Insiderblog.hu did an exclisive interview with Emanuele Volpe, Chief Innovation Officer at DTEK, the largest private investor in Ukraine’s energy sector. They’re looking for startup-phase enterprises in our region now!
– What startups is DTEK looking for precisely? And what challenges/problems would you like to solve with them?
– DTEK is the largest private investor in Ukraine’s energy sector. DTEK extracts natural gas, generates electricity at solar, wind and thermal power plants, distributes and supplies kWh to end consumers as well as provides energy efficient solutions and develops a network of electric vehicle charging stations across Ukraine. DTEK employs 70 thousand people nationwide.
Rapid development of new technologies, alternative energy markets, energy efficiency and energy-saving technologies as well as decarbonization has driven the world towards a global transformation. DTEK has met the global market challenges with an Innovation DTEK stream and embedded it as its core driving force.
In 2020, Innovation DTEK’s priority is searching for new breakthrough solutions and extends the scope of priorities within 3 Innovation Horizons:
– Horizon 1: Generating and distributing kWh – Increase efficiency, safety and environmental friendliness of our business
– Horizon 2: Services and extra monetization around kWh – New ways to monetize energy assets. Waste to electricity, retail solutions, battery storage, hydrogen
– Horizon 3: Non-kWh. Future of work. New business models outside the energy industry. Gen Z readiness, data, platforms, consumer offerings
– What type of companies are you interested?
– Being adepts of the open innovation approach, we publish our innovation challenges on the platform, and welcome potential collaborators (startups) from around the world to provide solutions. If DTEK is interested in pursuing an idea or technology, the company will work with the author to refine the concept further and leverage DTEK’s wide expertise to quickly deploy a pilot in a real-life business setting.
DTEK will regularly upload new innovation challenges from across the DTEK group of companies. A number have already been published, including utilizing heat emissions from gas production, negating the environmental impacts of coal weathering during storage, building an energy management system for enterprises, and designing wind farms for urban conditions.
Potential collaborators (startups) can submit an idea in response to one of these challenges or pitch an entirely new idea via the “I have a project” section. They will have the ability to track the status of each proposal and will receive feedback from a DTEK innovation manager.
– In what maturity status should those companies/teams be that DTEK is looking for? Do you need references of the company, or you are seeking absolutely beginners?
DTEK is looking for solutions (startups) with Technology Readiness Level at least above 5. So, we will not move forward with ideas as startups should have a project ready for piloting in a real business environment.
– How many companies/startups would you like to work with?
We are interested in collaboration with teams all over the world. DTEK is a big company, we are always developing and improving. So, the more partners we have, the more solutions we receive – the more business challenges we may cover.
– Will there be own DTEK competition, hackaton, etc. or are you looking for companies only as a partner of InnoEnergy?
When we started our journey 2 years ago, we launched an energy accelerator with local partner. As a result, we had 9 finalists and with 3 of them we signed a commercial agreement. Now we have a dedicated startup scouting team which is looking for solutions through the wide partners network (Venture Funds, universities, accelerators) as well as through the platforms such a Dealroom.
– What financial benefits do you offer and what do you expect in turn? (e.g. share in ownership, patent rights?)
– DTEK is a company that should provide a revenue at the end. That’s why we are ready to implement innovative solutions that bring financial benefits to us. We do not buy startups neither ask for equity but pay for solutions and propose to behave as industrial partner to provide expertise for piloting in a real business condition.