German company RWE, the third largest electricity and energy supplier in Europe, is announcing its first startup competition in Israel. The company, whose market cap is $7 billion, wants to invest in Israeli technologies, mainly in logistics, retail trade, and cooperative ventures, capable of increasing the supply of its products to its European customers. The winning entrepreneurs will take part in the company's innovation program in Germany, and begin cooperating with the company and its customers.
Exactly one year ago, "Globes" revealed that RWE was looking for investments in Israeli technologies as part of its strategy of expanding its global business. The company plans to invests tens of millions of euros in finding technologies that will enable it to provide added value to its customers. In addition to Israel, the company is also seeking investments in Silicon Valley.
Now, a year after entering Israel, RWE is inviting Israeli entrepreneurs at all development stages to submit their candidacy in a competition. The company's innovation program will include access to the 23 million households and businesses it serves all over Europe. An event will be held next week at the South of Salame (SOSA) site in Tel Aviv, at which information about the competition will be provided, and where entrepreneurs can register for it.
"This is a golden opportunity for Israeli entrepreneurs to take part in innovation by one of the largest companies in Europe," RWE Israel Innovation Center general manager Mickey Steiner told "Globes." RWE works in energy, but the technologies it's looking for are diverse ones that will help it compete in the digital world - technologies that are beyond our comfort zone - our main field of business.
Steiner explained that one of the areas the company is interested in is cooperative ventures and cooperative consumption. This model enables people to share with others the products and services they own. "Uber disrupted the taxi and vehicle leasing market, even though it did not own a single car, and Airbnb revolutionized the hotel business without owning a single hotel. We're looking for the next Uber and Airbnb."
According to an analysis by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the cooperative ventures sector's 2013 revenue totaled $15 billion, and 30% average annual growth is projected for it until 2025. "For example, think about somebody who can charge his electric car using solar panels on other people's roofs," Steiner says, "or technology that can make it possible to charge smartphones in public areas and attract customers to businesses."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on March 15, 2016
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