Game on for energy efficiency as data disruptors win ABB Startup Challenge

Game on for energy efficiency as data disruptors win ABB Startup Challenge

With industry giving refocused attention on how to mitigate rising energy costs and the effects of climate change, 80 digital start-up from around the world put their innovative ideas to the test in the recent ABB Electrification and ABB Motion Startup Challenge, with the winners crowned at the exciting finale event in Lisbon last month.

The two categories of the challenge – one from ABB Electrification and the other from ABB Motion – both focused on Energy Efficiency in Service, as this important installed based maintenance and service is an often overlooked contributor to a company’s cost efficiencies and sustainability goals.

The finalist pitches from the Challengers should have resulted in two winners, but the innovations impressed the judges so much that ABB Motion chose two winners so there were three champions overall - ESGgo, a US and Israel-based sustainability platform, Tradler, a Spanish employee engagement platform, and 2zero, a German crowdsourcing energy efficiency app.

  • Winners of the Electrification Challenge - ESGgo
  • Winners of the Motion Challenge - Tradler and 2zero

ESGgo won the Electrification Service category with their ‘eco-counter’ three-tier sustainability platform designed to collect, monitor, analyze and optimize companies’ Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) status. The solution developed over the 10-day challenge leverages ESGgo’s secure and powerful data engine to help ABB create a ‘customer sustainability journey’ for its service scenarios, essentially incentivising best practice behaviors in emissions reductions and cost savings.

“Often, the sustainability conversation is vague, and it is challenging to incentivize customers or suppliers to become more sustainable, despite the fact public companies are being rated by agencies and given a low score if they do not improve their ESG credentials,” says ESGgo Chief Executive Officer Orly Glick. A former electrician, Orly was particularly excited to enter the challenge because she has ABB technology installed in her smart home. “Our technology can turn the conversation with customers into a data, insight driven one that can help people to understand how they are using their energy and take positive steps to control it.”

2zero and Tradler captured the judges’ imaginations in the Motion Services category.

On a mission to create excitement, 2zero’s app enables employees to find and submit suggestions for improving energy efficiency within their organization on a game-like interface. An easy-to-understand dashboard then highlights the collected insights to the management team and creates a data-backed sales funnel between the customer and ABB.

“Our playful gamified approach engages employees and helps them to build long-term habits that will help organizations to achieve their sustainability goals,” Chief Executive Officer Max Pinkert explained.

Meanwhile, Tradler uses gamification, recognition and data insights to drive behavior on an individual level. Its application will be used by ABB to encourage energy efficiency behaviors among customers by showcasing measurable progress and visibility to all stakeholders. The platform provides tailored incentives including nudges, feedback and rewards.

“We immediately saw an excellent fit between the challenge and our solution. This combined with the greater goal of promoting energy efficiency and making a positive impact on the environment, motivated us to enter the challenge,” said Tradler’s Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Jasper Agbakwuru.

Anton Kotov, Chief Digital and Strategy Officer at ABB Electrification said, “We are constantly searching for ways to help our customers reach their energy efficiency goals. Working with these startups has given us a different view on how to make that process easier and more engaging. We’re excited for the potential these new technologies have to accelerate customer adoption of energy efficiency solutions, supporting our own and our partners’ pledges to the Energy Efficiency Movement.”

The Challenge winners will now collaborate with ABB on a project worth up to $30,000, with the aim of launching a joint solution to the market in the second half of 2023. This will make even more user friendly digital technologies available in over 100 countries to help customers drive energy efficiency in the service field. The winners will also receive unique mentoring support from SynerLeap – ABB’s startups accelerator - and from Microsoft’s startup advisors.

Now in its third year, the ABB Startup Challenge in collaboration with Microsoft and SynerLeap, has provided a platform for more than 200 starts ups to showcase their innovations. More than 10 winners have gone on to work with ABB to commercialize their offerings, with many of whose who didn’t win still going on to progress their offerings, or working with fellow challengers who they met on their Startup Challenge journey.

The Energy Efficiency Movement is an initiative that brings together like-minded stakeholders to innovate and act for a more energy-efficient world. The Movement was launched by ABB in 2021 and has received a positive reaction from throughout industry, with more than 200 companies joined as of November 2022. #energyefficiencymovement

The 2023 ABB Electrification Startup Challenge opens for submissions in January, so watch this space for more information.


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