Hello Luis, can you tell our readers a bit about what “drives” EIT InnoEnergy?

The way you phrased your question perfectly fits the topic of mobility! 🙂

With the climate crisis changing the face of the earth at an ever accelerating pace there is this immediate urgency to drive forward the green transformation of our economy and society overall. With that, huge business opportunities go along as the necessary decarbonisation across industries opens the doors for new technologies and innovations. At EIT InnoEnergy, we help early and growth stage start-ups but also SMEs and corporates turn innovative ideas in the field of sustainable energy – which prominently includes mobility and transport – into commercially successful and scalable solutions – through investments, by leveraging our huge partner network, technology co-development, sales support and many other services. 

Can you give us some facts and figures?

In the 10 years since our inception, EIT InnoEnergy has supported over 380 start-ups as of which over 330 are selling. Our overall investments exceed 550 million EUR and span across a wide field of areas – from all types of renewables and energy storage to mobility and transport. 

In that time, we have built a massive international ecosystem of partners from diverse industries, the political space, the investment side, universities and research and of course, innovators and entrepreneurs. That ecosystem  represents one of our core strengths in enabling commercial success for our portfolio companies. We are particularly proud that, as of last year, we have the first unicorn in our portfolio with NorthVolt, a swedish battery cell manufacturer that was founded by two former Tesla managers. And there are many more highly promising startups with unicorn potential in our pipeline.

Why have you partnered with the European Startup Prize for Mobility (EUSP)?

First of all, EUSP and EIT InnoEnergy share the same goal and mindset in supporting European start-ups and founders in the mobility sector to create sustainable  impact. In the context of mobility and transport, we define impact along three different dimensions that we call the “3 Ps”: Planet, People and Profitability. All the investments we do have to create impact in all of those areas. More info can be found in our investment roadmap for that thematic field on our website.

With those common goals in mind, there are significant synergies between our organisations that we can leverage. For instance we collaborate closely with the same decision-makers on a European level. One example: Your recent mobility startup manifesto – condensing the input of more than 400 mobility start-ups into 22 actionable strategies and recommendations for smarter and greener mobility – was handed over to the Vice-President of the EU Commission Maroš Šefčovič. We at EIT InnoEnergy coordinate the industrial workstream of the the European Battery Alliance that was launched by Mr. Šefčovič in 2017.

Since EIT InnoEnergy joined the EUSP as partner of the Day after programme can you tell us the concrete reasons for that?

The economic turmoil caused by Covid-19 is particularly challenging for founders and start-ups. Extended sales and investment cycles, everything has slowed down or in many cases been called off. At EIT InnoEnergy we have worked very closely with our portfolio start-ups and invested several million EUR to help them cushion the hardest blows. Nonetheless, we also keep our eyes open and look for new start-ups in promising fields of sustainable innovation, such as mobility overall and micromobility in particular. Our joint pitching event as part of the EUSP Day After programme promises to be an efficient way to do so.

You have selected 5 startups from the EUSP community for the  EIT InnoEnergy/ EUSP  pitching day; Donkey Republic, Dott, Knot, Pony and Zoov. Can you explain this choice? 

The ongoing trend towards urbanisation will lead to two-thirds of the world’s population living in cities by 2030 who will be responsible for 70% of global emissions. Low to zero-emission micromobility solutions are therefore key for coping with that monumental challenge. More sharing-based micromobility services mean less cars, lower emissions, less congestion and noise and more space. Or in other words: a better quality of life.

At the same time, we’re currently seeing tremendous traction for start-ups especially in the field of last-mile logistics.  Online shopping for groceries and household goods has seen skyrocketing demand with growth rates of +50% since the COVID-19 imposed lockdown. And even if those growth rates may not sustain long-term, they will remain at a level we wouldn’t have thought possible 9 months ago. That is a huge business potential just lying in front of us.

Therefore, when looking at the three dimensions of  impact – planet, people and profitability – focusing on micromobility startups is a perfect fit.

And why have you chosen exactly these specific start-ups?

At EIT InnoEnergy we’re pursuing a cluster and partnering strategy. We’re already cooperating with several start-ups in the space of micromobility, e.g. Ono, Gleam, GetHenry, Kumpan Electric and Ducktrain. Additionally, we are working closely with large corporations who may be ideal  partners in terms of supply chain or for joint production projects as well as potential customers.

The five start-ups chosen for the pitching day have the potential to enrich our existing portfolio in that field. There are so many potential win-win-win-…situations for all of us.

Therefore we’re really looking forward to meeting the founders of these five promising companies at the pitching day. 

Thanks for the interview!