Kitemill, participant in the Techmakers green program 2016


Thomas Hårklau, Kitemill

Kitemill, develops Airborne Wind Energy (AWE) technology based on the strong and consistent winds at altitudes 500 – 1500 meters above ground level. AWE will be especially suited to change the global energy mix as the Levelized Cost of Energy will drop due to reduced investment cost combined with increased energy yield.

What inspired you to start Kitemill?  

The early-stage idea was born from a marketing campaign at a company I used to work for. A team of us set out to beat the world record to build the fastest kite technology for fast-going sea vessels. Some of us realized that we had unique competencies in this area, and we started to investigate potential industrial spin-offs. After looking into the potential of airborne wind energy, we were convinced. We knew that this kind of technology had market potential and could really make a positive impact on the world.

How did Kitemill get to where it is today?
We founded the company with our largest investor, Jon Gjerde, in 2008. In the early years of the company, we focused heavily on research and development (R&D) and we’ve adapted our technology design several times. In 2010, we partnered with Kongsberg Innovasjon and set up a major R&D contract. This gave us access to the unique competencies at the Kongsberg industrial cluster. To test our prototypes, we have established a test facility in Lista where we also found our first customer. Throughout this development process, we have kept the team small and specialized, and we continue to rely on competent strategic partners. Innovasjon Norge has played an important supportive role.

How has the Techmakers Accelerator program helped shape the business?
The Techmakers program helped our company develop in several ways. For example, the program put us into contact with key industrial partners. Techmakers also brought a lot of attention to our company, so we became more visible in the market. This helped us in subsequent funding rounds. The business development coaching was also helpful. In one particular gathering, Statkraft shared valuable business perspectives that Kitemill has since used to help shape our current strategy. Finally, Kitemill benefited from connecting with other startups in the program. We are still in touch with most of them and we continue to learn from each other’s experiences.

Where do you hope to see the business by the end of 2018?
Wind energy is becoming more and more integrated into the strategies of large energy supply companies, so the future looks bright. We have recently acquired our first customer and by the end of 2017, we aim to make our first sale and delivery. In 2018, we will be heading for positive cash flow and by 2019, we aim to achieve positive cash flows by increasing customers and sales.

If you had one piece of advice for green tech start-ups, what would it be?
Look for opportunities and faults, always adapt and make it personal to never quit.

 

 


Kyoto Group, participant in the Techmakers green program 2016

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Jon Bøhmer, Kyoto Group

Kyoto Group, develops a unique, yet simple, system that generates solar power for industrial installations. Kyoto is currently cooperating with Kenya’s largest production plant for tea. The mission is to use Kyoto’s technology, based on solar energy, to dry tea. 

What inspired you to start Kyoto?  

It started with an experiment – the Kyoto Box. I wanted to test how easy it could be to create solar power with mirrors instead of solar panels. The sun is the biggest energy resource. It exists everywhere, and it is easy to generate energy from it. Think about the world’s demand for heat, power, energy… it is huge. Almost all factories need heat in one way or the other, and today, most factories use fossil fuels to generate heat. I want to change that.

How did Kyoto get to where it is today?
Hard work, investing time in developing the company, and finding the right customer base.

How has the Techmakers Accelerator program helped shape the business?
Techmakers has first and foremost helped us to get in touch with other startups within our field. It has been difficult to work within clean tech because, in Norway, oil and gas has been the focus. It has been very valuable to meet, discuss and share knowledge with other startups in the clean tech sector. Techmakers is also a great arena for meeting potential investors and relevant industry partners. Since our participation in the program, we have entered several partnerships – for instance with Kongsberg Innovasjon. Overall, Techmakers is a unique program that gives experience, exposure and support as well as guidance.

Where do you hope to see the business by the end of 2018?
By the end of 2018, we aim to finalize the development of our technology, test the technology and install it.

What advice do you have for startups who want to raise money?
Fundraising is time consuming, our best tip is to involve yourself in environments that can offer pre-seed funding. It is also a good idea to join programs like Techmakers that can put you into contact with potential partners and investors.

 

 


Kube Energy, participant in the Techmakers green program 2016

Kube Energy provides clean and affordable solar power for businesses and organizations operating in areas of Africa where electricity is expensive and unreliable.

What inspired you to start Kube?  

I was working in the field with the United Nations and my co-founder, Mikael, with the World Bank. We noticed that these international organizations were using a lot of resources on supplying electricity to operations in the field– mainly supplied by expensive, polluting diesel generators. When asked why they hadn’t considered different energy solutions, the organizations often sited the same challenges: limitations in capital, technical knowledge and maintenance capacity. Both Mikael and I wanted to create a concept that could overcome these challenges, and we decided to establish Kube in 2015.

How did Kube get to where it is today?

Hard work and grit!

How has the Techmakers Accelerator program helped shape the business

We have really benefited from the Techmakers network. We were new to the Norwegian business landscape, and Techmakers introduced us to leading industrial actors and a number of potential investors. One example is Eltek, who has become one of Kube’s partners since the program. The network with the other Techmaker start-ups working in the same sector also proved to be very helpful. For example, other more mature start-ups in Techmakers shared valuable fundraising experiences with us. When it was time to start fundraising for Kube, we were ready!

Where do you hope to see the business by the end of 2018?
In 2016, we really focused on market research. In 2017, we aim to use what we learned and implement our first system to demonstrate the possibilities of our model. We hope to do 10 installations in 2017 and will double that number in 2018.

What advice do you have for startups who want to raise money?
Fundraising takes a lot of time, so start building relationships as early as possible. We involved our partners in the business development stage, so they primarily invested time before they came in with capital. It is important to establish trust with investors before asking for money.