Initiate! Startup Programme

Download the 2017 Initiate! brochure here

The 2017 programme offered 50 FREE spots for startups to exhibit during European Utility Week 2017 in Amsterdam!

We look for startups that will positively impact the acceleration of the smart energy transition.

Startups are highlighted on the event website with physical presence on the show floor (free of charge), where there are plenty opportunities to connect and brainstorm with the incumbents in the industry, meet with VCs and those responsible for the venture arms within the utilities and meet those professionals who can help catapult them from startup to scale up!

Startups also have access to the following promotional aids to help them gain maximum exposure: 

  • Webinars and advice on various relevant business aspects
  • Onsite networking sessions with (utility) investors
  • Complimentary desk on the Initiate! Hub to promote the startup
  • Listing on the European Utility Week website
  • Enrolment in the Initiate! - Startup Award nomination procedure
    - Top 5 startups selected have the chance to pitch their business in front of a jury
    - Winner receives coverage in the form of an interview and promotion through (social) media and via the EUW channels
  • Complimentary access for the team and clients to access the exhibition including the Hub Sessions
  • Discounted access to the Summit
  • Exposure in the EUW app – winner and nominees 
  • Exposure in the EUW onsite newsletter – winner and nominees will gain exposure through the daily event newsletter 
  • Exposure on the EUW website – winner and nominees announced on the EUW website
  • PR: nominees and winner to be included in a press release promoted to our international media database
  • Speaking opportunity in European Utility Week 2018 Programme 

Which startups can participate?

  • Companies less than 5 years old
  • Have a team of at least 2 people
  • Focus is Innovation in the areas of smart homes, meters & grids, collective and decentralized energy generation & distribution, smart generation, energy reduction and energy usage awareness 
  • Have developed at least an MVP (minimal viable product)
  • Have not exhibited at any previous editions of European Utility Week 

2017 Exhibiting Startups

Get in touch with us if you have any questions!

The Startup Award honours those who play a crucial role in the creation of a sustainable utility industry!

From the 50 startups confirmed to take part in this year’s Initiate! Startup programme, the top 5 startups selected to participate in the Initiate! startup awards pitched to the jury and 1 of them was selected as winner!

Congratulations, Electron!

Joanna Hubbard, Co-Founder and COO of Electron, represented the blockchain startup during the pitch to the judges and was the one receiving the award.

She told us she was 'incredibly excited and grateful to have won this award' - so are we, Joanna!



These were the 5 finalists:




Anja Vijselaar, Managing Director, Petersburg Consultants 

Effective 21 August 2017 Anja Vijselaar will become the new managing director of Petersburg Consultants. Petersburg holds a strong position as a knowledge party in the high-voltage market. Until 1 February 2017, Anja Vijselaar was director of Joulz Energy Solutions in Rotterdam, having first joined Joulz in 2010 as regional director for one of the business units. During Vijselaar’s seven years with Joulz, the workforce grew from 350 to 600 and the company doubled its turnover and improved its customer focus, safety, quality, efficiency and productivity. People at Joulz describe Vijselaar as a focused, passionate and engaged director who created a sense of connection, both within the organisation and with external relations. Before 2010 Vijselaar worked for Dura Vermeer, as director of Underground Infrastructure and CentralNed. She holds a degree in Civil Engineering. In collaboration with Dutch Power, an independent network facilitating the Dutch energy transition.

Craig Douglas, Investment Manager, SET Ventures
Moderator of the Judging Panel

Craig Douglas is an Investment Manager at SET Ventures, he joined the company in 2012. Craig is responsible for deal sourcing, executing investments, primary due diligence and portfolio management including ESG. Craig’s specialist areas of expertise are in: new business models; smart grid; distribution and storage; IoT; energy efficiency; and intelligent distributed generation. He is also responsible for internal in-depth industry reviews, deep dives, and chairing the Deal Flow Review Committee, DFRC. He serves as an observer on the Board of 4energy and Sonnen.

Frauke Thies, Executive Director, SEDC

In September 2015, Frauke joined the Smart Energy Demand Coalition SEDC as Executive Director. The SEDC is an industry group dedicated to making the demand side a smart and interactive part of the energy value chain. Frauke has been actively involved in European energy policy in Brussels since 2005. She worked as EU Energy Policy Director for Greenpeace and as Chief Policy Officer for SolarPower Europe, formerly known as the European Photovoltaic Industry Association. She also spent several months working on secondments in Washington, D.C. and in New Delhi, India. Frauke holds a Master degree in Environmental Sciences and is currently concluding an Executive MBA programme at Vlerick Business School.


Gili Elkin, General Partners, Israel-Colorado Innovation Fund & Managing Director - Strategic Growth, SynTech Bioenergy

With a strong mission to strengthen the business ties between Israel and Colorado, and as an avid entrepreneur in pursuit of her passion to create an economic impact both in Israel and Colorado, Gili is involved in several initiatives that promote business between two states. 

Gili is the General Partner of Israel – Colorado Innovation Fund that invests in Israeli companies in Energy, Water and Transportation sectors and connects them to the US market through Colorado. The ICI Fund is a partnership with Innopshere, an 18-year-old leading accelerator in Colorado and the technology incubator of NREL. 

Gili is also the Managing Director - Strategic Growth of SynTech Bioenergy, a sustainable clean energy company located in Denver and penetrating the Israeli market. Gili is an Israeli lawyer, worked at Naschitz Brandes & Co, a leading corporate law firm, worked at Ernst & Young as a Tax Consultant for global Venture Capital firms investing in Israeli startups, was the founder and CEO of and has served in the Israeli Defense Forces in a highly-classified unit. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the B’nai B’rith Denver. Gili earned her LL.B and BA in Law and Business from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and her MBA from Stanford University and she is a proud Alumna of Initiate! Young Talent Programme. 

Jes Nordentoft, Business Accelerator, Investor and Board Member, Accelerace Management

Before joining award-winning accelerator - Accelerace Management, Jes worked as a corporate entrepreneur and at Nestlé. Jes works in the industry domain, focusing on maturing cleantech and food technology startups and building corporate startup engagement programs with corporate companies within these verticals.

Jes also serves as a board member in startups.

Signe Horn Rosted, Director of Electricity Markets, Energinet

As responsible for Electricity Market and former head of Retail Market Development in the Danish Transmission System Operator (TSO), Signe Horn Rosted has been closely involved in the development of the Danish DataHub and the implementation of the supplier centric model in the Danish Retail Market in close cooperation with the Danish energy authorities, DSOs and suppliers. DataHub and the supplier centric model are key elements of the Danish retail market reform that constitutes the basis for an increased competition and consumer flexibility in the Danish market. Energinet owns and operates the Danish DataHub.

Check out the previous winners here

More about Initiate!