Free Electrons 2019 final stop: Lisbon

About to complete its third edition, the program will kick off the Module 3 on September 16, in Lisbon – welcome to all the participants! 

Free Electrons is the first global energy startup accelerator program created to connect the world’s most promising energy startups with leading utility companies.


Free Electrons is a unique opportunity to bring global perspectives to local challenges via real, meaningful, face to face interactions. 

The Module 3 will be the peak of the interactions that have been developing since the 19 edition has started.

During their days in Lisbon, the 15 startups and 10 utilities will meet to align and define the next steps of their possible commercial agreements, once the program is concluded. They will also deep dive into the work that has been performed over the program between participant startups and the partner utilities, the pilots. 

By the end of Module 3, the startup winner is to be announced and awarded with the Free Electrons 19 World’s Best Energy Startup worth 200,000$. 

The Shin Akimoto Award, initiated in 2017 in memory of Mr. Shin Akimoto, will also be handled to the candidate that best impersonates the values of this award: 

  • is a Free Electrons Ambassador (has got the Free Electrons Spirit and pushes the program to succeed); 
  • is proactive and innovative (presents an anticipatory, change-oriented and self-initiated behaviour and embraces change and whether there is continuous improvement and innovation throughout the business); 
  • is people driven (always ready to help and collaborate with others, lifts everyone’s spirit up and brings good energy to the group).

As a truly global program, focused on deal facilitation and pilot driven, the program has been addressing and solving real problems, namely generating business, investment and disruption within the energy sector. 

In fact 2019 edition has originated a pipeline of 58 pilot projects so far,  among the 15 startup finalists and the 10 partner utilities – all utilities have found several innovative solutions that can be adopted and integrated into their businesses.

Setting the grand finale in places like Maat and Academia das Ciências, the Free Electrons welcomes all the participants to Lisbon, and couldn’t be prouder of what the program has been accomplishing. 


Free Electrons Module 3: 16 – 19 September 2019 


All is changing in the never slow mobility world


I confess that as a young girl I truly believed that by the time I turned 40 teletransportation will be a common way to avoid traffic jams. As the date is fast-approaching, and although teletransportation is still a mirage, I believe that we are evolving fast enough that transportation will no longer be a pain and, something that a young Joana never worried but now keeps me up at night, better for the environment.

As environment goes electric transportation is allowing us to keep moving without polluting the air with tons of CO2 per mile. Some Governments seem more committed than others in providing the conditions for the expansion of electric vehicles: Amsterdam has pledged to ban all gasoline and diesel powered cars by 2030 and is now offering charging stations to those moving to e-vehicles.

You know that e-cars are getting the hype when even the hard core collectors of vintage models are now adapting them with super eco-friendly Tesla motors.

Shared mobility is another big trend. As an epic road rager, I am a fan of not owning a car and only drive when I really, really must, using car sharing services and being a fan of uber. However, at Beta-i we always like to verify what customers really want of each product and in Japan Orix found out that youngsters are using shared cars as a place to crash and spend the night almost as much as they use them for moving around.

Finally, a trend I am most fan of: all the tricks and knowledge on how to get from point A to point B as seamlessly and fastest as possible. That is why I am a huge fan of Meep, one of the startups that participated in the first edition of SOL Mobility, and that allows me to choose the fastest, cheaper or more environmentally friendly way of moving around.

It’s not teletransportation, but sounds good enough for me!

“Being intentional about the future” – Interview with Lara Stein

While visiting Lisbon to (among other things) talk to the Beta-i team, Lara gave this quick interview to share a little more context about her new project, which can be seen in detail (and receive your input about how to get involved) at

After being Executive Director of Women’s March Global, Founder and former Director of TEDx and the TED Prize and MD of Global for Singularity University, South African Lara Stein has a brand new project of her own: BOMA, which in the coming days launches its own editorial platform.

The roots of the word “Boma” originate from Africa and are present in the languages spoken in the Great Lakes of Africa. The Boma was a circular venue for the community and its elders to gather together: a space for community meetings, meaningful discussions, and decision-making to define actions. It was this concept that Lara brought to the fore to position her new project as “a community without borders, identifying new ideas, innovations, and systems to design a more intelligent, intentional, and sustainable future.”

Here’s how our conversation with Lara went:

What motivated you to migrate from previous experiences like TEDx and Singularity to a new project?

The understanding that we live in complicated times. Of social and political changes, which amplify the context of change. I have spent the last two years making global moves to drive change, and I realized that many countries have common challenges and desires, while sharing a will to maximize results while still having a wider impact. And that’s exactly what we want to maximize with the BOMA project: creating value impact from a human-centred approach.

Having worked in three major networks, I was looking for a model that would not divide the world, but rather add up. Something decentralized and collaborative, with a network of people who share the same vision. That’s why I think my obligation to BOMA is to bring these people together and make a model that works overtime – and that’s more intentional and intelligent about the future and the actions that this future requires us to take. I believe in a global system with local partners.

Can you comment a bit more on the idea of “being intentional about the future”?

I feel that the general mindset still focuses on ‘survival of fittest‘. We do not want to maximize this; we want to leverage collaboration, being a movement where people come together and get organized to help and act on concrete things. Doing so, we want to help design leaders able to answer the unavoidable ethical questions that lie before us. I believe people want these principles: to exchange experiences and knowledge for the world we want to have.

It seems that BOMA has more to do with the consequences of technology than the pursuit of technological innovation as a way to thrive. Does it make sense?

Tech is a key drive, everything is around that. But the complexity lies in its transformation: technology alone is not the point of action, but rather the good use of technology, how it is being applied to increase shareholder value and the consequences of it. These are very complicated questions to be pursued by ethics: the consequences of our actions in the name of a “good outcome”.

What are the main goals to be achieved by the platform in this first phase?

In the coming days, we’ll launch our editorial platform on the BOMA website, with bottom-up change and empowering communities content. We are only 6 months old and always revisiting our KPIs, but I would like to have up to 15 or 20 country partners in the coming years, with bottom-up community events and projects associated with our lines of work that can gradually be developed by the partners themselves in each country. This is a long-term project because talking and acting on systemic change takes time.


Thank you so much for the visit, Lara!

Going to China with Protechting

Four years have now produced four editions of this open innovation program focused on Healthtech, Fintech and Insurtech.

And we have also met the four musketeers right in the front row – Fosun, Fidelidade, Hospital da Luz and Hauck & Aufhäuser (and powered by Beta-i, of course) – and how they can be the perfect partner for participant startups to pilot their solutions with

But as Protechting is now taking applications for this years’ edition, it is also pertinent to let applicants know about one of the perks of Protechting – Piloting track: the roadshow to China.

Going to China with Protechting

Pack some clothes (and a pitch or two), you are going to Shanghai

If you are part of the top three startups to participate, this is where Protechting is taking you. We are talking about a global financial hub, 8th place ranked in the Top 30 Global Startup Ecosystems, as stated in the Global Startup Ecosystem Report launched this year. Food for thought, Shanghai is also part of the only three ecosystems that made it to the top 10 in both female entrepreneurship and global performance.

The experience is made to open some doors for the brave entrepreneurs by meeting Fosun and their associated companies as well as expanding the knowledge about the country’s market and culture. In fact, you might even take the chance to explore other opportunities all by yourself as you are already there. 

This is what has done, as part of the top three of the second edition – you can read about their experience through their own words on A Startup Story From The Roadshow To China.

Protechting’s applications phase are currently open. This year, the program’s evaluators are adding a new criteria to the selection of the top candidates: solutions with a sustainable and socially impact will certainly catch their attention.

What do Healthtech, Insurtech and Fintech have in common?

The answer is: a major call for innovation.


You can even have add up a pinch of Sustaintech and there you go: the fourth edition of Protechting is on the making.

After three previous successful editions, Protechting is back to promote the collaboration between startups and established corporations. It has now two different tracks to boost startups growth, according to their maturity: a Piloting track and a new Pre-Acceleration track, with a spotlight at sustainable and socially impacting solutions. 

Healthtech, Insurtech and Fintech startups

Protechting 4.0 – applications open

Healthtech, Insurtech and Fintech startups – If you are eager to pilot your solution or to speed up your growth, here are the Partners who are making it happen:


As the largest insurance group in Portugal, with over 200 years of existence and an international presence, Fidelidade consists of a group of companies in the insurance and health sectors, including also a combination of services, that as a whole, protect the future of families, companies and Country. If Protection is your thing, this is the partner for you.

Fidelidade is here from the very first edition of Protechting (Jesus, it has been a few years now) noticing how startups have been bringing innovation and a new look into these areas. Shout out to the brave winners of the first edition of the program: EctoSense LifeSymb and CleenBeen.

Hospital da Luz Learning Health

Inside Luz Saúde Group, Hospital da Luz Learning Health is dedicated to the advanced training of professionals, translational research and innovation, in healthcare provision and management.

As the improvement of knowledge, technologies and advanced practices in healthcare are what makes their DNA, you can already see that innovation is part of the job and therefore the right partner to collaborate – “Healthteching” speaking.

Hauck & Aufhäuser

Hauck & Aufhäuser presents itself as the Fintech partner for Protechting. Adding not only knowledge and expertise into the area, it adds also to the international focus of the program, since it is a private german bank, with a 220-year history. 

This is actually the most recent partner of the program, joining for the previous edition in 2018 – in fact here is their own testimony entering Proteching.


Fosun was founded in 1992 and is a family-focused multinational company listed on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (00656.HK) since 2007. With its roots in China, and through technology and innovation, Fosun’s mission is to create customer-to-maker (C2M) ecosystems in health, happiness and wealth. The group embraces all the other partners of the program. 

Actually, the presence of Fosun in Protechting is what can be taking you to China: The three best solutions of the piloting track will get the chance to participate in a roadshow in China with access to some of the largest global investors. 

Since it is always better to hear from someone who’s actually made it, here is A Startup Story From The Roadshow To China.

Wrapping up here, it goes without saying that Protechting is powered by Beta-i, so if you feel like you could use some more info or just wish to chat, you can reach us at

Applications for Protechting are now open – you can apply here

Meet the partners of this Journey

Dear all, 

It’s been quite a journey indeed.

Word-playing aside, the Journey is now on it’s third edition, a brand new marathon of pilot projects on the making to disrupt the tourism industry. 

For all the startups that want to take their chance to apply to this open innovation program, these are the brave partners that are following the path of innovation, with Turismo de Portugal as the main enabler and Unicre as the program’s data partner. 

Completing the list, here are the ones more than ready to work side by side for pilot development:

1. Parques de Sintra – Monte da Lua

In order to understand Parques de Sintra – Monte da lua, one needs to understand a bit of Sintra: we are talking about a mysterious mountain (the Serra de Sintra, also known as Monte da Lua) that includes the exquisite village with the same name – Sintra – as well as astonishingly beautiful and unique parks and monuments, part of UNESCO world heritage. 

Following this UNESCO classification of the Sintra Cultural Landscape is 1995, Parques de Sintra was then created in the year 2000 to manage and optimize the area’s monuments, parks and properties. 

— > The Journey you could take with this partner:
Parques de Sintra – Monte da Lua joined this year as a program partner and would like to solve several challenges such as management of visitor flows, visitor counting and tracking systems, outdoor and indoor geolocation, fauna and flora identification, among several others. The idea is to optimize the experience of every visit. 

2. Barraqueiro

Barraqueiro is a rerun partner for this edition of The Journey. Established as an international player and a leader in the Iberian transport sector, Grupo Barraqueiro is an experienced company founded in 1915. Constantly looking to evolve, it specializes in the design and implementation of innovative passenger and freight mobility solutions, in a sustainable way.

— > The Journey you could take with this partner:
From finding smarter, safer and easier ticketing systems, to tracking and optimizing routes to reduce points of friction and tourism pressure, there is a lot to work with Barraqueiro, as these are a few examples. The purpose is to truly innovate the way of work, enhancing the customer experience and smoothing the business.

3. Vila Galé 

Also partnering with The Journey for the first time, Vila Galé appears as one of the largest Portuguese hotel groups, managing 34 hotel units (25 in Portugal and nine in Brazil). Envisioning to be a benchmark company in the hospitality industry, the group also aspires to an economic growth that is sustainable, as well as socially and environmentally responsible. 

— > The Journey you could take with this partner:
As the creator of a disruptive solution, you could be helping Vila Galé to optimize energy and water consumption, predict maintenance for buildings or even bring out a brand new domotics system, among several other ways in which a hotel can be much more than that and add value to the whole touristic experience. 

More info:
Applications for The Journey 2019:

I wish you a pleasant and safe trip, 


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