Start Lab 2021: Clean Tech winners announced
Tuesday 20 July 2021
We take a look at the second round of winning Italian start-ups that joined this year’s edition of our competion. The chosen projects were those with the highest potential and most innovative ideas in the Clean Tech sector, all assessed by our jury of experts.
UniCredit Start Lab, UniCredit's business platform dedicated to innovation was once again an important appointment for over 50 innovative Italian start-ups, who had the opportunity to present their projects to the Sector specific Commissions of our selected jury.
The second to express its preference was the Clean Tech Commission, which this year involved entrepreneurs and managers from some of the main Italian sector-players: Antonio Biondi, Head of Enel Innovation Hub Italia, ENEL; Andrea Cignoli, CEO, Techint Engineering & Construction; Marco Cittadini, CEO Falck Next Solutions, Falck Renewables; Gaetano Lo Monaco, Managing Director, Novamont; Giovanna Pozzi, Head of Renewables Development, Business Unit; Hydrogen, SNAM; Gianfranco Sorasio, CEO, Eviso and Johann Wohlfarter, CEO, Alperia.
The first prize in this category was won by GetPlus, a start-up from Padua that has developed NEXT, a modular smart vehicle that can be used as a shared car or taxi, but also as a bus, last mile delivery van, or a truck for long distance travel, or an interchange hub for passengers/goods without outdoor transshipment. It is based on groups of modular electric vehicles that can each be joined and detached with others on standard city roads. When joined, they create an open, bus-like area allowing passengers to stand and walk from one module to another. Modularity allows "enroute-transfers", that optimises system capacity and cuts cost and traffic. The start-up won a grant of €10,000.
"The world of mobility is now experiencing a shift in its standards, an epoch-making reset based on sustainability, which creates new spaces and opportunities for start-ups like NEXT, capable of driving this global change together with the big players in the sector. The flattering recognition received by UniCredit Start Lab is the ideal opportunity for NEXT to start a path able to appropriately support the rapid growth of the initiative and to expand the network of strategic partnerships."
The second place went to the Brindisi-based start-up Green Independence (GI). The company wants to democratize access to renewable energy with the possibility of sustainable in-loco production directly from the sun and from water, thus reversing global warming. To do so, GI, through its proprietary technology, the New Artificial Leaf, imitates nature by transforming water and the sun into green hydrogen. NAL integrates photovoltaic and electrochemical technology to enable a decentralised/off-grid production of Green Hydrogen and other solar-fuels, while recycling CO2 emissions by transforming them into valuable products.
"Start Lab has so far been a great opportunity for testing our credibility outside the academic environment.
Getting "scanned" and "passing the test'' as one of the winners, confirms we are ready for the market's challenges! We now hope StartLab will accompany us in the next tests, giving the right visibility to the project, supporting us in the dialogue with investors during the fundraising process and facilitating the consolidation of the banking relationship."
The Third place went to Anemotech from Milan, that has developed theBreath, a printable fabric that passively absorbs micro-air-pollutants with bacteriostatic and antiviral capabilities. theBreath is used in advertising billboards, street furniture, construction sites and indoor furniture. Thanks to its versatility, it is used in the automotive and transport sectors. Masks, prams and domestic appliances are other examples of its applications.
"Thanks to UniCredit Start Lab we will be able to collaborate with professionals and entrepreneurs able to strengthen and increase our value proposition, as well as financing our company and developing business partnerships. The opportunity to attend the Academy will allow us to critically analyse our status quo and think strategically about the future, through new methods and skills."
Finally, a special mention to the Genoa based start-up Wesii, the Italian market leader for aerial thermography inspections and analysis for the Solar Industry that is expanding globally. They conduct plant inspections using drones and airplanes in order to digitalise and utilise their proprietary Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms to detect and classify glitches in the plant, allowing clients to create customised reports, take immediate action and make the smartest business decisions to maximise plant efficiency.
"Wesii has finally reached the ideal point of experience to be able to expand globally. To achieve this objective, two essential ingredients are needed: management skills and capital. UniCredit Start Lab can certainly support us in reaching both, by helping us find the right partners who can provide expertise, capital and therefore scalability."
Over the next four weeks, we will continue to tell the stories of these young Italian excellences on One UniCredit. Keep following us in the next episodes to learn about Digital, Innovative Made in Italy and Impact Innovation projects.