ClimateLaunchpad 2015 bootcamp Estonia took place in 26-28 June in an old fishervillage called Käsmu. Käsmu is located by the sea, so the atmosphere was quiet and inspirational for our participants.
Only the best 10 ideas got invited to bootcamp to get experience on how to develop their ideas to the next level.
In this post we will see an interview with the team called Sympower.
1. What is your idea and how did you come up with this idea?
Our idea is simple: Sympower’s unique smart platform changes the time of day when heating and cooling devices use electricity, saving our customers money without compromising comfort. While requiring no user input to save money, Sympower also adds a high level of controllability if desired.
By reducing the number of polluting fossil fuel plants used to meet peak electricity demand, Sympower reduces CO2 emissions now, and makes having more renewables in the electricity system much easier in the future.
We discussed early versions of Sympower while studying for a masters together. Outside of lectures, tutorials and research projects we often devised ways to change the world! During our masters we worked on another startup idea, Electrify, with a third friend from the course. After we decided to put that on hold due to current technical barriers, the ideas behind Sympower were born.
2. How big is your team and how did you find yourselves?
We are a team of two – Simon (CEO) and Georg (CTO). Despite there only being two of us in the team, we have a broad European perspective – between us we either come from or have lived in Estonia, the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and France!
We met in London in 2013 while studying for an MSc in Sustainable Energy Futures at Imperial College. In May this year, soon after Georg started working on Sympower full time, he convinced Simon to leave his job at an Energy Services Company in London and to move to Estonia to co-found Sympower.
3.If you have to say three things, why your idea is better than the other ideas in the world then what will those things be?
1. Sympower is a shortcut to a low carbon future – the benefits it provides are as important now as they will be in 2050.
2. Sympower makes better use of technology that is already found in everyone’s homes – no large investments into new solutions are involved.
3. Sympower saves customers money and reduces their carbon footprint without them having to make any changes to their lifestyle.
4.Where are you seeing your idea in 10 years?
In 10 years’ time, every household in Europe will have a Sympowered device and we will have expanded outside of Europe. In doing so, we will be saving our customers millions of euros per year on their electricity bills, we will have made a significant impact on Europe’s carbon emissions and made it a lot easier to connect more renewables to the grid.
We will also be working in developing countries to help set up efficient microgrids using the Sympower platform and to strengthen existing, weak grids.
5.Why are you dealing with environmental problems
Time is running out to mitigate climate change, the biggest problem the world has ever faced. We strongly believe that it is innovative business models that will solve the problem, and that at the centre of it all are people, aspiring to live more prosperous and sustainable lives.
We are driven by the knowledge that Sympower will have a significant social as well as climate impact, both immediately and for many years to come
6.What was the best lesson or knowledge you got from ClimateLaunchpad?
We have taken a lot away from ClimateLaunchpad so far, so picking out a highlight is not easy.
The knowledge and connections we gained have allowed our business to progress at a rate that would not have been possible without ClimateLaunchpad. In just a few weeks we have achieved as much as would otherwise have taken months.
So instead, we’ll share a couple of memorable quotes that we heard at the Launchpad bootcamp and that inspired us:
“The best way to predict the future is to create it” (Abraham Lincoln, and others)
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 6 rules. Look up the video online, but highlights include: “Who do you want to be?”, “You have to break the rules. Not the law but break the rules”, “Don’t be afraid to fail” and “Sleep faster”.
7.What is your founders dream?
A low-carbon, high-tech future in which all of humanity can live prosperously and sustainably