EVC 2014 – Two days full of energy
European Venture Contest Energy 2014 culminated in no less than a melting pot of innovation when a selection of Europe’s most innovative companies presented how they can contribute to making the world greener. Solutions such as the future’s version of electrical-driven public transport, smart street light control, ultralight material for production of electric cars, and much more were presented to the critical jurors. On the basis of extensive experience within the field, the jurors chose ten finalists who are now going to the final in Düsseldorf in December 2014.
As Ulla Sparre, CEO of Vitus Bering Innovation Park, predicted in her opening speech, October 8th and 9th truly became two days full of energy. The park hummed with activity when the 30 companies and 22 investors met for the purpose of networking, exchanging ideas and establishing possible co-operations. The companies fought for the possibility of getting the good idea financed, and at the end the investors picked out the ten best ideas. The finalists now stand before an European adventure.
Practice makes perfect
This year, the European Venture Contest Energy was extended with an extra day, the so-called Academy Day, which was dedicated to entrepreneurs from far and near. The purpose of this day was to improve the companies’ pitching abilities. Therefore, interested companies as well as those companies that participated in the competition the following day had the opportunity to receive good advice from an expert panel. Camilla Rygaard-Hjalsted, former head of Innovation Center Denmark, was among the experts who assessed the companies’ pitches:
There is no doubt that the companies who participated in Academy Day were absolute better at the actual competition. They had gained more confidence and had become acute on what the investors were looking for. To a high degree, I experience that companies focus on technique rather than business. Here, I advice them to reorder their priorities. The most important elements in the eyes of investors are the business plan of the company, the market potential, and the ability to defend their technology on the market – therefore, these are the most important messages the companies should include in their presentations.
Just as for the actual competition, the companies had to do an elevator pitch of 45 seconds followed by an eight minutes pitch later on the day. For many of the companies, it was a challenge to make an impact on such a short period of time. Therefore, the good advice was appreciated.
It was great getting feedback from persons who actually make a living of doing investments. Personally, I learned that the most important message I need to come across with in my presentation, is that we deliver a process and not a product. This information needs to be presented from the beginning so there is no doubt about what we deliver. It is vital that the investors know what I have to offer, tells Claus Holm, head of R&D in Danish Wood Technology A/S.
Danish Wood Technology A/S was just one of the many companies that spend the late night hours on fine-tuning the presentation for the following day. On Academy Day, you could make the mistakes, ask the questions and become better.
Interesting insight into the energy market
On October 8th, the day came where the entrepreneurs had to convince the investors that their idea was the best. Excitement was great when European Venture Contest Energy 2014 was set off with the words ‘this is serious business’. Thereby, Søren Munk, Investment Manager in Insero, charted the course of the day when he outlined the seriousness of the competition – Insero is also looking for investments he said, and the message was thereby clear: Here, there is an actual possibility of getting the good idea financed.
Also, the investors new exactly what they were looking for:
I evaluate the companies based on team and market potential. As an investor, I would rather invest in a company with a so-so idea but who, on the other side, has a great team with experience and drive. We buy the team behind the business plan, not the actual business business plan, states Jakob Fuhr Hansen, partner in ‘Vækstfonden‘ a Danish investment fund.
Besides nominating the best ideas for the final, the event also gave Jakob the opportunity to see what is new on the energy market:
For me, this day is also about building deal-flow. I look for new startups with potential, and whose development I can. Because, who knows, maybe there are someone worth investing in on behalf of the fund.
It was a jury of experts within the area of energy that, on the basis of criteria such as; business potential, experience within the team and competitive position, decided which ten companies had done their best during the day. The ten winning business ideas is now going to the grand final in the grand final which is held in December in Düsseldorf where more than 120 investors will participate.
Danish entrepreneurs among the finalists
There were plenty of potential among the 30 entrepreneurs, who counted everything from small startups to companies with many years of experience. Therefore, the ten winning companies can be proud of their performances. Three of the ten winning companies were Danish, one of which is Insero’s own venture investments. ECOmove is located in Vitus Bering Innovation Park in Horsens Denmark. The additional Danish companies were Aguasol and Biogasol.
Valuable learning for the companies
The competition, which has the goal of advancing innovation and entrepreneurship within the area of energy, was arranged by Insero and Vitus Bering Innovation Park in co-operation with the European network organisation Europe Unlimited as well as Aarhus and Horsens municipalities, Invest In Denmark and Danish Industry. Dorte Wiene, Business Developer in Europe Unlimited, was satisfied with the two days:
As organizer, we are utterly satisfied with the event. There has been a constant humming and the companies have seized the opportunity and understood that they have to do the footwork. With this event, we create the frames where ‘the magic’ can arise, which is really the essence of European Venture Contest – to create opportunities for talented entrepreneurs. This year, the level has been especially high which, among other things, is due to Academy Day.
The ten winners were:
- Flatout Technologies
- Nordic Power Converters
- Picodeon Ltd
- Skeleton Technologies
- GreenWay Operator
Read more about European Venture Contest
Source: Insero Business Services