Southeast Asia launches regional smart energy start-up support initiative
A regional partnership between Germany’s leading provider of international cooperation services Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF) has launched New Energy Nexus Southeast Asia (Nexus SEA), a ‘smart energy’ start-up support initiative aimed at investing and connecting local incubators to facilitate the creation of smart energy start-ups. Nexus SEA is currently funded by GIZ and The David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
“By bringing together ideas, start-ups, implementation partners and funders onto a single region-wide platform, Nexus SEA aims to accelerate the growth of a regional smart energy start-up ecosystem,” says Hendrik Tiesinga, program director New Energy Nexus at CalCEF.
According to the International Energy Agency, Southeast Asia is a “new heavyweight” player in the energy ecosystem servicing the energy needs of 640 million people, which is forecasted to grow by two-thirds from now to 2040. As the energy demand grows, fossil fuel consumption will continue to rise unless smart energy solutions are deployed faster and more efficiently. Nexus SEA seeks to accelerate the adoption of clean energy technologies and mitigate climate change by supporting the next generation of smart energy entrepreneurs.
Smart is better
While smart energy technologies are already being tested and deployed around the world, the market for deploying these technologies is still nascent in Southeast Asia. Often the energy sector is plagued by centralised and slow-moving management structures that are not sufficiently conducive to enabling new and innovative solutions such as demand response models, energy trading platforms on the blockchain, solar optimisation software, smart grids, vehicle-to-grid technologies, etc. These digital innovations are required to deploy effective clean energy technologies at scale.
By joining forces with local incubators in Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines and leveraging its global network of energy players and experience in building smart energy ecosystems, Nexus SEA aims to catalyse entrepreneurship in this sector by providing business, technology, energy expertise and financial support to new ideas and local enterprises across the energy value chain.
Full speed ahead
“After three months of scoping and due diligence, we are thrilled to announce our partnership with two leading start-up incubators in Thailand and Indonesia. Both are operating existing start-up programs and have a shared vision of building smart energy start-ups,” says Thomas Chrometzka, director Renewable Energy with GIZ in Thailand.
In Thailand, KX Made was selected as the local Nexus SEA incubator partner for its unique approach to help entrepreneurs, government, business leaders and universities become innovation leaders. KX Made is located at the Knowledge Exchange Innovation Centre in Bangkok with 20 floors and more than 28,000 square metres of co-working and innovation space and is supported by King Mongkut University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT).
“Changes in technology, policies and business models provide a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs, start-ups and investors in the smart energy and cleantech field. New Energy Nexus Southeast Asia will further stimulate this trend and kick-start the energy revolution in Thailand and Southeast Asia,” says Kris Chinosorn, CEO, KX Made.
In Indonesia, Digitaraya was selected to be the Nexus SEA incubator partner for their diverse start-up programming and ecosystem-building experience. Digitaraya runs programs such as 1000 Digital Start-ups, Google Development Group (GDG) and FemaleDev and works closely with Google, Universitas of Gadjah Mada, Bank Bukopin, Telkomsel and the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology.
“At Digitaraya we are focused on supporting Indonesia’s next generation of entrepreneurs, who are passionate about building innovative solutions to Indonesia’s most pressing challenges,” says Nicole Yap, VP of Strategy and Business Development at Digitaraya. “As the largest and most diverse market and greatest energy resource in SEA, Indonesia is well positioned to be the regional leader in smart energy solutions.”
Nexus SEA Incubator Partners will execute a three-phased approach that will integrate key stakeholders from the start-up community, energy experts, corporate sponsors and government to build smart energy start-ups that will tackle real energy challenges in the region.
New Energy Nexus Southeast Asia is an initiative with a two- to four-year implementation period. It is designed to enable incubator partners in the region to build and scale smart energy start-ups. By 2020, Nexus SEA aims to engage 1000 entrepreneurs, incubate 100 teams, partner with 10 incubators and make Southeast Asia a region for the world to follow. Interested incubators and funding partners can learn more at www.nexusea.co.
Images courtesy of Nexus Southeast Asia.