Initiate! Startup Award

Download the Initiate! brochure here

This year, the prestigious Initiate! Awards allowed a maximum of 65 startups the opportunity to launch their innovations and compete with each other in a 'Dragons Den'-style cross examination.

The judges have pre-selected 5 nominees that have pitched their innovations and competed with each other on the Initiate! Stage, on the 15th of November: Bee Bryte, Discovergy, PlugSurfing, Solar Change and Sympower.

And the winner is:


Jacob Van Zonneveld from PlugSurfing received the award on the Initiate! Stage.

Engerati Studio Interview with the Startup Award winner:

Startup Award Judges:

Diego Diaz Pilas has broad international experience in the Energy and Telecomms sectors in different roles related to venture capital, innovation and technology development. He is responsible for the management of the 70 M€ Iberdrola´s corporate venture capital program - Iberdrola Ventures PERSEO, aimed at investing in clean energy start-ups. He joined Iberdrola in 2008 and since then he has contributed to the launch and management of the company´s VC program, engaging its activity with the corporate innovation strategy.



Leonie Baneke is a Manager Corporate Venturing at Eneco Innovation & Ventures, responsible for identifying, structuring and managing investments in, and partnerships with, innovative companies in domains such as Smart Homes, Smart Buildings, Solar, Storage, Mobility and Demand-Response. Before joining Eneco, Leonie worked as vice president M&A at NIBC Bank (The Hague and Frankfurt). During her seven years in investment banking, Leonie has advised companies and investors in a variety of sectors on acquisitions, divestments, financial restructuring and strategic topics. Leonie holds an MSc in Finance (University of Maastricht, the Netherlands) and a BSc in International Business (University of Maastricht and University of Queensland, Australia).

Nima Taba-tabai is Head of Sales & Partnerships at Open Utility. Nima joined Open Utility in 2013 as the company’s first employee. His energy background covers both renewable and gas-powered generation sales and engineering. He has worked on international projects large and small; from GW-sized power stations, down to kW-scale community wind energy projects. Nima studied Mechanical Engineering in his hometown of Calgary, Canada, and left in 2006 to work in the UK and Switzerland.  

Since joining the company Nima has worked on connecting Open Utility’s technology to the commercial market. He’s currently leading the Growth team with securing international partnerships with electricity retailers. Nima has a strong understanding of how to develop innovative customer propositions in the energy industry and helping utilities transition towards becoming a trusted partner of their customers

Uli Huener is Head of Innovation Management at EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG. Uli previously served as the CEO of Yello Strom GmbH from September 2009 on and from March 2012 also as Managing Director of EnBW Vertriebs GmbH. Uli studied mathematics and business administration at the Universities of Bielefeld and Hamburg and obtained a Master of Science in Applied Mathematics at the California Institute of Technology. Prior to getting into the Energy Business Uli has held various senior management positions with companies in the IT and telecommunications sector in Germany as well as in the US, overall holding over 25 years of international experience - from start-ups to large corporations.

Initiate! Startup Awards 2015

Winner: Open Utility  

Read the Talk Community Interview with the 2015 winner here and see how the company has evolved since!


Nominees shortlist

  • Enervalis
  • Open Utility
  • Nnergix
  • Storelectric
  • Zenodys

Check the complete list of startups exhibiting at EUW15 here

Initiate! Startup Pavilion