Innopitch – the event for young entrepreneurs

Innopitch 2016

Innopitch - man draws the way to success on a wallAlready the 5th edition of the Innopitch was kept in year 2016. It was an essential part of the Unconvention, as well as the EU Drone Awards. Becoming an entrepreneur is a tough road which requires a lot of courage, sacrifices as well as self-discipline. The idea of the Innopitch is to make this road easier by giving opportunities and connections for the young entrepreneurs. Through this event the young entrepreneurs have a chance to meet Venture Capitalists, build connections, get valuable feedback or even move from their ideas to reality. Innopitch 2016 was a competition for The European Young Innovator 2016 and the top 12 finalists were put through intense mentoring workshops with great leaders. Top 6 finalists were presenting their ideas directly to Europe’s political leaders and business leaders live in the European Parliament. Only by taking part for the Innopitch award competition, young entrepreneurs and innovators across Europe are allowed for this level of access.

The winner of the Innopitch 2016 were EuroComply. They are a team of specialist lawyers who are working to create the best strategy for every client’s data protection programme. EuroComply stands for quality, pragmatism and clarity. They have been working since 2012 on GDPR research, training, and programmes across different industries. Their unique software allows them to work rapidly and efficiently meeting the needs of every customer and carrying out compliance programmes with great detail.

Jury Members of the Innopitch 2016:

  • Bart Becks, the founder of the platform,, to finance and stimulate creativity and entrepreneurs. Becks has experience of being the CEO of Belgacom Skynet, Senior Vice President of SBS Europe, chairman or iMinds, and he has been an advisor and board member in technology and media companies (for example Showpad, and others).
  • Carol Lee, partner in PwC’s Technology Telecom Deals practise. Works now in London focusing on inbound and outbound deal flow of the UK tech sectors.
  • Wouter Remaut, new CEO of the Co.Station, in head of daily management of the Co.Station of Brussels and Gent, and also expected expansion of Co.Station as the main platform for the growing “scale-ups” in Belgium.

Finalists of the Innopitch 2016:

  • Saffe: Mobile payment app with high-class facial recognition technology system. It enables people to receive payments at the point-of-sale only directly with the smartphone. 
    • Founders: André Coelho and Giovani Chiachia. André has many year’s experience in financial market whereas Giovani is experienced computer scientist with the knowledge from IT Management to top-notch computer vision research.
  • Innopitch - woman holding a shining bulbEuroComply: The winners of the competition, mentioned before. Founder is the CEO Emerald de Leeuw, who studied law in multiple Universities and is a lecturer at the Law Society of Ireland.
  • Anumetrics: Research computational science service company which focuses on highly scalable, high impact algorithms serving from small to medium sized businesses driven by data.
    • Team: lead by Konstantinos Krestenitis, a computational academic who is a Doctor of Philosophy in computational mechanics and high performance computing at Durham University.
  • MoleQL: Educational platform for learning chemistry which uses special paper-cards for scanning and amazing 3D animations. MoleQL is developed in cooperation with chemistry teachers.
    • Team: One founder: Roksolana Sliusar, operates mostly with Business Development but also as Finance service specialist.
  • Incluedon: Virtual employment platform which provides remote the jobs for Deaf and disabled people.
    • Founder: Magdalena Slowinska Janowitz, a social entrepreneur, Occupational Therapist, Psychologist and Service Designer.
  • Homepod: Single platform to help the procurement of architectural accessories. Provides better decisions, helps mitigate risks and reduces costs.
    • Founder: Andrei Toma, former telecommunications engineer on Tier1, found his first company in 2011 and was voted in top 100 UK’s most innovative companies.

Innopitch 2015 – EnergyElephant wins Public Award

Joe Borza and Eoin Ó Fearghail were delighted to come runner-up in the European Young Innovator 2015 held in Brussels and genuinely shocked to also have scooped the prestigious Public Award. After all, they were competing against some fairly amazing startups including exoskeleton robots which help recovering patients, solar panel cleaning drones, machine learning databases that open markets and online education platforms which teach coding.

An electric idea

Kilowatt hour electric meter, power supply meter - closeup viewIn comparison to the rather highflying ambitions of the other startups, the cofounders of EnergyElephant took up a very down-to-earth, yet universal issue that concerns every household using electricity: the transparency about energy usage and bills.

When on a trip to Vietnam and journeying along the Mekong river, Joe Borza noticed numerous boxes arranged on poles outside the houses. It turned out that they were electricity meters, which were of no actual informative value to the locals, because they still could not tell if their bills were entirely accurate or not. Being a civil engineer and energy consultant, Borza was already well aware of how little people actually understood about their energy consumption.

Back home, he teamed up with Eoin Ó Fearghail, a computer scientist, to tackle the problem. In his consultancy work, Borza would create spreadsheets giving a total overview of a client’s energy usage, deduce from them the inefficiencies and apply formulas for optimizing usage. Together they set out to find a way to extract energy consumption patterns from an energy bill and automate the calculations.

The result was EnergyElephant, which focuses on businesses and gives detailed feedback on energy usage to their clients at a cost of € 360 per month. At the first look, this seems very pricey, but the company’s early clients say that the savings clearly outweigh the price.

EnergyElephant also offers a free app for monitoring energy meters. Beside giving immediate insights into electricity and gas usage, it also recommends more suitable tariffs from the various providers.

Hand turning a thermostat knob

Worldwide potential

EnergyElephant’s service hits the nerve of the time, since, according to Financial Times, about €2.87 billion a year in electricity costs get wasted in the UK through market apathy. Hardly anyone is shopping around for a better price, once they have found a supplier. And to be fair, this process may be quite confusing, because the suppliers are never straightforward about the price. Therefore, EnergyElephant has taken it upon themselves to bring more transparency into this process. They know what the market prices are, so they can direct their customers to where they best need to go.