Thursday, September 19

New Aussie Accelerator Set to Tackle Renewables Challenge by Co-opting Some of India’s Most Innovative Energy Start-Ups

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On the heels of the release of the Federal Government’s new India Strategy, Australia’s largest energy accelerator Energy Lab have partnered with India start-up specialists The Virangana Project to form a new accelerator that will be solely focused on identifying and nurturing Indian start-ups using Australia as a test market and platform for funding, before taking the technology global.

The Virangana Project Earth (viranganaearth.com) will focus on start-ups in the renewable energy, clean water and related infrastructure sectors, where India is seen as a hotbed of innovation when tackling the issues around delivering cheap clean power and water to a large and diverse population. 

The partnership will draw on the expertise of Energy Lab in mentoring and rolling out energy-focused start-ups and The Virangana Project’s strong relationships and deep understanding of the Indian start-up ecosystem. 

The Virangana Project, which is backed by Sydney-based corporate advisory firm CEO Strategic has just finished a successful program that saw them identify some of India’s Most innovative women entrepreneurs, provide mentoring, and then bring them to Australia where they staged Sydney’s first ever ‘Bollywood-Style’ Pitch Event in conjunction with the recent NSW Spark Festival.

Speaking at the launch of the new partnership, Energy Lab CEO Mr. Piers Grove said that “Our focus is on identifying and promoting World’s Best Technologies when it comes the energy sector, and while Australia is one of the world’s hottest and driest places, we don’t have the critical mass of start-ups focused on developing solutions that a country the size of India does. Based on early feedback, I’m excited at the quantity and quality of the innovation we are seeing come out of India. Australia is the ideal place to trial and fund these technologies and we are looking forward to energy-sector corporates and both the federal and state governments getting on board with this initiative.”

Managing Director for CEO Strategic and Chairman of The Virangana Project – Mr. Daniel Fah said that “If necessity is the mother of invention, I can’t think of a better example than India right now. They are facing many challenges in terms of delivering cheap and reliable power and clean water to a population of over 1.3 Billion, and India has a huge number of highly-educated entrepreneurs who are tackling those challenges head on.”

Mr. Fah added “Indians are highly skilled and technically very savvy but fall down when it comes to marketing themselves to the West, much of this is due to an aspect of Indian culture that discourages self-promotion. In our most recent cohort of Indian women entrepreneurs, we uncovered one Founder who had been nominated for a Nobel Prize for Science for her work with stem cells, and another whose work with epilepsy had been acknowledged by both the UN and PM Modi yet their modesty meant we had to put them at ease with the promotional process and assure them that that this type of information was extremely relevant to investors.”

Mr. Fah went on to say that “We have already connected with a number of very high-quality candidates for our next cohort, and we believe having a partner with the depth and breadth of skills in the renewables sector like Energy Lab, coupled with our Financial Management, Capital Raise and Marketing skills, will enable us to deliver an exciting alternative for Aussie investors.”

Piers Grove added that “By bringing Indian technology to Australia and establishing bases for them here, we are not only giving ourselves access to some of the world’s best energy-related technology, but we are also delivering additional jobs and investment to the country.”The Virangana Project Earth site will begin accepting applications in January 2019. Finalists will be mentored at a residency at one of India’s leading accelerators before being flown to Energy Labs’ facilities in Sydney for further mentoring before staging its final pitch event around September next year.

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