Japan Energy Challenge names British startups Brill Power, Powervault as 2018 winners

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After 6 months of screening and proposal preparation, the inaugural run of Japan Energy Challenge took place on 4-6 July in London. Highlighted by dozens of meetings between the executives of Japan’s largest and most innovative energy sector companies and Europe’s best startups, all participants left with a greater understanding of their respective markets and product offerings.

However, Japan Energy Challenge isn’t just for presenting innovative products and business models in the energy sector – it’s about bringing them to life.  While all of the participating startups were well-received, we highlighted two winners of our grand prize – a fully sponsored trip to Japan to meet the stakeholders in their project on their home turf.

Overall Winner

The first award was made on the basis of overall votes from the sponsors. Each sponsor selected 2 of the ten startups and could designate a first/second choice or tie amongst their selections. Points were awarded accordingly, with 2 points for a first choice selection, 1 point for a second choice selection, and 1.5 points awarded in the event of a tied selection. With a whopping 7.5 points, the overall vote winner was Brill Power.

Brill Power develops intelligent battery management technology to increase the lifetime and reliability of lithium-ion battery packs for grid-scale energy storage and electric vehicles. Brill Power’s combination of novel hardware and intelligent software solutions extend the cycle life of conventional lithium-ion batteries by up to 60% while offering higher reliability than any other battery system. The company is a spin-out of Oxford University, led by three PhDs in battery technology and electronics and one MBA from Saïd Business School. To date, Brill Power has gained financial support from Climate KICShell Technology Ventures, Oxford Sciences Innovation and Innovate UK.

Pictured (left to right): Yohei Kiguchi, CEO Enechange & Founder, Japan Energy Challenge; Adrien Bizeray, Co-founder Brill Power; Christoph Birkl, Co-founder & CEO, Brill Power; Paul Monroe, Program Coordinator, Japan Energy Challenge

Summit Energy Winner

As our leading sponsor, we wanted to give a special award specifically for Summit Energy’s first choice for future collaboration.

Powervault is a UK-based home energy storage manufacturer. Powervault develop an intelligent, affordable electricity storage system for the home, which reduces customers’ electricity bills by enabling them to store and use free solar energy or cheap, off-peak electricity. Powervault have an all-in-one system, with modular build, multiple smart features, and an open API. Powervault can interface with and control smart appliances in the home, and delivers a market-leading return on investment using our aggregation and control platform to support the electricity grid. The Powervault team are experts in innovation, having delivered multiple industry firsts, and their aim is to make home energy storage as commonplace as the dishwasher.

Pictured: Joe Warren, Managing Director, Powervault

Commentary from the attendees

“It was nice to be able to present at the beginning of the event and then meet one-on-one with people to sit down, explain your product and context in more detail. You can really do a lot in a short space of time. Even though it’s just a few days, you can make a lot of connections and get things done.”

“The event was great and very productive. In two days we got to meet a lot of the movers and shakers of the Japanese energy space. Hopefully some great projects will come out of it!”

“It took us well over two years to build a relationship with [major Japanese investment group] before we finally signed a binding agreement. Here in two days you get to meet the leaders of these Japanese corporations and move forward swiftly and decisively.”

“Japan Energy Challenge was the first attempt to pair six Japanese energy companies aiming cultivate the European energy tech ventures with ten companies with a proven track record in Europe and a sufficient possibility of business development in Japan. Through these events and other preparations in London, we not only got to learn advanced case studies from these 10 companies but also prepared for an ongoing business relationship in Japan. Looking forward, we will follow the various negotiations surrounding business partnerships and investment with these companies, and I think announcements will come from each company through the end of the year. The European companies gave very high praise – that there was no other opportunity to enter Japan, which holds the world’s largest liberalized electricity and gas market, in a manner that involves such a degree of collaboration with major players, which was very meaningful. Through this event and our future work, I would like to continue to promote energy reform through international energy tech joint ventures.” – Yohei Kiguchi, CEO Enechange & SMAP Energy and founder of Japan Energy Challenge

A bright future lies ahead… more news coming soon!

This isn’t the end of the journey for the participants in Japan Energy Challenge 2018 – the projects are just getting started! Brill Power and Powervault will be visiting Japan in the coming months to kickoff their projects, and the other 8 attendees have laid the groundwork for their own engagements. We will be watching (and, in some cases, assisting) closely to ensure the projects are a success.

It’s safe to say that Japan Energy Challenge 2018 is in the books as a success…

so recruiting for Japan Energy Challenge 2019 starts now!

If you want to know more about this year’s event or are interested in participating for Japan Energy Challenge 2019, please write to us at info@japanenergychallenge.com.

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