Alperia is one of Italy’s largest green energy providers with more than 280.000 customers and a forerunner in the field of energy production from renewable resources. Alperia’s vision is to mold the energy of the future. South Tyrol produces a big surplus of renewable energy and has one of the highest densities of charging stations in Europe. To develop breakthrough solutions within the industry, Alperia was looking for startups in the fields of Smart Mobility, Smart Home and Building Automation, Public Lighting, Hydropower and Call-Center Optimization.
For Alperia, the ideal approach to encourage innovation in various fields, was to setup a Startup Factory and scout startups with disruptive solutions for their industry. Thus, we set up a campaign to promote the Alperia Startup Factory and scouted startups through our tailor-made process. More than 140 startup applications from all over the world were generated this way. After evaluating the startups, Alperia invited the top-selected startups to a 2-days innovation camp to elaborate on new business opportunities for Alperia and discuss a clear Proof-of-Concept. During these intensive three days, interdisciplinary teams of startups, internal employees and students worked together on specific use cases. Based on a final pitch, a jury then decided which projects should be continued within a four-months acceleration phase. Four teams successfully convinced the jury with their business idea and received a “Go” to further develop their ideas.
During the following four months, the four selected interdisciplinary teams worked together on their proof-of-concept, receiving support from a WhatAVenture trainer within weekly coaching calls. During the acceleration phase, the teams met for three times in Bolzano. Next to working on the development of their ideas, the workshops were also used for team building, input sessions, mutual learning, and critical feedback.
The “demo day” constituted the end of the program: each team was given the opportunity to present their prototype and business model to the jury and invited guests.
The success was more than satisfying: Half of the projects will be continued in cooperation with the startups – one being a new service for customer engagement and one being a new solution for the optimization of internal processes by using innovative technologies.
Through the Startup Factory, Alperia deepened its knowledge on new technologies and future trends in the energy industry and identified high-quality startups to work with. Two concrete innovation projects have emerged from the program. Moreover, the program fostered an innovation culture within the company by involving employees from various business units in interdisciplinary teams and training them in lean innovation methods.
WhatAVenture’s role was the facilitation of the whole project and coaching of the innovation teams.