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Call for startups: IREN Startup Award, 2nd edition - Deadline: 9th September 2018

IREN Startup Award - Call for Startups

IREN, a top player among Italian multi-utilities, is seeking startups and technology companies that aim at revolutionizing the utilities sector for the second edition of its Startup Award, powered by Intesa Sanpaolo’s international acceleration program StartUp Initiative.

This year IREN is launching IREN UP, the new Corporate Venture Capital instrument that will provide investments up to EUR 2 million to high potential technology initiatives. All startups applying for the competition, will enter automatically into the IREN UP deal flow.


  1. SEED CATEGORY: all startups or university spin-offs that have developed a technology or a product, even in prototype form, or have filed a patent, can participate.
  2. GROWTH CATEGORY: all startups or SMEs with innovative solutions that have previously carried out a seed investment round or post-revenue technology initiatives that have already accounted a turnover of at least EUR 1 million, can participate.


1. For the winning startup of SEED category:

  • Prize/sponsorship of EUR 15.000
  • One month customized acceleration program (with non-continuous presence) in collaboration with IREN and key players of the Cleantech ecosystem.

2. For the winning startup/SME of GROWTH category: 

  • Prize/sponsorship of EUR 15.000
  • Partnership Program: one month customized program (with non-continuous presence) aimed at preparing and structuring a partnership proposal that can be implemented with IREN.


  • For the best startup in the “mobility” field: prize/sponsorship of EUR 10.000 *

* It is specified that, startups in “mobility” field will compete for the standard award (seed or growth category) with the other startups and will compete for an additional prize reserved to “mobility” startups.

Solution spaces addressed by this call include:

  • Energy (power generation, district heating, energy management)
  • Water (distribution networks, purification & treatment)
  • Waste (management, treatment, circular economy)
  • Utility Networks (operations and maintenance, metering and billing, smart grid)
  • Mobility (e-mobility, mobility as a service, sharing, vehicle-to-X, etc.)
  • Value Added Services (customer engagement, marketing, new services, support to public administration)

Interested entrepreneurs can apply heresubmitting a business plan or executive summary of their project no later than September 9th, 2018:

When completing the application form, please indicate in the field “Short description of your start-up/business idea”, in addition to your business description, whether you are applying for the SEED or GROWTH category.

If you are already registered on, you can apply even more easily. Just send an email to attaching your updated business plan or executive summary and indicating the category (SEED or GROWTH) for which you would like to apply.

Applications will be reviewed and screened by the organizers on the basis of six key drivers:

  • Team (complementary skills, commitment and own resources, ability to involve relevant advisors)
  • Market opportunity (addressable market size and growth projections, go-to-market, competitive landscape)
  • Product (need you are solving, design and innovation, competitive advantages, development stage)
  • Defensibility (barriers to entry such as IP if applicable, otherwise time-to-market and traction)
  • Economics (5-year plan with robust assumptions, use of funds raised, ROI strategy)
  • Fit with IREN’s strategy (to learn more about our business units visit

The program is structured as follows:

  • Sep 27-28 – Boot Camp (Torino): admitted startups will receive two full days of investor readiness and business development coaching delivered by experienced angel investor from California and a tech M&A veteran. One-to-one remote coaching sessions will be scheduled in the following weeks.
  • Oct 16 – Deal Line-Up (Parma): startups will pitch to a panel of experts, who will provide structured feedback and select the finalists to move forward with the program.
  • Oct 29 – Arena Meeting (Genova): the startups selected at the Deal Line-Up will have 10 minutes to pitch their project to a targeted audience of IREN executives looking for Open Innovation opportunities, on the backdrop of the prestigious Festival della Scienza.

The program is free of charge; selected companies will need to cover their own travel and accommodation. By applying you allow the organizers to film the program’s activities, and use your image in promotional footage.

For any further questions, feel free to contact us.