Free Electrons

EDP selects three Free Electrons startups to explore new business solutions

Thursday 15, October 2020

English startup Vyntelligence was the big winner of the worldwide startup acceleration program that ended today. This year's edition broke the record for the highest number of applications.

Another edition of Free Electrons - the global startup acceleration program connecting the most promising startups with ten of the largest electric companies worldwide - has come to an end. The winner of the fourth edition was announced this Thursday during a remote prize ceremony. Vyntelligence was the startup chosen by energy giants to receive the big prize - worth $200,000 -, thanks to a smart video and AI solution that simplifies and improves the data collection process, thus boosting both operational efficiency and customer experience quality. 

Besides Vyntelligence, two other startups - NET2GRID and Chargetrip - captured the interest of EDP; the company is already developing pilot projects with these three young companies, through EDP Comercial, and is currently assessing pilot projects with three other startups.

The partnership with Vyntelligence will allow EDP to test this English startup's smart video tool, which uses AI to streamline the delivery of operational reports on the ground. Correctly cataloguing and identifying videos captured by field technicians will also allow EDP to optimize field processes and deliver a more competitive service.

NET2GRID creates products for residential customers, which are then sold in partnership with energy suppliers. The NET2GRID platform reduces the cost of servicing these suppliers and boosts customer engagement. EDP will test this solution and assess its benefits in terms of customer engagement by using data from smart meters.

Chargetrip offers smart navigation and route planning solutions for electric vehicles through an API-based SaaS platform. The company wants to show that it is possible to increase battery life and help new electric car users through the transition process. EDP will test Chargetrip's EV Web Route Planner, which will allow users of electric vehicles in Portugal and Spain to experience its benefits during their trips. Benefits for EV drivers include better travel planning, less anxiety regarding the vehicle's autonomy, and choosing the best charging points.

“The decision to adopt a 100% digital format was made before the lockdown period in Europe, because some Free Electrons partners are based in Asia and Australia, which were already in a state of emergency due to the pandemic. Cancelling or postponing it was never an option, as the spirit of the Program is to 'make it happen' and get results. As a matter of fact, it was a different edition - but with outstanding results, as the numbers show - with the candidates physically distant from each other but interacting digitally, thus recreating the Free Electrons atmosphere that prevailed over these seven months of work. We can all congratulate ourselves - utilities, startups and Beta-i - for everything we managed to achieve and for all the projects already underway. It was an incredible edition!” - says Carla Pimenta, Head of Startup Engagement at EDP Innovation.


2020: A new applications record
As the founder of Free Electrons, EDP has already developed 18 pilot projects and invested about €20 million in six startups over three years; about half of this amount was invested in the purchase of products or services. Launched in January, this year's edition set a new applications record, with more than 850 startups from 86 different countries. Following the initial bootcamp, which was attended by 35 startups, the jury selected 15 projects to join the Free Electrons program and take part, over five months, in three global modules - which, due to the pandemic, were held in an entirely digital format.

Throughout the program's four years, Free Electrons embraced over 130 startups, which presented their solutions in more than 1,400 meetings with utilities, giving rise to about 100 pilot projects and an overall investment of more than $50 million.

The founding members of Free Electrons are: Ausnet Services (Australia), DEWA (Dubai), EDP (Portugal), ESB (Ireland), Innogy (Germany), Origin Energy (Australia), SP Group (Singapore), and Tokyo Electric Power Company (Japan). American Electric Power (USA) and CLP (Hong Kong) joined the program in 2018. Portuguese company Beta-i is a Free Electron partner.


Finalist Startups

Allume Energy (Australia) -

AMPLY Power (USA) -

Chargetrip (Netherland) -

Disruptive Technologies (Norway) -

EnergyX (Canada) -

FlexiDAO (Spain) -

fos4X (Germany) -

Future Grid (Australia) -

GridIO (Estonia) -

NET2GRID (Netherland) -

Ripple Energy (UK) -

Soraytec (Norway) -

Tesselo (Portugal) -

Vutiliti (USA) -

Vyntelligence (UK) - 

One of the finalists is Tesselo, a Portugal-based startup that uses smart satellite images to tackle environmental challenges. The company was established in 2017 and operates from Lisbon, where it has its technical team - which includes environmental engineers, agronomists, and industry experts. By combining satellite images and Artificial Intelligence, Tesselo provides real-time information on areas such as agriculture, forest and infrastructure to help companies prevent fires or damage to electricity grids, as well as to assist them in urban planning activities.

Interested in participating? Find out all about the program's 2021 edition and register at