The best start-up in the CEE region has been named! Danubia NanoTech wins the 2019 PowerUp! Grand Final

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Category: PowerUp! 2019


The results from the fifth edition of InnoEnergy’s PowerUp! competition – which saw participation from over 300 start-ups from 24 countries across Central-Eastern Europe – have now been announced. Danubia NanoTech from Slovakia was named the overall winner by the judges following a close battle with its rivals for the top prize. The company has received a cheque for 50 000€, as well as the opportunity to join the prestigious Highway® by InnoEnergy business accelerator.

The winners developed a solution for real temperature monitoring in a form of a graphene temperature sensor, available as an extremely thin film, applied on any non-metallic substrate. Technology is valuable for EV batteries and for grid battery storage, extending the batteries' life-time.

We applied to PowerUp! because we were looking for an investor not only for capital, but also for counselling and mentoring. InnoEnergy is such an investor and we are thrilled to have the chance to cooperate with them. Our plans for the near future include the completion of tests and the launch of the product." - says Patrik Krizansky, responsible for Business Development at Danubia NanoTech.

Second place – and a 10 000€ prize – was awarded to Atlant 3D from Latvia which has created the world's most accurate and versatile 3D printer for micro and nanochip fabrication. Third place – and a 5 000€ prize - was taken by V-Chiller from Hungary, the author of a revolutionary cooling device that can chill canned beverages in just a single minute, using minimal energy and with minimal environmental impact.

This edition’s Grand Final was held in Krakow at Impact’19, one of the most high-profile economic events in the CEE region. The panel of judges and wider audience consisted of investors, industry representatives, clean energy experts and international media. 14 start-ups took part in the competition, having won their respective Country Finals to gain entry to the Grand Final. Participants came from Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Turkey and Greece.

“It’s worth emphasising that the PowerUp! competition isn’t just for energy companies: it’s also open to solutions focusing on mobility, clean air technology, heating, cleantech and smart technologies. What distinguishes us from other competitions is that, apart from financial prizes, participants can rely on our comprehensive support, mentoring and entrepreneurial know-how to help take their products and services to the next level.” - says Jakub Miler, CEO of InnoEnergy Central Europe.

Both the Grand Final and respective Country Finals were preceded by two-day bootcamps run by renowned coaches and business mentors. Here, participants had a chance to verify their business models, align these with market expectations, and improve their presentation skills. However, the main incentive for many to take part was the opportunity to be invited to the prestigious Highway® by InnoEnergy accelerator programme, one of the most comprehensive of its kind in Europe, offering investment of up to 150 000€ and close access to InnoEnergy’s expertise as a start-up continues its development.

For the first time in the competition's history, an additional Clean Air Challenge Award was granted at this year’s edition, open to companies demonstrating innovation and pioneering thought in clean air initiatives. This distinction was awarded to from Estonia. They have introduced a new type of solar panel which looks like a traditional metal roof but is an innovative 2-in-1 solution which combines everyday roofing material and photovoltaic modules. The award was sponsored by Veolia, a company with a positive reputation for creating, developing and implementing solutions which contribute to the sustainable development of cities and industries.

„The quality of air is one of the most important challenges faced by local governments and industry in Poland. This is why all solutions that contribute to its improvement deserve recognition and support. We are very glad that young companies create new technologies in this area and share our values: "resourcing the world" and care for the environment. Being the first patron of the Clean Air Challenge Award makes us very proud. says Fabien Ferrer, Deputy Executive Director Veolia Group in Poland.

Taking part in PowerUp! also gives start-ups a chance to meet with leading representatives in the energy and cleantech sectors, many of whom are official partners of the competition. This year’s partners included RAFAKO, D.TEK, ZSE Group and Enerjisa, who were on the lookout for promising technologies for potential future investment. 

Michał Maćkowiak, Head of Innovation w RAFAKO S.A. explains: „The competition gives us a great chance to learn about the latest trends and technologies in areas that are close to what we do as a company, and promise to make a real difference to the future of our planet. These include electromobility, renewable energy sources, alternative fuels or energy storage. It is also a great opportunity to share knowledge and experiences with other partners of the competition.”

“We are looking for solutions in gas and coal production, thermal generation, renewable energy, grids, e-mobility, energy efficiency and customer services.”- adds Emanuele Volpe, DTEK Chief Innovation Officer.

"ZSE Group continuously offers innovative energy solutions to our customers and cooperates with the innovative ecosystem in the energy sector. PowerUp provides a unique opportunity to support and learn from inspiring energy startups." - comments Andrej Juris, Chairman of the Board of Directors Západoslovenská distribučná (ZSD).

Fezal Okur, Chief Strategy and Business Development Officer Enerjisa EnerjiSA says: “As Enerjisa, we believe that sustainable solutions can only be created by partnerships with all stakeholders. Innovative and agile solutions to major urbanization and customer centric issues are in target of the Enerjisa. Consequently we are proud to be a part of Power Up! Startup Competition that unites us with the most striking ideas all around Europe.”

The panel of judges consisted of Jakob Ruiter, CEO InnoEnergy Benelux and representatives of the PowerUp! Partners: DTEK, RAFAKO, ZSE Energia and EnerjiSA. The Grand Final was hosted by LJ Rich, a journalist and presenter best known as host of the BBC News Click and Radio 5 Live programme. There was also a panel of representatives from previous InnoEnergy success stories, including HYGEN, Gradis and Skeleton Technologies, who discussed in detail how taking part in PowerUp! helped them to spread their wings and reach new levels of success. 

  • By PowerUp! Team on in PowerUp! 2019

Updated on May 23, 2019 11:39 AM