6 Dec 16

Tech firms and start-ups win EDF Energy Awards for innovation

  • EDF Energy UK Pulse Awards support innovation that meets key energy challenges
  • Four young businesses win after 121 enter the competition
  • EDF Energy to partner with start-ups and entrepreneurs that entered the Awards’ four categories
  • Fifth winner to be selected after five companies take part in a 10-week acceleration programme within EDF Energy’s Blue Lab

A London media start-up that helps children become computer coders is one of the first winners of the EDF Energy Pulse Awards for innovation. The Awards, which build on the success of the international EDF Pulse Awards launched in 2013, invited start-ups and entrepreneurs to enter one of four categories with up to £100,000 worth of investment available to support the development of the winning ideas and products. 

The winners announced today are:

· Category 1: Inspiring Young People into STEM: Bright Little Labs, who want kids to “become coders, not Kardashians” will now receive investment from EDF Energy to supply its products for their educational projects, including The POD, Pretty Curious and activations at science festivals.


· Category 2: Data Solutions: Warwick Analytics, a spin off from The University of Warwick, won for improving health and safety at work. Specialising in “automated predictive analytics” their data analysis could help firms like EDF Energy improve its health and safety performance, and using their prize fund will work with EDF Energy to develop a proof of concept. 

· Category 3: Inspection methods in Generation:

· Viridian Consultants, from Dorking in Surrey, is one of two winners in this category, which was run in association with Innovate UK. They are an innovative company providing the nuclear sector with testing equipment, expertise and training. Their remote inspection and monitoring systems could be used to help inspections at nuclear stations, gathering more data with less disruption to operations.

· Ultra Electronics PMES from Rugeley in Staffordshire provides innovative technology for a variety of defence and industrial applications and delivered the winning pitch for offshore wind inspection. They will develop ideas for remote monitoring of corrosion on offshore wind farms. Both companies will conduct a feasibility study into their products by early next year.


· Category 4: Blue Lab Connected Home and Business: A further five companies have been shortlisted to take part in a 10-week acceleration programme to develop their products and services within EDF Energy’s Blue Lab innovation accelerator. At the end of the 10-weeks, a winner will be chosen to receive a cash prize of £30,000 along with the potential for future collaboration or investment.

Each of the winners and finalists were chosen following pitches featuring ideas for products, ranging from digital devices that alert families if their elderly relatives need help, and tools for remotely sampling radioactive sites. EDF Energy is also collaborating with five additional companies who pitched in the R&D categories and two other entrants in the inspiring young people into STEM category.

Entrants of the awards were required to submit an idea for an innovation which fell into one of the four categories. The competitive process started in August and saw 121 submissions from across the UK and continental Europe. Forty-nine entrants were invited to London on 11 November to present their ideas to a panel of judges, including both independent industry experts and representatives from EDF Energy.

Commenting on the awards and the finalists, Xavier Mamo, Director of Research & Development at EDF Energy said: “The first year of the EDF Energy Pulse Awards in the UK has been a fantastic success, both in terms of the number of entries we had, but also the variety and creativity of the ideas that were submitted.

“We had a great turn out for the pitch day in November. Every entrant came really well prepared, delivered some incredible pitches and sparked a lot of good discussion amongst the judges. The finalists’ ideas will now be developed alongside the existing work of our experts across the company, the UK R&D centre and the Blue Lab accelerator. We’re really looking forward to seeing these come to life.”


The Blue Lab programme starts on 5 December, and will be run in partnership with L Marks. The Blue Lab accelerator launched in 2015 with a focus on making customers’ lives easier through innovation. It aims to show tangible proof of how disruptive thinking can be harnessed by partnering with start-up communities. Finalists will have the opportunity to showcase working prototypes of their ideas to various experts in mid-February 2017, giving them a platform to receive support and advice and attract investors for their innovations.


The five finalists of the Blue Lab Connected Home and Business category are:

· Futurehome: a team of four specialists based in Norway who have developed a cloud-based web platform, providing a one-stop-shop for sourcing smart home technology and related services. Futurehome makes it easy to make your home smart, choosing products and services that fit your needs from some of your favourite brands, and have it all connected and installed by one company.


· Howz: founded by UK entrepreneur Jonathan Burr, Howz, is a new connected home system aimed predominantly at elderly customers living alone. It measures a household’s usage of electricity and identifies the appliances they use to build up a pattern of daily behaviour. This is combined with predictive analytics to highlight any unusual activity or trends and notify the person’s family or carers of these.


· Ipsum Energy: a Netherlands-based team led by CEO Peter de Bie. Ipsum eliminates the blindness in energy consumption, automatically detecting electrical devices and their use. The unique, data light approach gives consumers real and personalised insights into how to save energy and money.


· Momit Thermostat Company: founded by Miguel Sánchez from Spain, whose Momit Smart Thermostat learns from people’s daily habits to help them save energy.


· Upside Energy: a UK-based team of six led by systems engineer Dr Graham Oakes, Upside Energy smooths the flow of energy across the grid by operating a Virtual Energy Store™ through a cloud-based service that coordinates energy stored in uninterruptible power supplies.

For more information contact:

Claire Barratt
Senior external communications manager - Customers
07875 113377

Notes to editors

About EDF Energy Blue Lab

Blue Lab is EDF Energy’s innovation accelerator – created to play an instrumental role to improve the lives of consumers by harnessing the latest technologies, developing energy services and testing the new business models of tomorrow.

Its goal is to create an open innovation network to generate plenty of ideas and to make ideas happen. The new agile working space on the south coast enables Blue Lab to collaboratively work with start-ups, internal teams, universities and consumers to develop and shape those ideas into a reality.

It is driven by wanting to get customers fired up about energy. The Blue Lab way of working is simple! They take great ideas and the most passionate people and bring them together to get the very best for customers and for the business.


About 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.


About Innovate UK

Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency. They are business focused and drive disruptive innovation right across the UK economy, funding and connecting pioneering businesses so they can create the products, processes and industries of the future.

It is their mission to boost productivity, increase exports and help the UK economy grow head and shoulders above other nations. For further information and to stay updated on latest news visit www.gov.uk/innovateuk, follow Innovate UK on Twitter at @innovateuk or subscribe to their YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/InnovateUK.


EDF Energy

EDF Energy is one of the UK’s largest energy companies and the largest producer of low-carbon electricity, producing around one-fifth of the nation's electricity from its nuclear power stations, wind farms, coal and gas power stations and combined heat and power plants. The company supplies gas and electricity to over 5 million customer accounts and is the biggest supplier of electricity by volume in Great Britain.

EDF Energy’s safe and secure operation of its eight existing nuclear power stations at sites across the country makes it the UK’s largest generator of low carbon electricity. EDF Energy is also leading the UK's nuclear renaissance and has published plans to build four new nuclear plants, subject to the right investment framework.

These new plants could generate enough low carbon electricity for about 40% of Britain’s homes. They would make an important contribution to the UK’s future needs for clean, secure and affordable energy. The project is already creating business and job opportunities for British companies and workers.

Through Our Better Energy Ambitions, EDF Energy has developed one of the biggest environmental and social programmes of any British energy company.

In 2014 EDF Energy received seven ‘Big Ticks’ in the Business in the Community (BITC) Responsible Business Awards. In 2013 EDF Energy received the Environmental Leadership for Behavioural Change Award in the national Environment and Energy Awards and was highly commended in the first ever pan European Corporate Social Responsibility Awards scheme for its Sustainable Schools programme – the Pod.

EDF Energy is part of EDF Group, one of Europe’s largest power companies. The company employs around 14,000 people at locations across the UK.

To find out more about the UK's energy challenges look at www.edfenergy.com/energyfuture/