming startup opportunities including hackathons across all industries, keep an eye on the Pioneers Discover Open Calls page here.