A2A Call for Ventures: Clean Tech Solutions

43 Submissions
266 Views
$50,000 USD
Due:  13th May 2024

Challenge overview

OVERVIEW

Are you an entrepreneur with technologies, fresh ideas, or experience in energy transition and the circular economy? A2A Life Ventures is looking for startup ideas and intellectual property that have the potential to enhance people’s quality of life while advancing a global shift towards sustainable energy practices and the circular economy. These could be regarding: waste collection or management; energy production, storage, or trading; water; e-mobility; utilities; smart city solutions; public lighting, district heating, or similar.

Solvers or organizations with start-up/business/non-technological ideas, intellectual property in technology or products, or the experience in developing these into ventures are asked to apply to the A2A Life Ventures program.

Solvers have the opportunity to win awards with their patented or non-patented solutions as well as being given the opportunity to take part in the corporate venture building program. This opportunity is at A2A’s discretion, and comes with financial and non-financial support during the Incubation, Acceleration, and Scale phases where A2A helps to develop world-changing ventures.

This Challenge is open to all Solver types, with distinct award categories offered alongside venture participation: participants with patented solutions could win between $30,000 to $50,000, patentable contributions could win between $20,000 to $30,000, and those with promising, non-patented concepts could win between $10,000 to $15,000!

This is a Prize Challenge which requires a written proposal to be submitted. Awards will be contingent upon the theoretical evaluation of the proposal by A2A and participation in the Investor Day competition.

To receive an award for this Prize Challenge, Solvers are required to transfer exclusive rights to the Intellectual Property (IP) in their proposed solution. Solvers will retain all rights to any proposal not Awarded, after the end of the exclusivity period. A2A is also open to non-exclusive transfer for a partial award if exclusive IP cannot be transferred by the Solver.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on May 13th, 2024.

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ABOUT THE SEEKER & ELIGIBILITY

 

The A2A Group is the largest Italian multi-utility, at the forefront of territorial services and technological solutions. We design smart and sustainable cities, with respect for the citizens, we are protagonists of energy transition, and we implement the principle of the circular economy in all our activities. With a far-reaching strategic plan, we manage the generation, sale and distribution of electricity and gas, district heating, waste collection and recovery, e-mobility, public lighting, and the integrated water services.

Candidates who propose an idea can also express their interest in becoming part of our Venture Builder program, which includes a 3-months full-time incubation phase.

The candidate’s eligibility to the incubation phase is at the sole discretion of A2A and will depend on the entrepreneurial capabilities of the candidate and, in the case of international candidates, the feasibility, including the ability to facilitate visas for international participant (which we will also specify in our Terms & Conditions).

Find out more about participation in Wazoku Crowd Challenges.

 

BACKGROUND

A2A, a global Life Company, will invest around €16 billion over the next 10 years on the strategic pillars of their circularity and sustainable practices plan. As part of this, the company is launching its new Venture Builder: A2A Life Ventures. This initiative is to identify and create new growth opportunities at the edge of core business models and technologies.

To support the future of the circular economy, both people and ideas will be of extraordinary importance. The A2A Life Ventures program aims to combine the two, bringing solutions from inside and outside the company and existing ecosystem to give the program the best chance of changing the world.

Successful ideas will enter our corporate venture building process where A2A will support them with financial and non-financial support, during three distinct phases:

  • Incubation (3-5 months): This phase concludes with refining the problem statement, validating solutions, analyzing the market, and crafting a business model.
  • Acceleration (9-12 months): Here, the MVP (minimum viable product) sees the light of day, and a robust go-to-market strategy takes shape. Throughout this period, the concept undergoes rigorous tests to ensure it meets market needs, holds up technically, and is economically viable.
  • Scale: The entrepreneur advances the growth of the venture, either internally at A2A or as part of the management team of the new venture in the case of spin-off, with a direct equity participation of the owner.

To learn more about the Venture Builder process at A2A, you can read the document attached to the Challenge: ‘Guidelines for the Call to Venture’.

In this Challenge, Solvers can be awarded for their patented solutions, patentable solutions, or non-patented concepts, as well as being given the opportunity to take part in the venture program. This participation is two-sided: both from Solver interest in participation and from A2A’s eligibility rules and regulations. A2A is looking for a shortlist of 10-15 Solvers who submit innovative patented solutions or promising non-patented concepts to move forward into the challenge selection process.

These 10-15 submissions will be evaluated and selected by A2A to participate in an ‘enrichment’ phase. Selected ideas in this phase will receive expert guidance by the A2A Life Ventures team to refine the concepts and pitch preparation for an investor day. For technology-based solutions, the enrichment phase will be about shaping the opportunity space of the technology. For those solutions with a focus on the business concept rather than the technology, enrichment will take the form of better understanding the market.

During the Investor Day, in June or July 2024, shortlisted Solvers and their solutions will be evaluated. The winners will be selected for the award and, if they want to and it aligns with A2A’s eligibility criteria, they will be given the chance to participate in the A2A Life Ventures program. While the Investor Day will be online, in the case of physical presence being required, A2A will subsidize travel expenses.
 

THE CHALLENGE

A2A’s Venture Builder is seeking startup ideas that have the potential to enhance people's quality of life while advancing the global shift towards sustainable energy practices and the circular economy. A2A Life Ventures will support in end-to-end delivery of ideas from theory to practice, acquiring technology or IP and designing for the future, as well as collaborating with outside parties and their companies or patents.

This Challenge is open to all Solver types, with two distinct award opportunities alongside venture participation. Individuals or teams with innovative start-up ideas are encouraged to apply, and existing or already-incorporated startups are encouraged to apply for potential joint partnerships in these areas.

A2A Life Ventures is offering participants with patented solutions awards between $30,000 to $50,000, those with patentable solutions between $20,000 to $30,000, and offering awards between $10,000 to $15,000 for promising, non-patented concepts. Solvers or organizations are asked to submit ideas that will help to accelerate sustainable energy practices and new business ventures, that could successfully scale up with the Corporate Venture Builder process. Submissions should take the form of:

  1. Startup ideas, introducing new services, products or innovative business models
  2. Intellectual property, with an underlying technology or product that can serve as the basis for creating new businesses

These submissions can use different types of IP, but please explicitly state in your submission if you are submitting:

  • Exclusive IP: patented solutions that can be leveraged for commercial purposes by A2A Life Ventures, through assignment/acquisition or licensing.
  • Non-patented solutions: around which A2A can build viable businesses.

In order to show Solvers the scope of awards for their submission type and solution, please see the following table:

Type of Intellectual property in submission Awards
Non-patentable Contributions: Startup ideas based on new services or innovative business models that do not meet patentability criteria such as novelty, inventive step, and industrial applicability. The prize will range between $10,000 and $15,000.
Patented Contributions: Innovative products/technologies that are already subject to a patent or another exclusive right. The prize will range between $30,000 and $50,000, with the necessary transfer of intellectual and industrial property rights to the A2A Group, through assignment or licensing.
Patentable Contributions: Products or technological processes that meet the patentability criteria but have not yet obtained a patent grant or another exclusive right. The prize will range between $20,000 and $30,000, with the necessary transfer of intellectual and industrial property rights to the A2A Group, upon filing of the respective exclusive right application.

 

 

A2A are searching for ideas (technological and otherwise) and people interested in developing their ideas with us, in these fields:

  • Customer Base: A2A Group supplies gas, electricity, and services to 2 million users daily.
  • Waste Collection: Includes street cleaning and sanitation services.
  • Waste Management: Innovative strategies and technologies for waste treatment and disposal.
  • Energy Production and Storage: Solutions for energy generation and storage.
  • Energy Trading: Methods and technologies for energy trading and sales.
  • Energy Infrastructure: Development and optimization of energy networks.
  • Water Management: Innovations for water distribution and treatment.
  • E-Mobility: Projects that align with existing plans for installing 24,000 electric charging points by 2030.
  • Public Lighting: Innovative solutions for urban lighting.
  • District Heating: Technologies and methods for improving and expanding district heating systems.
  • Smart City: Initiatives to make cities smarter and more sustainable.

Outside of the listed topics, feel free to click here to explore our assets and propose further ideas. Moreover, for ideas that can lead to groundbreaking innovations, we're all ears!

To learn more about how your personal data will be handled and managed by A2A with regards to this Challenge, please view and refer to the attached document ‘A2A Call for Ventures: Clean Tech Solutions – Processing of Personal Data’. Any questions on this topic can be directed to crowd@wazoku.com and will be dealt with promptly and in accordance with GDPR regulations.

 

SOLUTION REQUIREMENTS

Solvers are asked to submit startup ideas that have the potential to enhance people’s quality of life while advancing the global shift towards sustainable energy practices and the circular economy. These solutions must respond to the topic areas listed in ‘The Challenge’ section or a similar, related area not listed in the Challenge but present in A2A’s portfolio.

To meet A2A Life Ventures’ goals, Solvers’ innovations or innovative startup ideas must respond to: a specific but global ‘pain point’ that is scalable and aligned to A2A’s strategic plan; breakthrough innovation(s) that offers transformative answers to these problems (both technological and non-technological); and industrial synergy where ventures must align with A2A’s strategic vision (energy transition and circular economy).

Regardless of the specific approach, all successful solutions should meet the following must-have Solution Requirements that will form the basis of evaluation:

  1. Desirability: finding customer needs. Does anyone want it?
  2. Feasibility: determining product or service. What should we build?
  3. Viability: designing the business. How would this work towards A2A goals, fiscal or otherwise?
  4. Suitability: how this aligns to other programs. Should we build it?
  5. Capability: venture team members and participation. Can we get the right people?

Solvers who propose an idea can also express their interest in becoming part of our Venture Builder program, which includes a 3-month incubation phase. Participation as an individual with your solution in the Venture Builder is at A2A’s discretion, per their eligibility criteria. More details about the Venture Builder can be found in the document attached to the Challenge: ‘Guidelines for the Call for Venture’. Any innovations proposed by Solvers to enter the Corporate Venture Builder process must also be aligned to the entry criteria, detailed in the Challenge Agreement and in the Terms & Conditions.

Solutions with Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) 1-9 are invited, for ideation submissions considering WHAT to do, for proof of concept submissions detailing HOW to achieve this, and for production ready submissions requiring collaboration proposals about existing technologies and/or WHO can provide these.

This is a Prize Challenge, which has the following features:

  1. The best solution(s) in this Prize Challenge have the opportunity to win an award of between $30,000 to $50,000 if patented, or between $20,000 to $30,000 if the solution is patentable, or from $10,000 to $15,000 if a promising non-patented concept, as solely determined by A2A.
  2. In the case of non-patented solutions or ideas, the proposed solution should offer the Seeker “freedom to practice.” There should be no third-party patent art preventing the use of specific equipment and materials for their commercial application.
  3. Awards will be contingent upon the theoretical evaluation of the proposal by A2A and participation in the Investor Day competition in June/July 2024.
  4. To receive an award for this Prize Challenge, Solvers are required to transfer exclusive rights to the Intellectual Property (IP) in their proposed solution, through assignment/acquisition or licensing. Solvers will retain all rights to any proposal not Awarded, after the end of the exclusivity period. A2A is also open to non-exclusive transfer for a partial award if exclusive IP cannot be transferred by the Solver.
  5. A2A may also issue “Honorable Mention” recognitions for notable submissions that are not selected for monetary awards.

 

YOUR SUBMISSION

Please login and register your interest to complete the submission form.

The submission form requires a degree of knowledge about your existing work and potential for A2A’s Life Ventures program involvement. In the form, you will be asked for:

  • Participation Type: whether you are submitting as a Solver (Individual), Solver (Team), or Solver (Organization).
  • Submission Type: whether you are submitting a startup idea or intellectual property.
  • Protection of IP in your Submission: whether you are submitting patented solutions or non-patented concepts, technologies, or products; including relevant details and references where necessary about Prior Art Search and IP protection.
  • Interest in joining the A2A Life Ventures program. Successful entry into the Life Ventures process will be solely determined by A2A, with more details in the attachment ‘Guidelines for the Call for Venture’.
  • Key Topic Area your proposal addresses.
  • Overview of your submission: what is the idea or technology, how does it work, links to relevant documentation, ideas about the business model, market, and competitive landscape, and any particular USPs or geographical focuses.
  • Progress of your solution to-date: have you already developed anything, customer research, preliminary use cases, potential value for A2A, and what A2A assets would you leverage to accelerate development.
  • Personal Details: if there is interest in joining the venture should one be created, please state role divisions, ideas, as well as potential team member details and descriptions.

Wazoku encourages the use by Solvers of AI approaches to help develop their submissions, though any produced solely with generative AI are not of interest.

Find out more about participation in Wazoku Crowd Challenges.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on May 13th, 2024.

Late submissions will not be considered.

Your submission will be evaluated by the evaluation team first reviewing the information and content you have submitted at the submission form, with attachments used as additional context to your form submission. Submissions relying solely on attachments will receive less attention from the evaluation team.

After the Challenge submission due date, A2A will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the winning solution(s) according to the timeline in the Challenge header. All Solvers who submit a proposal will be notified about the status of their submissions.

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Visit the Wazoku Crowd Community to take part in the discussion.

Macrocompassion Macrocompassion

This is a great idea for innovations, but my doubts are if it is broad enough to attract a sufficient range of ideas and proposals. For example, if it could include how national taxation systems could be better arranged, I would happily jump on the opportunity to make a significant contribution of an idea and a suitable (related) proposal. My basic claim is that first we need to better understand how our social system of macroeconomics really works (after deciding of what operationally it actually consists). (Those interested or concerned can write to me for a free e-copy of my book about it.) So unless this call for ideas and their subsequent proposals, was wider in scope, I cannot show how my claims could be used to answer what this challenge is calling for in the more general sense. Just make a comment below with your e-address.

Henry Crabtree (EN) Henry Crabtree (EN)

@Macrocompassion Hi David, if there’s a chance you could apply your macroeconomic principles to potential start-up areas in Clean Tech Solutions, I encourage you to apply! Great to hear from you and best of luck.

Macrocompassion Macrocompassion

@Henry Crabtree (EN) Thanks Henry for replying. I am not a person who applies new principles to local government, I would prefer for better elected people to be responsible and do that, but this responsibility should surely follow good knowledge and true understanding. These days our existing way for explaining macroeconomics is so hopelessly complicated and biased by political, commercial and even religious interests, that a new and much better scientific method is needed before we can proceed to better government. So I decided to provide the unbiased but logically based means to replace all that past wrongly inspired intuition, with logic and more proper resulting analysis.However, following these reasonings, I do have a vital suggestion for how to better organize how our sites of useful land should be more sensibly shared. The relative opportunity each provides is expressed as the ground-rent, were the site being occupied by a tenant. This rent should be paid to the government to replace all the rest of the taxes we otherwise are compelled to pay. It would have the effect of providing more opportunity and less speculation in the useful but unused sites that exist in cities that are limited by greed in their growth.

Branko Branko

How many patents/patentable concepts in the field of energy generation/conversion can a researcher/innovator send? For instance, I have several of them. Thanks

Henry Crabtree (EN) Henry Crabtree (EN)

@Branko Hi Branko, I believe as long as your ideas are different enough from one another, you can submit multiple solutions! Similar solutions with small variances are probably not as relevant. Thanks for the Q and hope this helps!

Branko Branko

@Henry Crabtree (EN) Thank you very much for your kind reply. I think that they are sufficiently different from one another, although they apply for one and the same field - energy production/conversion. It will be interesting to see the client’s reactions. 😀

Macrocompassion Macrocompassion

Philosophy of change Change brings pain,pain brings suffering,suffering brings tolerance,tolerance brings thinking,thinking brings knowledge,knowledge brings understanding, understanding brings wisdomand wisdom makes life bearable.😎

Henry Crabtree (EN) Henry Crabtree (EN)

Hi everyone! This Challenge has been extended to the 13th May, as you can see - this is exciting as A2A will hopefully be awarding multiple Solvers - the prizes in this Challenge could go in full to multiple winners. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with and please send them your startup/venture ideas!