What’s the challenge?

Our challenge is an opportunity for you to work with our experts to accelerate your idea to the next stage.

We’re looking for the next big thing, so if you’re working on innovative ways to create insight and value from energy data using artificial intelligence and machine learning or developing amazing new devices, controls or approaches to make energy better for our vulnerable customers – we would love you to be part of our journey to deliver Better Lives, Better Experience and Better Energy for all of society.

Pitch it today

Challenge Categories

Making life easier for our vulnerable customers

Can you help to make efficiency, comfort, control & security easy and accessible for our vulnerable customers? If the answer is yes, then this category could be for you.

Creating value for customers from energy data

Insights for customers using energy related data using innovative technology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. Let us know how you’re going to do it.

Wildcard

Got a great idea that doesn't fall into any of the other categories? Wildcard it. We love surprises!

Why take part?

You can be an early stage or a mature start-up, If you are wanting to accelerate your idea in 12-weeks, this is the energy accelerator programme for you.

This year, we also have an exciting new opportunity for the right start-up to be sponsored by EDF Energy Blue Lab at IDEALondon, a post-accelerator centre in the heart of London’s tech city in Shoreditch.

We have partnered with Amazon Web Services, who are ready and waiting to provide access to their technology programme specifically designed for start-ups. 

So, what are you waiting for?

Pitch it today

Start-up testimonies from last year’s programme

Five great companies received industry expert mentoring, access to data and customers to accelerate their products on our 10-week accelerator programme. 

Don’t just take our word for it,  check out for yourself and watch the highlights!

We are very excited to be running our second Blue Lab challenge back of the success we had in 2016. Blue Lab challenge provides us the opportunity to collaborate with the start-ups who share our passion of creating a better energy future for all.

I’m looking forward to discovering more disruptive innovations through collaborating with the start-up community.

Jean-Benoit Ritz, Director of Innovation and Blue Lab

Benefits on offer

12-week programme based at Blue Lab in Hove
mentoring from energy industry experts


 

£20,000 cash prize
Access to industry knowledge and consumer insight
Scale up – access to customers
Access to potential investment

Access to Amazon Activate program

In collaboration with Amazon, our start-up finalists on the 12-week accelerator programme can access Amazon Web Services Activate program.

Amazon Web Services provides start-ups with the low cost, easy to use infrastructure needed to scale and grow. The AWS Activate program provides start-ups with the resources needed to quickly get started on AWS – including credits, training, and support.

In addition, our start-up finalists will have access to mentoring from AWS experts during the 12-week accelerator programme.

Please note, startups that have had access to AWS Activate programme previously may not be eligible.

Key events and timeline

Application opens
19th September 2017
Application closes
13th November 2017
Pitch day
18th January 2018
12-week programme starts
5th February 2018
Demo day
25th April 2018
12-week programme ends
27th April 2018

FAQs

What type of products are you looking for?

We’re particularly looking for products and services to create insight and value from energy data using artificial intelligence and machine learning or amazing new devices, controls or approaches to make energy better for our customers. Of course, if you have an idea that doesn’t quite fit any of those, but you still think it would work for us – send it through.

Who can get involved?

Anyone who wants to work with EDF Energy to develop products and services to help our customers. So if you’re a company, entrepreneur or start-up from anywhere in the world, get in touch.

I’m not an energy business – can I still participate?

Yes, Blue Lab Challenge isn’t exclusively for energy businesses. We’re also keen to work with products and services from other sectors that could apply to the energy industry. For example, if you have a great data analytics platform, it could help us to understand how our customers use energy.

I have a good business idea – can I participate in the Blue Lab Challenge?

Absolutely. Blue Lab is our innovation platform where great ideas are developed, shaping the better energy future. We’re looking for speed to market. So we’ll be prioritising products and services that are fully developed or have been prototyped – to take to market within three to six months.

My start-up is in the early stages – am I right for Blue Lab?

You could be. We’re open to businesses of any stage of their development and we tailor activities to suit you. If you feel that your business and products would benefit from collaborating with EDF Energy then we’d love to hear from you.

I’ve been in accelerators before and have customers – is this right for me?

Yes. But we know your needs will be different to a business in its early stages. That’s why we tailor mentoring and activities to suit you and your needs – we don’t want to waste your time. All you need to take part in Blue Lab is the drive and ambition to develop your product and ideas further to benefit customers.

Do I need to give away equity to participate?

No – if you participate in Blue Lab, we won’t ask for equity. However, we may ask you to keep us up to date with future funding rounds.

Are you asking for exclusivity?

If you are invited to join the Blue Lab programme, we may ask you to disclose to us existing relationships you may have to avoid conflict of interest.

We will ask you to sign a mutual agreement – and this will apply when working with other parties in the energy sector.

We hope that at the end of the 12 weeks in Blue Lab, we’ll know each other better and we hope that you’ll see us as the first port of call when you need feedback on new products.

Will I need to disclose confidential information about my business?

No, not at first. When you apply to join Blue Lab you only need to share information about your product or business that you consider to be in the public domain.

If you are invited to join Blue Lab, we will ask you to sign a mutual agreement, so we can work together on the Blue Lab programme. This means that we’ll keep your information confidential – and you’ll need to do the same for us.

Are there terms and conditions for applying?

Yes, you can access our challenge terms and conditions here.

What happens once I’ve registered my interest?

First you submit your application form on F6S. Then one of our team will review your responses to confirm if you’re suitable for the Blue Lab programme. If you are, our partner L Marks may be in touch to get further details and answer any questions you have. The Blue Lab committee will then review your application. Up to 25 teams will be invited to attend the Pitch Day. We’ll ask you to prepare for a short presentation and Q&A. You’ll also get to meet the Blue Lab team. If we believe your business is the right fit for the Blue Lab programme, we’ll invite you to participate. You’ll hear from us within 10 days after the Pitch Day.

You must be at least 18 years old to enter Blue Lab challenge.

I don’t live in the UK, can I apply?

Of course. We encourage companies, entrepreneurs and start-ups from across the globe to apply. But remember, you may need a visa to participate in activities in the UK.

Are you offering any travel support?

The Blue Lab programme is based in Hove, UK. Travel support is at the discretion of EDF Energy Blue Lab committee – we’ll review on a case by case basis.

L Marks

In association with L Marks

L Marks is a corporate innovation specialist and early stage investor. They build bridges between large corporates seeking to innovate more quickly with young companies with disruptive technologies, products and services. Founded in 2012 by serial entrepreneur Stuart Marks, they run bespoke startup partnership programmes across industry sectors, supporting rapid innovation and connecting them with the best startups. They work with their clients to identify where they believe the challenges are in their businesses and then turn these into opportunities for improvement and innovation. Each programme is tailored to deliver real solutions to the corporate partners as well as creating real opportunities for startups to test and grow their product with a major partner.