ENGIE Factory

Creating an unfair advantage: Three reasons to build your next startup with a corporate partner

Does corporate venture building sound like a contradiction to you? Sure, corporates have a lot of resources, but they are also thought of as slow, bureaucratic, and traditional. Ventures on the other hand are dynamic, innovative, and constantly striving for growth.

And yet, large corporates have a 1 in 8 chance of building viable, large scale new businesses (see this HRB article). On the other hand, 90% of start-ups fail.  

At ENGIE Factory, our Venture Build Programme combines the resources, knowledge, and networks of ENGIE Group with the passion and drive of founders to build innovative, sustainable, and scalable ventures that contribute to the zero-carbon transition. It is this combination that leads to an ‘unfair advantage’ for our ventures.

Here are three reasons why we believe our model works.

Reason 1: We solve real problems

The number one reason that startups fail is because there is no market need. Rather than being solution led, ENGIE Factory’s Venture Build Programme starts with understanding the customer.

Large corporates are successful because they have processes for making decisions based on data and robust analysis. We use this same rigor to ensure that our founders fully explore customer and market needs while using hypothesis and experiments to test assumptions.  

Our Venture Build Programme is based on the Lean Start-up methodology which, provides a structured approach to identifying the most important factors that must be either true, or solvable, if the startup is to achieve success. Once these hypotheses have been identified, we work with founders to design experiments that can effectively generate data that either supports a hypothesised path or does not.

Throughout this process of iteration, we also use tools such as the Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition Canvas to ensure that our ventures are based on a strong, data-backed commercial foundation.

All of this means that our ventures solve real problems and are well positioned to accelerate decarbonisation at scale.

Reason 2: Access knowledge, networks and resources

Unless you have a long and established career in energy (and even then), launching a startup in this space is daunting. The energy industry is complex and often highly technical which, leads to a high barrier to entry. But this high barrier to entry also means that there are immediate opportunities for innovation and disruption for those with an understanding of an industry and the right network and resources.

Our programme is designed for founders without a background in energy. We leverage ENGIE knowledge, networks and resources to help our founders rapidly get up to speed with energy needs and challenges in their chosen focus area and industry.

Each ENGIE Factory venture has a C-suite sponsor and access to ENGIE people. This provides both strategic insight and technical expertise. During the venture validation process, our venture founders also have access to ENGIE customers to test their hypothesis and value propositions.

A great example of this is one of our portfolio ventures, BillionBricks. BillionBrick’s mission is to end homelessness and before collaborating with us, the founder did not have any experience in energy. Through working closely with the ENGIE Factory team, we were able to jointly develop a commercial model where affordable housing communities could be financed through integrating rooftop solar energy generation. BillionBricks is now working closely with ENGIE’s solar team and its partners to build and finance the first community in the Philippines.    

Reason 3: A partner for growth  

Finally, building a startup with a corporate partner means they are invested in your growth.

At ENGIE Factory, we invest a significant amount of time and funding into our ventures throughout the venture building lifecycle: in the ideation and venture validation process, by providing seed investment and in the commercialisation of the venture, post investment. Our success, therefore, is tied to how well our startups scale.

All our ventures are strategically aligned ENGIE’s core business. This alignment could be realised by creating upselling and cross-selling opportunities with existing clients, openly sharing data and market information or accelerating entry into new markets and customer segments. ENGIE and our ventures therefore have natural incentives to work together for mutual benefit and serve as natural partners for growth.

We believe these factors provide ENGIE Factory ventures with an unfair advantage. We build our ventures by combining the best of both worlds: the entrepreneurial skillset and the established corporate assets, leading to much higher chances of success. If you are serious about success and want to build smart, then you should build with a corporate too.

SustainX

SustainX is a SaaS platform designed to help financial institutions lower the cost of deploying sustainability-linked loans for the SME segment in ASEAN markets. The solution aims to address challenges for both FIs and SMEs by acting as the largest behind-the-scenes facilitator of Medium Enterprise decarbonisation projects.

EnShare

EnShare works with REITs and multiple building owners in Australia to optimize rooftop solar and storage installation, as well as aggregate capacity for participation in Australian energy market. Building owners are able to meet ESG targets and receive revenue share

from energy sale to tenants, who in turn access green energy at up to 25% lower tariffs.

EVDots

EVDots was a startup originally under ENGIE Factory that has now become part of a ComfortDelgro Engie JV that is dedicated to the roll out of EV charging infrastructure and supporting the transition to sustainable transportation. The goal is to provide the entire ecosystem, from renewable energy production to EV charging systems to electric vehicles on the road. ​​

ORkA

ORkA is an advanced digital system that easily allows customers to input their energy information – about their buildings, factories, and businesses – and get a clear and professional improvements report instantly. Then, depending on the ROI of each action plan the customer makes an informed decision to choose the best for them, ORkA also offers financing and deployment of the solution.

PHNXX

PHNXX is a modular microgrid solution that provides customers with reliable, sustainable and cost-effective power on demand to suit their unique energy consumption profiles. PHNXX solution offers multiple sources of renewable energy generation coupled with battery storage and managed by an integrated Smart Energy Management System to meet customer energy demands without relying on the grid. 

Entarctic

Entarctic maximizes energy efficiency in cold warehouses by reducing the electricity bills of cold storage facilities by up to 30% while ensuring safe temperatures. Its solution is quick-to-install and instantly makes customers’ cold room more energy efficient and sustainable. It is installed with no disruptions to operations and delivered on a pay-as-you-save or buy-and-own model.

Solar AI Technologies

Solar AI Technologies is a digital-first solar company in Singapore and is one of the first in the region to provide zero upfront cost, rooftop solar-as-a-service for smaller commercial and residential property owners. Customers now have a way to get instant solar savings without putting any money down, and in a risk-free approach.

Carbon Compass

Carbon Compass is decarbonising the mining sector by aggregating energy-related data from mid-tier mine sites to accelerate their deployment of renewables. Carbon Compass’s digital solution creates different simulations of renewable energy assets to help miners optimise their energy stack with different configurations of renewables.

TablePointer

TablePointer is an energy management-as-a-service for food and beverage outlets. Decentralized facilities like food and beverage outlets in Asia use 4X more energy per sqm versus office buildings and profit margins are hit by over 15% from energy wastages. TablePointer’s intelligent energy and asset manager helps decentralized facilities optimize energy efficiency, monitor assets and upgrade profitability.

BillionBricks

BillionBricks is developing solar housing communities by combining effective technologies for solar houses with renewable energy models. BillionBricks’ innovative design makes it possible to build net-zero homes to foster homebuyer inclusiveness and reduce the carbon emission of the built industry. Projects are being deployed now in the Philippines to create net zero communities.