EDP Starter is an innovative incubation concept for startups in the energy sector, allowing them to enter the innovation ecosystem of EDP, Portugal’s leading electricity group and one of the largest in Europe. It is much more than a physical space, as the platform offers a virtual incubation modality where entrepreneurs can access EDP’s innovation ecosystem. Its carefully chosen network of partners acts as a catalyst for success, guiding startups through the different stages of their journey. EDP Starter is led by Luis Manuel Santos (Head of Innovation) and Enrique Menéndez (Resp. Innovation Projects) and focuses on projects that provide or include technological innovation and business models in the energy industry. The program includes: helping startups transform an idea into a real product; Support to startups providing the right tools to achieve success; Access for startups to experts in the world of energy and their laboratories; and Investment through the EDP Ventures fund.
EDP Acceleration Program selects a small number of startups. During the first week, with an open innovation approach, EDP experts in the different innovation areas (cleaner Energy, smarter grids, client focused solutions, Energy Storage and Data Leap) explain to entrepreneurs the opportunities for collaboration with EDP on innovative projects. In addition, they also receive training on business model formulation.
Over the next three weeks, a set of mentors from the EDP group helps startups refine their business model and formulate collaboration proposals. The startups receive specific training on aspects related to financial indicators and commercial aspects (sales, marketing, etc.). The program ends with a demo day in which the entrepreneurs must convince a jury formed by EDP executives of the attractiveness of their project in a pitch. To date, the EDP group has evaluated more than 550 projects in the EDP Starter programme, with a total of 30 companies that have already taken part in the acceleration programme. All of them are related to the strategic innovation priorities of the EDP group: cleaner energy, smarter grids, client-focused solutions, energy storage and data leap (big data).
In addition, the incubator organizes EDP Open Innovation, an annual award where 15 companies from Brazil, Spain and Portugal meet for three weeks in Lisbon. The winner takes home an economic endowment of 50,000 euros. Three companies are also selected to participate in the EDP Acceleration Program, the last edition of which took place on the Google campus in Madrid between April and May, and which aims to become part of the EDP Starter program.
EDP Starter provides startups with the most suitable tools for the development of their idea. It provides entrepreneurs with an excellent team of mentors – experts in solar, wind, energy storage, energy efficiency, etc. – and connect startups with key players and strategic partners in the energy sector. In addition, EDP’s multinational presence facilitates the internalization of startups.
In 2008, the EDP group founded a venture capital company called EDP Ventures, which invests directly in companies and projects, as well as in funds specialized in clean technologies (Clean Technologies Fund, CTF) with the aim of supporting and stimulating the Open Innovation Process. Since its foundation, EDP Ventures has invested more than 20 million euros in companies and funds.