GE’s Ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid is an open call to action for businesses,
entrepreneurs, innovators and students seeking breakthrough ideas to create a cleaner, more efficient and economically viable grid, and accelerate the adoption of smart grid technologies.
The Challenge invites people to come together to take on one of the world’s toughest challenges - building the next-generation power grid to meet the needs of the 21st century.
Selected Ecomagination Challenge entrants will be offered the opportunity to develop a commercial relationship with GE through:
Investment: the $200 million capital pledge of GE and its partners will be invested globally into promising start-ups and ideas
Validation: evaluationof entrant’sbusiness strategy through in-depth discussions with GE‘s technical and commercial teams
Distribution: exploration of partnership opportunities with GE to scale a business and create global reach
Development: leveraging of GE‘s technical infrastructure and GE Global Research Centers to accelerate technology and product development
Growth: exploration of opportunities for utilizing existing GE customer relationships for your go-to-market strategy
The Challenge, launched in collaboration with leading venture capital firms RockPort Capital, KPCB , Foundation Capital, and Emerald Technology Ventures and with Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief, Wiredmagazine is part of GE’s ecomagination initiative, a global commitment to build innovative clean energy technologies and will help fund the most promising ideas.
Submitting an Idea
After registering, you may enter as many ideas as you wish in the three categories: Renewables, Grid Efficiency and Eco Homes/Eco Buildings between July 13 and September 30, 2010.
Your entry must include a clear, detailed proposal describing an innovative, original smart grid technology. Please use English for your entry. Let us know if you have already filed a patent application or received a patent on any part of your entry.
We’d also like to know about you, your team, and how you came up with the idea. A video is optional but a simple photo of you, your organization or your team is required.
Sharing and Protecting Your Ideas
Your entry is your intellectual property. Make sure it is original and that you have the right to submit it. Do not share confidential information with us—check our Terms & Conditions for details. GE has the right to review your entry and post a reasonable amount of information about it on Ecomagination.com/challenge – such as the short description in your online submission form and any photo or video that you submit.
Judging & Rounds
Representatives of GE and its investment partners will form an evaluation committee to consider possible investments in you or your company. GE has also selected an Ecomagination Challenge panel of judges, including individuals from GE’s business units, representatives from academia, venture capital firms, government research specialists and others.
The panel of judges will select entries to receive cash awards. The panel will evaluate each entry based on merit; reliance on science and engineering fundamentals; innovative character; potential to create significant societal impact; commercial feasibility in light of applicable market dynamics; and other factors deemed appropriate by the judges.
Round 1: From July 13 – September 30, 2010
The general public will vote on ideas that they consider the most promising smart grid technologies; however, the ultimate decision will rest with GE.
Round 2: From October 1 – November 30, 2010
In late October, GE will announce those entrants with whom GE intends to pursue commercial relationships. In November, GE will announce any business deals with GE that have been formalized.
Meet the Judges
We thought it would be useful to provide some information about who is judging the submissions. We have already begun to identify ideas that have peaked our interest and meet our requirements. Promising ideas span all three categories we developed with a focus on filling the power grid development and deployment gap.
With such a high volume of submissions, we have created a data visualization to help you follow these ideas more closely based on your area of interest. Please do take a look.
There are three new judges that will help select the $100,000 Challenge winners and contribute input as the evaluation committee considers ideas for investment and commercial opportunity relationships. The new judges are:
Steve Vassallo, Venture Partner with our Challenger partner Foundation Capital
Olaf J. Groth, founder and CEO of Emergent Frontiers Group, helps clients by applying foresight, strategy and innovation methodologies.
Arno Harris, CEO of Recurrent Energy, a leading developer of solar projects for utilities and large energy users
Of course, these names are in addition the judges that have already been named, Global Research Center's Mark Little, Digital Energy's Bob Gilligan, and Wired’s Chris Anderson.
With such a solid roster of experts and deep pool of Challenge ideas, we look forward to some interesting debates, discussions and effective results.
The entry receiving the most user-submitted votes, will receive, subject to GE’s review for appropriate content, a cash award of $50,000.
GE will present each of five innovation challenge award recipients with $100,000 in cash, for a total of $500,000, to acknowledge these entries as examples of outstanding entrepreneurship and innovation.
Judges may also award one or more entrant:
GE Scientific Merit Award to work with the GRC
The evaluation committee will consider one or more of the following for selected entrants:
An equity investment by GE or others
A cooperative agreement to develop a product or technology
A review of your product or service for possible qualification to be a part of the GE Ecomagination program.
Things to Consider
The Ecomagination Challenge is focused on finding new and more intelligent grid technologies and processes, as well as better business models. When preparing your submission, please consider:
Originality – We are looking for innovative smart grid solutions. Is your entry unique?
Feasibility– We are looking for functional solutions that can enjoy success in the marketplace. Is your entry cost-effective, or can it be made so?
Impact – If successfully realized, will your entry help turn our current energy challenge into an opportunity?
Keeping these three criteria in mind will help you formulate an entry that stands the best chance of being noticed.
Any individual 18 years old or older can participate, as can any organization, except a bankrupt person or organization and/or a criminal offender under any national penal system. (GE employees are not eligible to enter.)
If you are participating as a team, one designated team leader must be solely responsible for all activities related to the competition.