Vattenfall, one of the largest Energy providers in Europe, is driving innovation with startups through several vehicles. green:field, a team of startup enthusiasts, is one of these vehicles and it supports internal units to drive innovation through collaboration with external startups. Last year we worked with the team to support the Heat Area in the search for smart, digital solutions for its B2B and B2C energy customers. Here is how we got to the result of a successful PoC with a conglomerate of three startups from Sweden and Turkey as well as the creation of an AI steered district heating system.
1. Define the problem and screen the market for solutions
As a first step, in an internal expert workshop, the use case and problem were defined, namely customers lacking knowledge about how to reduce their energy costs while at the same time reaching their temperature goals. Based on that, Pioneers used its database and network to screen for the most innovative startup solutions in whole Europe and after a feedback round with the Vattenfall team compiled the short list of potential target partners.
2. Remote calls & on-site meetings
The best companies were invited first for quick discovery calls and consequently for on-site meetings to discuss their solutions with a larger circle of Vattenfall experts analyzing how the solution could fit with Vattenfall customers and internal capabilities.
3. Putting together the puzzle
Already during the remote calls, there is not yet any complete solution to the problem but that several puzzle pieces – hardware for energy consumption measurement, software for energy customer interaction and ML/AI technology for providing customers with individual consumption recommendations – need to be combined to provide a valuable solution. Therefore, the three startups QuantCo (Data/AI expert), Eliq (customer engagement software for energy suppliers) and Nuvia Smart Energy Technologies (Intelligent sensors for home) were invited to jointly define the right product for Vattenfall customers.
4. 2-days Product and PoC Definition Workshop
Following the selection, we had a two-days intense workshop with participants from different departments of Vattenfall and representatives of the 3 startups to jointly define a first MVP, pilot roadmap as well as to be tested hypotheses. Gustavsberg in Stockholm was chosen as a test site and on-site staff chosen to support in the technical setup.
5. PoC / Pilot
In a 6 months pilot, the three startups implemented a solution that allowed tenants in several buildings in Gustavsberg to control individual temperatures using a smartphone app and AI based recommendations. While Eliq provided the app, Nuvia installed sensors in different places in the building to provide QuantCo data to be analyzed and then used for suggesting user actions to achieve heating goals while reducing consumption. What a match of competences here!
6. Results and next steps
Vattenfall’s digitisation project in Gustavsberg shows lower costs, reduced carbon footprint and more satisfied customers. The pilot project in Gustavsberg is now entering its next phase, in which the broader market interest is to be tested and evaluated.
We are super happy for the team to have achieved such great results in just under a year from use case definition to a successful PoC and already eager to find out how this story of one corporate working with 3 startups continues in the future.
If you are interested to learn more about the case study, in working with startups on your own or need support in the setup, scouting, PoC or roll-out of long-term collaboration, hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com