Through Open Innovation
• Largest challenge of its kind continues with a global call for the best eco-home ideas
• GE and venture capital partners seek innovations to improve household energy efficiency and harness wind, solar, hydro and biomass power
GE announced today a new phase of its $200 million open innovation challenge. Building on the record-breaking global success of the “ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid,” GE and its venture capital partners today announced the “Powering Your Home” Challenge, which begins January 18 and seeks the best ideas for harnessing and managing energy at home.
GE announced this new investment phase at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, where the company is demonstrating its ecomagination home technologies. The global challenge invites technologists, entrepreneurs and start-ups to share their best ideas and come together to build and improve the eco home of the future with new technologies. The Challenge is one of the largest ever with more than 4,000 ideas submitted and more than 1,100 in the category of home energy use. In the next phase of the Challenge, these ideas will be reexamined and participants are encouraged to submit new ideas or resubmit an idea if it has evolved. The Challenge will be open between January 18 and March 1, 2011 at ecomagination.com/challenge.
“We launched the Challenge to spur innovation that will help transform how we create, connect and use power, and the number of passionate and innovative people who got involved to collaborate on global energy solutions has been a real eye-opener for GE,” said Beth Comstock, chief marketing officer and senior vice president, GE. “Thousands of ideas were entered to help build the next-generation power grid, and a significant number of these submissions focused on how we use energy. The volume of ideas in this area sparked us to take a new look at consumer energy usage and focus on innovation that people can touch and feel – solutions that can help harness and improve energy efficiency at home.”
In addition to investment, commercial relationships and other partnership opportunities, the judging panel of GE executives and leading academics and technologists will select five $100,000 Innovation Award winners whose ideas represent pioneering entrepreneurship and innovation. The judging panel for this phase will also include a group of leading participants who submitted ideas in the first phase and have agreed to serve as Challenge Community Leaders. In this role, they will help to judge the “Powering Your Home” ideas, and help guide the Challenge as it evolves and progresses.
The Challenge launched in July 2010 in collaboration with leading venture capital firms Emerald Technology Ventures, Foundation Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and RockPort Capital, and Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief, Wired magazine. In addition, UK-based Carbon Trust, a not-for-profit company that works with business to reduce carbon emissions has also joined as a partner to bring their proven expertise in commercializing low carbon technologies. The Challenge is part of GE’s ecomagination business strategy and was formed as a global commitment to build innovative, clean-energy technologies and help fund the most promising ideas. Proposals are sought in two broad categories of the eco-home: energy efficiency, including management software, appliances and air conditioning; and renewable power, including solar, wind, hydro and biomass.
Select Challenge entrants will be offered the opportunity to develop a commercial relationship with GE through:
• Investment: $55 million of the $200 million has already been committed by GE and its partners and the evaluation of opportunities to deploy resources to fund promising ideas continues;
• Validation: evaluate entrant’sbusiness strategy through in-depth discussions with GE‘s technical and commercial teams;
• Distribution: explore partnership opportunities with GE to scale a business and create global reach;
• Development: leverage GE‘s technical infrastructure and GE Global Research Centers to accelerate technology and product development; or
• Growth: explore opportunities for utilizing existing GE customers to take Challenge products to market.
Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief, Wired magazine and Challenge advisor said, “The Internet and emergence of other digital tools have paved the way for energy-efficient solutions at all levels down to the home. This next phase of the ‘ecomagination Challenge’ will fuse these new tools with innovative ideas from across the globe to improve household energy management. The overwhelming response so far demonstrates the passion people have for taking on our global energy challenges in their own way. We look forward to the ideas ready to be uncovered and accelerated through this next phase."
For more information about GE’s “ecomagination Challenge: Powering Your Home” and “Powering the Grid,” visit ecomagination.com/challenge. This site includes information about the terms and conditions, judging panel as well as details and videos about the first round of winners announced on November 16, 2010.
About GE’s ecomagination
GE is driving a global energy transformation with a focus on innovation and R&D investment to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technology. Since its inception in 2005, more than 90 ecomagination-approved products have been brought to market with revenues reaching $18 billion in 2009. With $5 billion invested in R&D its first five years, GE committed to doubling its ecomagination investment and collaborate with partners to accelerate a new era of energy innovation. The company will invest $10 billion in R&D over five years and double operational energy efficiency while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption. As part of the initiative, GE launched “GE ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid”, a $200 million financial commitment challenging innovators to join in developing clean energy technologies. It is extending this Challenge with the “GE ecomagination Challenge: Powering Your Home,” to develop technologies that help households manage their energy usage. For more information, visit ge.ecomagination.com/.
Leigh Farris - GE
P: 203 373 2599 / M: 203 551 1863 / E: leigh.farris[.]ge.com.