Zubax Robotix from Estonia is the winner of this year’s edition of the international PowerUp! competition for cleantech start-ups. The team presented their project, which provides 10% more energy-efficient electric motor controllers for aerospace applications.
Their technology allows electric vehicles (especially aircraft) to travel further using less energy from the battery, thus alleviating one of the most significant obstacles in the way of total electrification of all kinds of transport. Zubax was awarded € 30,000 and a chance to be invited to the prestigious InnoEnergy Highway® accelerator.
Romania, which participated to the last two editions of the competition, was represented this year by the country finalist Craft Bicycle start-up, which reinvents the biking industry by building bamboo bikes.
- We applied to the competition because it seemed very relevant, as this contest helps technological advancement for start-ups as it provides funding and support to innovative ideas, teams. Winning the competition is a very motivating surprise, we knew that we had a good idea and a good product that has potential. We are planning to use our prize and invest it into further development of the product and take our market presence into the next level – said Pavek Kirienko, Head of Technical Research at Zubax.
- In the seven years since its launch, InnoEnergy has invested in innovative projects with a total value of € 2 billion. Thanks to our support, eighty products have so far been brought to market. Now Zubax team has this amazing opportunity – says Christo Balinow, Business Development Director of InnoEnergy Central Europe, the Chairman of the Jury.
The title of runner-up and a €10,000 prize was awarded to WellParko from Lithuania. Third place and € 5,000 went to the team Neuron Soundware from Czech Republic.
During the Grand Final in Prague, 15 start-ups presented their solutions before the jury, investors and media representatives. These were the winners of the Country Finals, which took place in Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine, Estonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Greece. The finalists were selected from 299 teams from the 24 Central European countries who applied to the competition. The stakes were high as the Highway® accelerator is one of the best programs in the cleantech sector in Europe.
Zsolt Winkler, Head of the Open Innovation Hub at MOL Group and a member of the Jury commented:
- PowerUp! feeds us with fresh, crisp ideas and solutions from all around the region. We are proud to be sponsoring the event for the second time. As we are transforming our company, engaging with start-ups through competitions like this plays an extremely important role in our strategy.
Ms. Gul Erol, Enerjisa CTO, particularly appreciated the level of the competition and says:
- We know we can grow into the fast-changing future with sustainable solutions via innovative and agile startup partnerships. As Enerjisa we are proud to be a part of PowerUp! that unites us with the most striking ideas all around Europe.
Michał Maćkowiak, Head of Innovation Rafako S.A., also thought that the level of competition was very high this year and said:
- We are very pleased this year that not only companies from the energy industry, but also those from the spheres of electromobility or smart cities took part in the competition. The competition is developing in the same direction as RAFAKO, in that it is looking for opportunities in addition to the energy industry to diversify revenues in the areas mentioned above.
What makes PowerUp! stand out from other start-up competitions are its Bootcamps: before the Grand Final, the participants spent two days testing their business models and taking their presentation skills to another level.