ENECHANGE Insight Ventures 2021 programme

Applications now closed - next edition set to launch in September

What is ENECHANGE Insight Ventures?

ENECHANGE Insight Ventures (EIV) invites a group of promising energy sector and sustainability ventures to present their solutions to our network of subscribers from the Japanese energy industry. The goal is to build relationships that result in collaborations, sales, investment, and other forms of support to help grow the invited companies in Japan.

This programme is unique in that all selected ventures will have at least one Subscriber interested in meeting them specifically. The EIV team works with the selected ventures in the months leading up to the event to fully understand their business and products, making the actual meetings very meaningful to exploring future relationships.

Since 2020, the programme has adopted a remote-first approach. All preparation and webinars will be conducted remotely, with periodic in-person summits happening as travel allows.

How does it work?

The programme is divided into three stages: Scouting, Shortlist & Webinar, and Event Preparation.

Scouting

During the application period, ventures can indicate their interest in participating via the application form. The EIV team and our network of channel partners will also be scouting and reaching out to companies of interest directly, who will be invited to apply via the fast-track.

Shortlist & Webinar

At the end of the application period, the EIV team will review all applications and create a shortlist of Selected Entrants. These companies will be notified and they will sign a programme participation agreement, which encompasses the terms & conditions of the programme and allows for sharing of confidential information with the Subscribers and EIV team.

After confirming, the EIV team will invite each Selected Entrant to present their products and relevant case studies at our monthly webinar for our Subscribers. Before the webinar, the EIV team will conduct a virtual interview with each Selected Entrant to review the materials provided in the application and prepare a deep-dive analysis report, which will also be presented during the webinar. Based on the webinar, our Subscribers will share feedback on interest and vote for the Selected Entrants they are most interested in to receive a formal invitation.

Event Preparation

After Selected Entrants present at the webinars, the EIV team will make formal invitations to the Selected Entrants to our summit and confirm travel and attendance arrangements.

Going into the event, each of the Subscribers will have reviewed the materials thoroughly and will be prepared to discuss proposal specifics and work toward agreeing on terms. At the summit, the EIV team will arrange individual meetings with the Subscribers most interested in working with you.

While every Selected Entrant will have the opportunity to win a commercial engagement, the EIV team will name at least two “honourees” based the on highest levels of Subscriber interest. Where there is sufficient interest from the Subscribers in a venture, the Selected Entrants will be offered: 1) access to supporting services to facilitate the development of pilot projects; 2) ongoing support to promote the product offerings; 3) media coverage for international audiences.

Who can apply?

  • Incorporated energy or sustainability sector company or a company with a product relevant to the sectors (please note that our team’s scouting and outreach will primarily focus on those based in EU and NA regions)
  • Generally commercialised and set to expand, typically evidenced by holding annual revenues in excess of $1M (can vary based on specifics of product)
  • No absolute funding size requirement, but cohort average is typically Series B ($5M USD or greater) or later
  • No absolute company size requirement, but cohort average is typically 25+ employed full-time team members
  • Must be available to attend EIV summit (Details TBC)

Outcomes for participants

We want to do everything we can to help all participants succeed in the Japanese energy sector and aim to have all participants producing a viable plan for pilot projects, sales agreements, coordinated development, or other forms of collaboration.

We are very fortunate to have a number of successful outcomes from participation in our innovation programmes past and present. Please click on the photos to learn more, or click here to get to know our first cohort of 2021.

Who we are

The team, participants and subscribers behind ENECHANGE Insight Ventures are a consortium of forward-thinking Japanese and European partners in the energy sector. We count suppliers and generators providing energy to millions of customers, Japan’s leading energy switching website, academics from leading universities, industry experts and some of the world’s largest multinational engineering & technology companies.

We started in 2018 as the Japan Energy Challenge (JEC), a yearly competition which, after three successful editions, morphed into our revamped ENECHANGE Insight Ventures programme. Over 50 startups have been mentored under these umbrellas thus far, with more joining each year.

All of us are invested in finding the best ideas from outside Japan to implement and leverage to lead in the energy transition. Read more about the management team here

Subscribers

ENECHANGE LTD. is Japan’s most popular energy switching website, having 3 million monthly unique visitors and working with over 100 energy suppliers. ENECHANGE is also recognised as one of the most innovative energy ventures in Japan, providing vertically integrated tech solutions – such as data-driven CRM solutions, smart-meter data management (SMAP), AI-driven load curve simulation etc. – for energy suppliers.

ENEOS (former JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy) is the largest oil company and 4th largest new electric power supplier in Japan. They have crude refining capacity of around 1.8 million barrels per day – which is comparable to BP – and a nationwide supply chain enabling stable supply of products and services associated with energy. They have also been supplying low-carbon energy, such as solar, wind, biofuel, and hydrogen.

KDDI is a telecommunications company based in central Tokyo. Its subsidiaries include the popular telecommunications brand au. Their focus is on delivering a strong 5G network to Japan, which was rolled out in March 2020 under their au brand. Their aim for 2030 is ‘Society 5.0’, focusing on seven technology segments: network, security, IoT, platform (servers),  AI, XR (AR, MR, VR), and robotics.

LOOOP operates a low-voltage power retail business, Looop Denki. Since starting in April 2016, the business has gained over 100,000 users by the end of March 2018. After reaching this critical turning point, LOOOP aims to reach 200,000 users by the end of the next fiscal year, and is opening a broad array of new services to attract smart energy consumers.

Mitaden provides electrical equipment, HVAC, water supply, drainage and sanitation equipment, solar power and wind power. Regarding solar power generation systems, the company sells and installs everything from residential to corporate mega solar systems. They also provide after-sales service for all types of equipment related to their different domestic facilities, and are considered a strongly reputable company throughout Japan.

Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance is a member company of the MS&AD Insurance Group. Responsible for non-life insurance business, which is a core business of the MS&AD Insurance Group, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance is exercising its comprehensive capabilities to offer insurance and financial services business globally.

Nihon Unisys, Ltd. provides IT solutions for their clients in sectors ranging from financial services, manufacturing and distribution to energy and government. In recent years, the Group has been working on projects that lead to innovation in the areas of environment, health and customer touch points, based on their R&D in data analytics and management, coupling real and digital worlds and AI.

Panasonic Corporation is one of the largest electronics producers, with nearly 80 USD billion in revenue and 271,000 employees. For its 10-year vision, it plans to invest significant resources in developing Focused Technologies such as AI/IoT/Big Data, Sensing Technology, Robotics, and Digitalization Network. Supportive Technologies such as Key Device/Manufacturing, and Energy in “Home”, “Mobility”, “Business” will also be a target.

Tohoku Electric Power Company provides electricity to the Aomori, Iwate, Akita, Miyagi, Yamagata, Fukushima and Niigata prefectures, manages over 587,600 km of distribution network and generates over 16.8 GW of electricity. The company is planning on significantly expanding overseas, with a clear target of doubling overseas generation capacity by 2030.

HOKURIKU ELECTRIC is a vertically integrated electricity supplier serving about 2.1 million customers. Their generation mix is characterized by a higher ratio of hydroelectric power – which is less carbon intensive than other forms of generation – thanks to plentiful water resources in their area. Their Transmission/Distribution Division will be reformed as a separate entity in 2020 and plans to install smart meters to all household by 2024.

Osaka Gas is a utility company that primarily provides gas and electricity service to consumers and businesses in the Kansai area. The group is consolidated under the Daigas Group brand. One of their long-term focuses is stronger investment abroad by 2030, with current ownership stakes in projects including natural gas, LNG, thermal, wind, and solar across the US, Asia, Australia, and Europe.

Rakuten Energy is a subsidiary of Rakuten Mobile, Inc., and provides a low-cost, simpler energy service to households and businesses under the Rakuten Denki, Rakuten Gas, and Rakuten Denki Business brands. Another business stream is their Rakuten Energy Trading System, one of the first platforms for trading renewable energy and energy conservation using blockchain technology in Japan.

Toho Gas is the third largest city gas supplier in Japan with 2.5 million customers. They also have a growing electricity supply business with 300,000 customers in their area. Furthermore, Toho Gas provides services related to connected homes, business energy support, and energy resource aggregation & balancing. Toho Gas are also working on their 4th hydrogen station for the widespread use of fuel cell vehicles.

JGC Japan Corporation is a leading engineering company in Japan that operates in a variety of fields, including energy, chemicals, life sciences, and healthcare. They have their own fund, JGC MIRAI Innovation Fund, which has four main investment targets: realising carbon neutrality, building sustainable and resilient infrastructure, enhancing quality of life in the face of an ageing society, and making industries smart.

FAQ

What criteria will you use to select participants?
In order of importance, we will assess:

1. Partner interest in buying, selling, or implementing your solution
2. Traction achieved to date, measured from investment size, sales volume, and number of employees
3. The quality of your technology demonstration

Do we have to move to Japan?
Not unless you want to! Attendance at our Tokyo event is mandatory, and other meetings will be held virtually. If you successfully win a project, our team can help with the logistics of deploying it in Japan to minimise disruption to your team.

Does it cost anything to participate?
EIV is entirely free for the invited participants. Unlike other programmes, we won’t ask for equity or commission as the event costs are supported by our sponsors. Our primary interest is always in making sure that deals happen.

The main investment is the time required to participate and any travel expenses needed to attend the event, but we seek to minimise this by leveraging the support of the EIV team.

What if we are already working in Japan?
Having started to work in Japan does not disqualify you from applying. In many cases, this can actually be a benefit because it provides a clear answer for your growth plan and goals. Participating in EIV would be a very effective path to getting your offer in front of decisionmakers at new clients – or give a boost to the speed of your existing pipeline – and help you rapidly expand your growth.

How do the deadlines work?
The main deadline for applications is has been extended to 30 April, and any company that submits their application before this date is guaranteed full consideration. Companies who are eligible to apply via fast-track can do so before 30 April and will receive priority consideration.

After this date, our team will be making and confirming invitations for 15-20 companies. This process takes some time, and involves our team liaising between the sponsors and interviewing the applicants to confirm a fit in the programme.

To accommodate any latecomers or new developments that may affect consideration, we leave the application open after our deadline to consider applications received after 30 April on a rolling basis.

We have just put together a team and have a great idea that would be applicable to Japan – can we apply?
EIV is focused on well-established companies who are ready to scale internationally. Unfortunately we cannot consider companies that are not incorporated and do not have strong evidence of commercial traction.

We have been acquired – can we apply?
Generally acquisition does not mean that you cannot apply to EIV. In many cases, acquisition can be an asset – especially if it is by a major energy company – as it demonstrates the strategic value of your solution.

However, it will be important throughout the programme to demonstrate that you are still able to be flexible. While compliance is essential, too many corporate requirements set by the parent company can be perceived as burdensome hurdles to overcome.

How likely are we to be selected and/or win a project?
We generally can’t comment on the likelihood of a successful application, though we do our best to be honest with you regarding your likelihood of success as the program proceeds. We understand how valuable your time is and we do everything we can to respect it – that’s why each stage of the programme is meant to ensure that progression is driven by the interest of the sponsors in working further with you.

What is the Fast Track?
Applications submitted by companies affiliated with our partners or scouted by our team will be given priority consideration through our Fast-Track programme. Check if your application is eligible for our Fast Track programme here.

What is the impact of COVID-19 on the programme?
EIV has made remote scouting and preparation a core component of the programme since its beginning, so for the immediate term we see very little impact on participation. We will continue to scout and communicate via remote means. In the event that the situation has not stabilised by the time of the event in Tokyo, we plan to make accommodations to hold the event virtually. In the past, we held our summit online and managed to run it successfully.

Any questions?

Get in touch with us at

info-eiventures@enechange.com