Spark wins the Energy Hack 2019
After six weeks of working to develop a project aiming to power the energy transition, on 16th October Energy Hack 19 finalists pitched their ideas to an expert judging panel for a chance to win part of $35,000 in prize money.
Hack team SPARK won the $20,000 first prize money for their idea, an 'app-first device-second’ service-based home energy platform with a tailored user experience and innovative energy consumption monitoring.
For the fourth year the University of Melbourne and Energy Hack founding partner Powershop Australia have hosted a community of energy entrepreneurs at the hackathon, however a new format transformed the typical weekend long hackathon and expanded it into a six week-long mini start-up incubator.
During that time teams formed and developed ideas aimed at improving energy affordability, reliability, and/or reducing emissions. Over several mentoring sessions with industry experts, hackers turned these ideas into tangible business models.
Out of thirteen teams determined to harness the consumer and technology revolution in energy, only five made it into the Final Pitch night.
Anthea Harris, Deputy Secretary of the newly formed Energy Group at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, opened the evening with an inspiring speech on the importance of innovation in the energy transition. The teams pitched their concepts to a panel of industry expert judges including Michael Bielinski (Siemens), Lauren Kane (Powershop Australia), Prof Michael Brear (University of Melbourne) and David Havyatt (Energy Consumers Australia).
The winning teams’ projects delivered benefits to energy consumers through effectively utilising new business models and digital technologies. The prizes went to:
1st prize of $20K: SPARK – a UX design focused service-based home energy platform
2nd prize $10K: FUN-E – a board game on the energy mix and how it’s operated to produce electricity
3rd prize of $5K: Countersine - an electricity load shifting tool for households and small businesses
Energy Hack is one of Australia’s largest energy hackathons, and brings together industry, academics, professionals, students and start-ups to collaborate on some of the most pressing challenges of the energy transition.
Powershop Australia Manager for Customer Experience Lauren Kane said “Our partnership with The University of Melbourne – now in its fourth year – to support the Energy Hack is reflective of Powershop’s vision to work towards a better energy future. Since the beginning, the Energy Hack has challenged how things are done in the energy industry and forced us to question how it could be done better thanks to innovative solutions. It’s been a pleasure to support and watch the teams foster ideas that could positively impact the industry, customers and renewable energy.”
Professor Michael Brear, Director Melbourne Energy Institute said, “The new, extended format of the Energy Hack helped facilitate high calibre projects. Teams worked with leading industry mentors over several weeks, developing business models that are exemplars of energy innovation. Australia’s energy transition will be powered by the kind of passion and talent on display at the Energy Hack.”
With the support of AEMO, Arup, the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group, City of Melbourne, IBM, Siemens and the Victorian State Government, the format of Energy Hack 19 enabled a more skilled and networked generation of energy start-ups in Australia.