Free Electrons 2021 Bootcamp is taking place this week, from May 24 to May 27. Four days for the selected startups to showcase their solutions and their teams through a fast-paced pitch event and participate in intense one-on-one meetings with the utilities. Out of hundreds of applications, these were the Bootcamp selected:

Free Electrons

Apollo Power | Israel

Apollo Power is an innovation company in the field of Energy. We use our proprietary technology to produce a flexible, durable, lightweight solar film to solve different energy challenges in a new way, both on water, in the air, for infrastructure, or in the automotive industry.

 

Blixt | Sweden

BLIXT disrupts a 100-year-old industry replacing mechanical circuit breakers with smart digital devices. The Blixt Zero SSCB is x1000 faster, provides circuit level metering and remote real time control of power – all-in-one single device.

 

Bsurance | Austria

bsurance is a B2B2C, white-label insurtech company focusing on Embedded Insurance. The essence of our business model is to provide insurance to the customer the very moment it becomes relevant within the customer journey, inevitably connecting it to the product or service of their interest, without any interruption of their purchasing process.

 

Camus Energy | USA

Camus Energy is building an open source software platform to enable the future Distribution System Operator (DSO). Camus’ platform empowers industry leaders to safely and strategically manage a rapidly changing grid environment.

 

DABBEL – Automation Intelligence | Germany

The DABBEL AI is a pure software solution that replaces the manual control of the existing Building Management Systems in commercial buildings with Artificial Intelligence.

 

Duckt | Estonia

Duckt, is a universal micromobility infrastructure solution. You can dock, lock and charge any vehicle in one spot, easy to scale and adaptable with your urban mobility needs.

 

Electron (UK) | United Kingdom

Electron’s solution is a configurable platform for local flexibility markets. Our software enables companies such as network utilities, municipal suppliers and others to launch and operate markets, communicate with distributed energy resources through price signals,  and optimize their combined use of renewable generation or network capacity.

 

Eliq AB | Sweden

Eliq is the SaaS platform that enables energy companies to deploy applications that help end-customers better understand and manage their energy usage and accelerate their participation in the energy transition.

 

eSmart Systems | Norway

Our flagship product Grid Vision – an AI-assisted, end-to-end powerline inspection management tool – was first released in 2016 and is currently in use by more than 30 utilities in Europe and the US.

 

Exceedence | Ireland

Exceedence is an Irish SME that provides renewable energy financial modelling software and consultancy with particular expertise in marine and offshore renewables.

 

Exeri | Sweden

Smart Grid SurveillanceTM (SGS) is Exeri’s comprehensive system that enables real-time situational awareness and decision support for the distribution grid.

 

FiberSense | Australia

We sensorise existing installed Fiber Optic cables (usually telco fiber in cities, or for subsea High Voltage lines dark fiber installed along the cable, for overhead OPGW fiber is usually already available).

 

FSIGHT – Energy Flows | Israel

State-of-the-art artificial intelligence software solutions for the energy market. FSIGHT’s AI technology platform is specifically built to take advantage of the new decentralized energy market and smart metering data to increase revenues and reduce costs.

 

Gilytics | Switzerland

Gilytics delivers a Cloud GIS-based platform and service solution allowing users to calculate alternative routes for power lines, pipelines, roads, and railways, helping energy, engineering and transport companies save time, money and CO2 with better data, visuals, and communication to grow.

 

Go To-U | USA

GO TO-U is a platform for electric vehicle (EV) charging management and operations. Our proprietary software technology enables charge point operators to drive 2x higher utilization of charging locations, enhancing EV drivers’ satisfaction and loyalty.

 

GreenValley International USA | USA

The company provides a wide-range of advanced aerial,terrestrial, and mobile LiDAR survey and mapping hardware systems as well as cutting edge software and service solutions.

 

Gridcognition | Australia

Creates a sophisticated digital twin of your existing and future energy projects, running thousands of simulations in a single click, optimising technology & commercial decisions across far more variables than was previously possible, to drive the best possible environmental and financial outcomes.

 

gridX | Germany

gridX uses edge and cloud services to develop digital solutions for smart charging and energy management to make renewable energy accessible to all, independent of manufacturers.

 

HyBird | United Kingdom

Through its unique 3D reality models, AI algorithms, and workflow integration, Clarity delivers benefits in business continuity, knowledge management, cost reduction, remote cooperation, and digital transformation.

 

KelTech IoT | Ireland

Our Dual Distributed Network (DDN) solution optimises the deployment of communication networks by combining electricity and fibre in an ‘all-digital’ solution using Digital Electricity.

 

LiveEO Berlin | Germany

LiveEO applies tailor made machine learning algorithms to satellite and aerial imagery in order to assess the vegetation risk alongside TSO & DSO networks globally.

 

Liight App | Spain

Liight incentivises users to adopt sustainable habits like walking, cycling or recycling through gamification, smart-city mechanisms and artificial intelligence.

 

Measurable.energy | United Kingdom

The measurable.energy (m.e) Platform is the ultimate building control, automation and management system to eliminate wasted electricity and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.

 

Nuventura | Germany

Nuventura develops sustainable gas insulated switchgear (GIS) for medium voltage (MV) electricity grids.

 

Plexigrid | Sweden

Plexigrid develops network management platforms for DSOs and distributed resources management platforms for retailers and aggregators.

 

Prescinto Technologies Pvt Ltd | India

Prescinto’s AI-powered SaaS platform collects solar plant data, applies data science models to identify causes for underperformance, and suggests work orders to increase power generation.

 

PROXXI | Canada

Proxxi is a smart sensor that protects workers by sensing when they get too close to an electrified device.

 

REBASE Energy | Sweden

Rebase Energy provides data and digital tools for forecasting, optimisation and trading of weather-dependent distributed energy resources.

 

Social Energy SE Group | United Kingdom

Our Artificial Intelligence and predictive analytics make profit from the growing number of prosumers and renewable energy assets on the grid.

 

SubSea Mechatronics | Spain

Over the years, we have developed pipe-inspection services with ROVs and AUVs and their maintenance and repair together with IoT for water applications, besides a range of underwater inspection products.

 

Tacit.io | USA

An integrated solution that is designed to provide field employees in industries such as Power/Utilities, AEC/ Construction, Industrial Equipment and Oil/Gas and others an integrated experience for real-time collaboration, knowledge management and to leverage remote experts who can better help them get their job done.

 

VECKTA | USA

VECKTA is the Energy Transition Market Platform, empowering a more sustainable, profitable and distributed energy future.

 

Voltaware Europe | United Kingdom

Voltaware is a London-based startup using smart meter data to create game changing products that help utilities engage customers and generate new revenue streams.

 

Yotta Energy | USA

Yotta Energy (Yotta) has created the first panel-level energy storage solution that fits perfectly behind any industry standard solar module, neatly integrating into PV racking.

 

Zinier | USA

Low-code Field Service Automation Platform, powered by AI. We empower field service organizations to reach their full potential, delivering always-on service, while future-proofing for the unexpected.

re_source:  the brave ones taking the next level of circular economy

re_source: the brave ones taking the next level of circular economy

re_source is the digital open innovation program by Sociedade Ponto Verde, focused on circular economy and digital disruption of packaging waste.

Being a Portuguese waste packaging management body whose mission is to manage the “take-back and recovery” of packaging, Sociedade Ponto Verde has brought re_source, in partnership with Beta-i, to bring new insights, technologies and scalable innovations to the packaging waste sector.

re_source is the way for international startups and innovators to develop, together and in collaboration with the pilot partners, the most innovative solutions to address challenges in this industry. 

And who are these brave partners with whom the startups will work with, you ask? We answer – and you may find more about them in re_source’s website.

We have already 11 green rockstars in the source of innovation:

(re_source can still have more, though. If you’d like to join as a pilot partner, contact the team here)  

 

The Municipality of Mafra mission is to plan, organise and implement policies that promote inclusive, smart and environmentally sustainable growth of the territory. The idea is to boost innovation and digital transformation, aimed at creating well-being for the citizens and generating value for investors.

 

  • Cascais Ambiente
    Cascais Ambiente is responsible for the urban cleaning and waste collection services in Cascais and is responsible for managing urban green public spaces, gambling and recreation, natural resource management and the coastline. https://ambiente.cascais.pt/

 

Manufactures recycled paper for corrugated cardboard. It has four lines of business: manufacturing of recycled paper for corrugated paper (Saica Paper), waste management and environmental services (Saica Natur), production of corrugated paper packaging (Saica Pack) and flexible packaging (Saica Flex).

 

Mail delivery service, both physically and digitally. Also includes services such as savings management, credits and insurance. Its mission is to foster innovation and forge relationships built on trust, through proximity and excellence, connecting both people and companies. 

 

Manages, recovers, and treats the municipal waste produced in eight municipalities of the Greater Porto Area, in Portugal. Every year, it treats around 500,000 tons of municipal waste, promoting the adoption of integrated systems and the minimization of waste disposal in landfills. Four core areas of strategy: Multi-material Recovery, Organic Recovery, and Energy Recovery. 

 

Leader in the production and commercialisation of disposable aluminium packaging for more than 40 years. Develops its activity in: cash & carries, food industry, patisseries/bakeries, catering and take away industries, including stores and supermarket chains. 

 

Urban hotel with a sustainable tourism concept, certified according to standards ISO 9001, 14001, and 45001, and the Green Key certification. Open since 2011, it has also won the We Care and We Share seals from the AHP, the Green Project Award, and the Zero Carbon Certification.

 

Projects, produces and commercializes a complete set of solutions for temporary waste containerization and related services. As the Iberian market leader of recycling containers, it has approximately 200 thousand units of its star product, CYCLEA, installed.

 

Founded in 1934 as a major beer seller company. Nowadays part of the Heineken company, SCC is a leading company in terms of innovation in the drinks market, and aware of its potential as a driving force for growth and development.

 

Major Portuguese soft drinks company with a multi-brand, multi-market strategy, whose core business is based on its operations in the Beer and Bottled water businesses. Includes soft drinks, wines, malt production and marketing and tourism.

 

Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSWM) company. Responsible for integrated management of municipal solid waste produced in the municipalities of Cascais, Mafra, Oeiras and Sintra, in Portugal. www.tratolixo.pt

 

It’s very exciting to have all these pilot partners on board. 

The selected startups and innovators will be able to work together with a varied range of experts to disrupt the packaging waste system.  Startups and innovators can apply to re_source until May 16, 2021.

Welcome to The Journey

Welcome to The Journey

Now in its fourth edition, The Journey returns to help disrupt the tourism industry, especially in demanding and urgent times like 2021.

The Journey

The Journey – innovation for tourism 

As every sector, Tourism has always had to adapt to external variables. The year of 2020 in particular, due to the covid-19 pandemic, has proven that adapting to challenges is key for the success and sustainability of the whole sector. 

Taking Portugal’s case, tourism represents the sector with the largest economic export activity in the country – accounting in 2019 for 52.3% of services exports and 19.7% of the total exports, and tourism revenues contributing 8.7% to the Portuguese GDP. This reveals its innovation and strategy to be even more crucial.

Following the lead, The Journey program rises once again to its fourth edition, to find the most innovative solutions for the sector, focusing on its recovery and revamping. 

This edition is 100% online, yet gathering international startups and the program’s partners to collaborate together into developing pilot projects that will be all about rapid test and implementation. These Pilots should be solving challenges felt in Hospitality, Parks & Monuments, Tours & Activities and Payments. This means that startups from all industries can take part in this innovation journey, given that the most varied technology will be creating positive impact. 

The good news is that the Top 14 startups were already chosen for the bootcamp, where they will explore and establish pilot projects between them and partners. Here are the mighty fourteen: 

Manages guided visits content used on the visitor’s mobile device and allows the analysis of usage data.

 

Travel tech company that provides Hotels, Airlines, and OTAs a scalable, white-label product to plan unique and personalized travel itineraries. 

 

The first Cloud-driven tour guide system in app format and an alternative solution to traditional radio group guiding  devices.

 

Transforms the way the world gets together in real life in a post COVID world.

 

Smart settlement / automation system for the hospitality industry.

 

AI-powered platform that converts any screen in the public and business domain into a smart, real-time engagement and performance measurement asset.

 

Frictionless payment through QR codes with no apps, emails, signups or contacts involved. 

 

The google analytics for the physical world. Enables brick & mortar chains to make decisions based on the movement, behavior and interests of millions of people.

 

Order-and-pay solution for the hospitality industry. Restaurants, Pubs, Hotels, Arenas, and Resorts are made more efficient, while their guests are kept safe and secure.

 

Using data to help cultural spots (museums, restaurants, stores, and local brands) to understand the purchasing behavior of Chinese audiences.

 

Multifunctional product able to recognize a huge number of documents and barcodes with minimal energy consumption and maximum security. 

 

Interactive virtual tours that increase only visibility thanks to the partnership with Google.

 

Solution to help companies/departments/teams to manage shifts to better fit the customers flows. 

 

Digitalize in-person transactions for verticals such as hospitality, health care, retail, access control and ticket vending solutions for attended and self-service transactions. 

 

After agreeing on a fit and work plan, startups and partners will be collaborating together. We’re looking forward to sharing some of those collaboration results in the near future.

Keep up with The Journey! 

Ecosystem Survey: Innovation, One year after Covid

Ecosystem Survey: Innovation, One year after Covid

Beta-i carried out an Ecosystem Survey to understand the evolution of the innovation market over the past 12 months among players in Portugal’s tech community. 

innovation 1 year after covid

The survey’s results show a growth in innovation and digital transformation projects during the pandemic.

One year after the beginning of the pandemic, these were the main takeaways:

  • 71% of respondents say that the number of innovation projects developed between startups, companies, universities, and research centres has increased between March 2020 and March 2021;
  • 50% show an increase in their number of innovation partners to find new solutions to the pandemic’s challenges;
  • 47% of respondents give greater preference to seeking local partners rather than entities outside of Portugal;
  • Collaboration has also gained new strength, with over 70% of the community upholding the growth of this belief;
  • Innovation and digital transformation as agents of change increased 47%;
  • 52% of the respondents’ optimism about the future remains similar to the pre-pandemic period, being a more skeptical or pragmatic stance based on issues that go beyond the pandemic context – such as diversifying innovation funding models and reducing bureaucracy and public procurement rules;
  • At Beta-i, we also saw our number of projects increase compared between March 2020 (15) and March 2021 (22 projects) and a 22% revenue growth in the first quarter of 2021 compared to 2020.

Alisson Avila, our co-founder and Communication and Knowledge Expert, explained that “the survey was conducted with people who work with innovation and digital transformation, during a year where this was paramount. A year later, this 12 month survey was undoubtedly crucial for the ecosystem to understand the way it deals with uncertain environments and, above all, rethink the way it approaches innovation.”

“However, we must understand the context of the data before assuming a positive correlation. The results show a solid upcoming scenario at a digital level; nevertheless, it may not represent higher revenue generation. It will be essential to align this through 2021, to confirm the trend that collaboration for innovation is a culture and process for generating results in the market,” adds Alisson.

The survey had the participation of 54 players from the technology community, including founders of startups, leaders, large companies’ executives, researchers, and investors, mostly of Portuguese nationality. The answers were collected between February and March, 2021. 

Whatever the choice, just share what you read.

Whatever the choice, just share what you read.

By the end of 2020, Beta-i has made what most of us do when the year reaches its end: a retrospective and look into the future. We have reached some conclusions and made sure our clients, the ones that accompanied us throughout the unusual months of 2020, knew what those were. 

Together we proved that collaboration is crucial, intrinsic and the key to solve every challenge.

During the last year, Beta-i has emerged with a new brand and the statement of collaboration above it all. We embraced even more what we already knew: we are what we share.

Beta-i and Yomu Books

That is why we decided to share with our clients more pieces of knowledge for them to enjoy. With the help of Yomu Books, we’ve delivered 156 books to 97 clients in 13 countries

With one condition: the sharing must go on. These books must be shared among the teams, so that knowledge can keep on spreading. All 97 companies have received at least one of these books, that must change hands once read: 

  • Freaknomics by Steven D. Levitt
  • Anything You Want by Derek Sivers
  • Zero to One by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters
  • Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

We hope that this was the beginning of a journey of knowledge for 2021. Keep on sharing!

Beta-i end 2020

Analysis: the Portuguese Presidency of the European Council and the (new) digital legislation

Analysis: the Portuguese Presidency of the European Council and the (new) digital legislation

Alisson Avila *


Portugal takes over the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union next January with several challenges and opportunities, capable of making this six-month term a memorable season. Especially when it comes to common market’s digital legislation, the bustle is already guaranteed: it’s the temporary Portuguese leadership that will deal with the first developments towards the implementation of new rules replacing others created 20 years ago – that is, a near-eternity for the tech cluster. Formally presented this Tuesday (15), the Digital Services Act (DSA) intends to introduce new rules in areas ranging from content moderation, online advertising and algorithms configuration transparency, while the Digital Markets Act (DMA) intends to anticipate potential illegal practices and provide an audit tool for companies that have more than 10% of the market within the common economic space. Both propositions can be checked on the
European Council’s website official announcement. 

DSA announcement landing page

DSA announcement landing page


It has been known since before her inauguration, that the current President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, wishes to modernize the digital legislation of the common market. Something that was crystal clear, for example, in her recent opening speech at Web Summit 2020 – a definitely global event, but whose opening narrative was decisively European. Ambitiously, the German politician opened the world’s largest technological meeting by recognizing there are still many obstacles to digital entrepreneurship in the European Union and many startups end up leaving the European space to ensure their growth. For this reason, she reiterated three fundamentals of change that, in her understanding, will make the EU the global leader in digital excellence in the “20s” that are coming. Such pillars affirm that the (European) practices and values ​​of the offline world must also be respected online; that companies must have a unique set of fundamental digital rules across the European Union; and that they must have equal conditions and opportunities.

All of these principles are reflected in the brand-new proposed legislation. DSA aims to strengthen the EU’s single market, facilitate the expansion of startups and scale-ups through unifying rules in the economic space and clarify the responsibilities and obligations of digital services, while DMA will directly address the economic power of major online platforms with the intention of restraining (and demanding) certain behaviours, even before regulators have evidence of real damage to the market.

 

 

The proposals point to unquestionable benefits for society and democracy in Europe (reduction of fake news, illegal products and services and hate speech), but it is too early to know what their systemic implications will be on people’s daily lives and, above all, on businesses’. These are epic challenges in political, legal and geocorporate terms, capable of generating an impact both in large technological companies and in early-stage startups.

Although the European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, stated (also) at the Web Summit 2020 that this debate “is not about where you come from, but about what you do and the role you have in the market”, the potentially geopolitical discussion it’s already set. The Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), positioned at the top of the North American ranking of the Global Go To Think Tank Index, published last November the studyDigital Services Act, Digital Markets Act and the new competition tool – European initiatives to face US technology companies“, whose approach highlights how the different international perspectives and interests on the subject will be heard with a huge echo while Portugal leads the temporary presidency of the European Council.

 

CSIS (left) and Oxera / Allied for Startups (right) studies

CSIS (left) and Oxera / Allied for Startups (right) studies

 

On the other hand, the study “The Impact of the Digital Services Act on business users”, released last October by the British consultant company Oxera in partnership with the international association Allied for Startups, suggests another angle: that the emerging digital entrepreneurs in Europe have a vision on defending their autonomy and free initiative similar to that of North American big techs. After collecting the perspective of 1,000 startup & SME founders from the travel and tourism, gig economy and creative industry segments in Germany, Bulgaria, Ireland and Spain, the study concludes that DSA can achieve positive results if 1) it continues to limit the platforms’ direct responsibility for content and products made available by third parties; 2) it allows platforms to take their own voluntary actions to detect harmful or illegal content; 3) it elaborates obligations with known penalties, in order to increase customer confidence and provide legal certainty; 4) it expands the consistency of rules applied across the EU; 5) it avoids overloading discouraging information to users, such as detailed verification of product lists, qualifications or content copyrights; 6) it doesn’t prescribe governance solutions that prevent platforms from implementing scalable technical solutions, such as artificial intelligence tools; and 7) it avoids rules based on the size of each platform, such as numbers of users or the value of facilitated transactions.

These are perspectives both legitimate and potentially fracturing when facing the Council of the EU intentions, ready to feed a lively debate right at the moment of Portugal’s protagonism in its rotating presidency. So the question emerges: how will the well-known Portuguese pro-innovation and digital transformation position, expressed so favourably over the past few years, be used as a parameter in the legislative developments of the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act? A theme that we’ll closely follow-up throughout 2021.


* Beta-i’s Co-Founder, Communication & Knowledge Principal