Free Electrons 2017

The mission of Free Electrons is simple, to connect the world’s most promising energy start-ups with globally recognised utility companies and the global investor community. The aim of the programme is to recruit and support the next generation of ideas in clean energy, energy efficiency, electric mobility and on-demand customer services.

Eight utility companies, including ESB, came together to identify new technologies and start-ups in energy. Recruiting for the programme started in January 2016, and from over four hundred and fifty applications, twelve start-ups were chosen and were taken on a global expedition with utility partners, investors and energy experts.

Module 1 - Silicon Valley, United States

With the 12 finalists selected the partners were invited to an immersion week in the global capital of technology innovation, Silicon Valley.


Through the guidance of the eight utility partners, the start-ups attended workshops and seminars which centered on the idea of clean energy, commercialisation and the piloting process. Start-ups came away with the ability to speak the language of utility companies, enabling more fluent communication of their business ideas.

Module 2, Part 1 - Lisbon, Portugal

The first stop in module two is the city of Lisbon, one of the fastest growing technology hubs in Europe. The start-ups took part in customer adoption modules and had one to one time with their utility partners.


The objective of this module was to learn about the energy market and utilities from a European perspective. Once the workshops were finished, the next stop is the Gateway to Europe module in Dublin. 

Module 2, Part 2 - ESB's Pitch Off, Dublin, Ireland

The Dublin event, hosted by Irish start-up entrepreneur and former journalist, Mark Little saw the 12 start-ups compete in a 'Pitch Off' competition to win $25,000 (USD). Led by ESB's Innovation team, this competition saw the finalists perfect their pitch in front of a leading investment and start-up community. 


Module 3 - The Final Singapore

The Free Electrons Global Accelerator hosted its third and final module in Singapore concluding a three-part series aimed to facilitate deal-making between twelve international energy start-ups and eight utilities. The six month program resulted in 17 signed commercial agreements and BeOn Energy, a Portuguese based company that sells integrated plug and play solar kits, was awarded the Free Electrons grand prize of $175,000.

Riu From Beon Energy, Winner of the Free Electrons Accelerator Program