Free Electrons 2017
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SP Group is honoured to host the Free Electrons Grand Finale in Singapore on 21 September 2017. The event was held at the Flower Field Hall, inside the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay, with its spectacular architecture providing the perfect backdrop for an inspiring day of conversations, ideas and partnerships.
The inaugural programme was launched in January 2017 and received 450 applications from 51 countries, out of which 12 innovative energy startups were chosen to participate in Free Electrons. The programme brought the startups and utilities on a global journey to three diverse and distinct ecosystems, from the innovation hub of Silicon Valley, to the progressive energy market in Europe, and finally to the burgeoning growth in Asia Pacific which Singapore represents.
SP Group was honoured to host the Singapore module and the Free Electrons Grand Finale at Singapore’s iconic Gardens by the Bay on 21 September 2017. Over the course of the module, the startups had the chance to interact with the local ecosystem and to further their conversations with the utilities partner with the aim of finalising agreements and pilots at the final module.
The programme culminated in a Grand Finale Event which saw over 200 leaders and partners from around the world come together to exchange insights on innovation and sustainability with a focus on advancing the future of energy.
Mr Wong Kim Yin, CEO of SP Group, opened the event and announced that SP Group has inked memorandum of understanding (MOU) with 2 of the startups – BeOn Energy and DEPSys, to test the technical viability and compatibility of solar technologies for Singapore's climate, and grid monitoring solutions
The keynote address was delivered by Ms Low Yen Ling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Education. She highlighted that start-ups play an important role in catalysing disruptive innovations and solutions and will be significant drivers of economic value.
Mr Samuel Tan, Chief Digital Officer of SP Group, shared insights from SP’s digital journey as digitalisation plays an increasingly significant role in the business transformation of utilities.
Energy leaders and key players in the regional innovation ecosystem shared their perspectives on dealing with disruptions and a common recurring theme was the importance of embracing an open mindset towards change.
The Grand Finale Event ended with pitches from the 12 startups and saw BeOn Energy crowned the grand winner of the inaugural programme. BeON Energy walked away with a cash prize of US$175,000 but this is just one of the many success stories of the Free Electrons programme.The programme saw 17 signed commercial agreements between the 8 utilities and 12 start-ups valued at $1.6 million - with the potential of reaching $12 million within the next year. The collaborative nature and spirit of the programme has brought together partnerships between all stakeholders and innovators of the programme and will continue as pilots mature into long-term contracts and investment.
Guest of Honour
Ms Low Yen Ling was elected Member of Parliament for Chua Chu Kang GRC in the 2011 General Election and re-elected in the 2015 General Election. She served as Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Social & Family Development from October 2013 to September 2015 and also Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth from May 2014 to September 2015. On 1 October 2015, Ms Low was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Education and Ministry of Trade and Industry and was appointed Senior Parliamentary Secretary on 1 May 2017. She has also been Mayor for the South West District since May 2014.
Mr Wong Kim Yin is the Group Chief Executive Officer of Singapore Power Ltd (SP), since January 2012. As the Group CEO of SP, he is concurrently the Chairman of SP PowerAssets Ltd and PowerGas Ltd, Singapore District Cooling Pte Ltd and a Director of SP Services Ltd. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Seatown Pte Ltd, Board of Governors of Singapore Polytechnic and state-owned China Venture Capital Fund Corporation Ltd. Mr Wong also serves as a board member of SkillsFuture Singapore, Ministry of Education, Singapore. He is also Chairman of the Committee of Private Education and member of the Lifelong Learning Endowment Fund Advisory Council.
Prior to 2012, he was Senior Managing Director of Investment at Temasek International (Pte) Ltd, where he had been responsible for investments in the energy, transportation and industrial sectors.
From 1995 to 2002, he worked for The AES Corporation, a power company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and was responsible for merger and acquisition and project development across Asia Pacific.
Mr Wong holds a Master's Degree in Business Administration from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.
Mr Steve Leonard is a technology-industry leader with a wide range of experience, having played key roles in building several global companies in areas such as Software, Hardware and Services. Although born in the US, Mr Leonard considers himself a member of the larger global community, having lived and worked outside the US for more than 25 years.
In his current role as the Founding Chief Executive Officer of SGInnovate – a private limited company wholly owned by the Singapore Government – Mr Leonard has been chartered to lead an organisation that builds ‘deep-tech’ companies. Capitalising on the science and technology research for which Singapore has gained a global reputation, Mr Leonard’s team works with local and international partners, including universities, venture capitalists, and major corporations to help technical founders imagine, start and scale globally-relevant early-stage technology companies from Singapore.
Prior to his role as the CEO of SGInnovate, Mr Leonard served three years as the Executive Deputy Chairman of the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), a government statutory board under the purview of Singapore’s Ministry of Communications and Information. In that role, he had executive responsibility at the national level for various aspects of the information technology and telecommunications industries in Singapore.
Mr Leonard serves on the advisory boards of a range of universities and organisations in Singapore. Mr Leonard also serves as an Independent Non-Executive Director at Singapore Post Ltd (SingPost), a global leader in e-commerce logistics; and AsiaSat, a Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed commercial operator of communication spacecraft.
Mr Samuel Tan is the Chief Digital Officer of Singapore Power Limited, where he is responsible for driving innovative digital business models and digitising business processes. He is leading the Digital and IT team consisting of many revered tech leaders in Singapore – coined by the media as the “Avengers of Engineering”. He is also passionate about grooming digital and IT talent and developing a strong digital eco-system in Singapore.
Prior to his current role, Mr Tan spent 18 years in GE (General Electric) and GE Capital businesses where he last served as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of GE Oil & Gas Asia Pacific and concurrently CIO for GE Corporate ASEAN, Global Growth & Operations.
He joined the GE IT Management Programme after graduating with Honours in Engineering from the Nanyang Technological University, and contributed to diverse GE businesses including Consumer and Commercial Lending, Insurance, Advanced Materials and Oil and Gas. He had assumed various leadership roles driving technology, productivity, quality and strategic sourcing. To fulfill these appointments, Samuel and his family had to live in the United States, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.
Mr Tan is married and has 2 sons. When his elder son turned 8, he and his family decided to return to their native country to provide the children a fully-immersive Singapore upbringing. Mr Tan is an avid reader and occasionally indulges himself with soccer and shooting - albeit on the digital platform.
Mr Nino Ficca brings over 30 years’ experience in the energy industry to his present position as Managing Director of AusNet Services. He is also a director and the Chair of Energy Networks Association and of the Deakin University Engineering Advisory Board. He was formerly the Deputy Chairman and a director of the Energy Supply Association of Australia and Chair of CIGRE Australia.
Mr Ficca holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a graduate diploma in management from Deakin University. He has also completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. He is a fellow of Engineers Australia and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Mr António Vidigal is CEO of EDP Innovation and Executive Board Member of EDP Ventures. Both companies are deeply involved in the selection and fostering of new technologies in the Clean Tech domain, for usage within EDP. He also seats on the Board of several EDP companies.
His prior assignment was as “Chief Risk Officer” of EDP Group, an area which he launched.
Mr Vidigal has a diversified professional experience, having participated in start-ups of ventures in IT and mobile communications (Edinfor an IT provider; Optimus – 3rd Portuguese mobile operator, OniWay – 4th Portuguese mobile operator).
At Edinfor, a spin-off of EDP´s IT department, which has been acquired by CGI, he acted as CEO. At mobile operator Optimus he was ExCom Member with responsibility over IT, Regulatory Affairs, and Customer Care. Later, at the 3G mobile operator OniWay, he acted as CEO.
He has been a Board Member of EDP Group.
Mr Vidigal is a Member of the Portuguese Academy of Engineering. He has published more than 100 articles on Innovation and regularly participates on Conferences on his areas of interest.
He has a degree on Power Systems from IST and studied Computer Science at UNL.
Mr Thomas Birr is responsible for Innovation and Business Transformation at innogy SE. Having joined RWE in 1999 he held several management and board positions in the areas of key account management, sales and marketing. He was responsible for Corporate Strategy of RWE and Innogy for many years and also spent a period of time as CEO of one of the largest regional sales and grid companies within the RWE Group.
Prior to joining RWE, Mr Birr worked for the petrochemical contracting company Mannesmann KTI in different international positions within the fields of project management and sales.
Mr Birr holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Mr Hirokazu Yamaguchi is the Executive General Manager of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). He leads TEPCO`s Corporate Venture Capital and Global Innovations team.
Mr Yamaguchi, who graduated from the Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo, joined TEPCO in 1987 and has served the company for about 30 years. He has assumed roles in numerous areas, including Corporate Strategy, Business Development and Nuclear Safety Reform. He graduated from Cornell University, Johnson Graduate School in 1994.
Mr Dilhan Pillay is currently President, Joint Head, Enterprise Development Group, Joint Head, Investment Group, and Joint Head, Singapore and Head, Americas. Prior to joining Temasek, he was Managing Partner of Singapore law firm WongPartnership LLP. He currently serves on the boards of the Singapore Management University, Singapore Institute of Legal Education, Changi Airport Group, National Research Foundation, Singapore Innovate and certain subsidiaries of Temasek Holdings. He is also a member of the Future Economy Council and the Financial Centre Advisory Panel of the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Mr Pillay graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Laws and obtained a Master of Law from the University of Cambridge.
Mr Rob Geneiser is a Managing Partner at the ETF Partners since early 2010. Prior to joining ETF Partners, Mr Geneiser was a Managing Partner at Vertex, one of the oldest and most prestigious investment firms out of Asia, where he led its European and North American investment activities for 8 years. Before that, Mr Geneiser was a Managing Director of JP Morgan (and Hambrecht & Quist), focusing on advising high-tech growth companies globally. Earlier in his career, Mr Geneiser was a management consultant for Bain & Co. in San Francisco, where he focused on the telecommunications industry. He holds an AB and MBA from Harvard University.
An active investor in deep technologies for Idinvest in the US and in Europe, Mr Julien Mialaret is now working with early and growth-stage portfolio companies to accelerate their growth in Asia.
Mr Mialaret focuses on key technologies in the digitalization of industry and enterprise: artificial intelligence, internet of things, cybersecurity, data analytics, robotics and cleantech. He has mainly invested in digital technologies with B2B business models and global reach: Neurala Inc. (Deep neural networks, US), TrustInSoft (Automated code analysis and flaw remediation, FR), Enlighted Inc. (IoT networks for buildings, US), First Fuel Software (Energy data analytics, US), Organica Water Inc. (Decentralized waste water treatment, US/HUN) and Actility (Low power IoT networks, FR). He remains an observer and board member of several of these companies.
Prior to joining Idinvest in 2011, Mr Mialaret was based in China where he developed and acquired thermal, hydro, and wind power projects for EDF Group, one of the largest global electric utility companies. He shifted to technology start-ups in 2009, working with entrepreneurs to advise them on their deployments in the Mainland.
Mr Mialaret holds degrees from ESCP Europe, La Sorbonne University, Beijing University and the French School of Oriental Studies. He is a fluent Mandarin, English, French and Spanish speaker and has working capacity in Japanese.
Mr Kuo-Yi Lim is a Managing Partner at Monk's Hill Ventures, a tech venture fund investing in early stage startups in Southeast Asia. Most recently, he was the CEO of Infocomm Investments, a $200M venture fund based in Singapore investing in technology startups globally. At Infocomm Investments, Mr Lim led investments in Twilio, Dataxu, Reebonz, Quid, Gengo and other leading startups. Mr Lim has been a founder, early employee, mentor and angel investor of early-stage technology startups spanning the US and Asia. He was a senior sales executive at Encentuate (acq. by IBM) and Reputation Technologies (acq. by Security Sources), and co-founder of SportsHook. Mr Lim graduated from MIT with B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering.
Mr Ethan Pierse is a Managing Partner of Nest Ventures. He connects and enables cross-border startup investment and business development between the US, France and Southeast Asia. He is also the founder of leading international investor syndicate Borderless Ventures for FrenchTech and ASEAN startups.
Besides being a frequent keynote speaker on corporate innovation, Industry 4.0 and Smart Cities, Mr Pierse is also the author of "Chief Startup Officer, How Corporates Can Leverage Startup Innovation". Mr Pierse is a serial entrepreneur in digital and ecommerce and has more than 20 years of digital marketing strategy experience with Coca-Cola, HP, BP, large banks, airlines and governments.
Ms May Liew leads open innovation for SP Group — seeking cutting edge energy solutions from start-ups and other ecosystem partners, to lead transformational changes in the energy sector for Singapore and regionally.
She is on the constant lookout for disruptive technologies from global innovation hubs such as Silicon Valley, Europe and Israel, that will change the future of energy. These efforts range from global accelerator programs to venture capital funds to bring the best in energy solutions from around the world to Singapore customers and beyond.