Talk Community – with Mark Howitt

Since competing in the Initiate! Startup Award last year at EUW, what are the key transformations you/ your company have undergone/ are undergoing?
We’ve been further developing our design and our partnerships with six of the leading multinationals in their fields. The fact that Siemens, Alstom, Balfour Beatty, PriceWaterhouse Coopers, Dentons and a global chemicals manufacturer want to be associated with Storelectric is not only an outstanding stamp of approval for what we’re doing, but also a big statement that each of them is a forward-thinking business with a keen interest in environmentally beneficial energy technologies.
We have also been seeking partners to invest in our pilot plant, both commercial partners (such as energy traders and hydrocarbons businesses) and financiers. They are all surprised at how little is needed to build a new global industry, and many are looking to see how it can fit into their strategies and funds.
Tell us why you are so passionate about this industry / The Initiate! Startup Award and its relevance to the industry
The world’s climate is changing: the world is heating up. Unless we enable civilisation to power itself soon with renewable generation, our children and grandchildren will inherit an irreversibly damaged planet: I couldn’t look them in the eye and say I didn’t try. All the renewable generation technologies are at or near commercial viability if only we could store the energy at the same scale. And, uniquely, Storelectric can.
The Initiate! Startup Award is recognition from the industry of not only the quality of our innovation and of our business model but also of our scale of ambition and its feasibility. It helps us when we approach these partners to be able to point to this level of recognition from within the industry.
According to you, tell us which startups/individuals you think we should keep an eye on now and in the coming years and why?
I think that Open Utility, who also won an Initiate! Startup Award is worth watching: they enable interested organisations to pick and choose the origins of their power, enabling consumers to influence the energy industry in the most direct way possible, providing price and selection signals as to the locations and technologies in which investment is most wanted.
If you could give one piece of advice to a startup what would that be and why?
Once you have a viable solution, simplify it to its most basic version that does not lose most of its benefits. The rest can be added later. This will reduce the level of investment needed, improve the returns on that investment, shorten development times, reduce risk and also provide you with a strategy to roll out continuing improvements to your product and/or service.

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