Participating in Accelerace is more than accelerating your business. It is a community where you get access to a broad network of inspiration and knowledge. You can become part of it too but the next deadline for our Open Call is coming up. Therefore, we have interviewed alumni about what Accelerace has meant to them. Via Science CEO Colin Gounden and CSO Jeremy Taylor share their story with us.
What has been the biggest aha moment during your Accelerace journey?
Colin: The biggest aha moment was when we received feedback to be more tangible with examples in our pitch. For instance, we often talked about how our Trusted Analytics Chain (TAC) application helped pool data to improve AI learning. Accelerace helped us create a concrete example where a company doesn’t have enough data on its own and it, therefore, makes sense to pool data. An example is in electrical transformers. These transformers only fail at a rate of 0.5% year. So if a utility has 1,000 transformers, it will only have 5 examples of failures per year. An AI algorithm might need 1,000 examples of failure to make a good model. Either the utility will need 200 years of failures (which it won’t have) or it can use 20 years of failures from 9 other companies.
Jeremy: The biggest aha moment for me came when using the template to construct a unique value proposition that included both its benefits (KPI-like features) and values (emotional reactions from customers). The workshop also helped me to reformulate our benefit from ‘10x more data to build a preventive maintenance model’ to ‘10x quicker to build a preventive maintenance model that works’ which is a very powerful reframing.
If you could only share one radical learning what would it be?
In a situation with imperfect information, you need to identify and dominate a Beachhead — a segment of customers who suffer again and again from a problem that you can help them solve and who find existing solutions inadequate.
Which challenges did you struggle with that made you choose Accelerace, and how did the program help you overcome them?
TSOs and DSOs in Europe are facing huge pressure to innovate and are looking for trustworthy partners to help them. Building that trust, particularly from our North American base is a challenge. Accelerace, even before the official program kick-off, started to make introductions on our behalf. As their team is trusted by all the major TSOs and DSOs, they have been invaluable in helping us have thoughtful discussions with key decision makers.
Which other ideas or innovations from the other alumni have you been impressed by?
Jeremy: Before I knew they were an Accelerace alumnus, I rented a Donkey Republic bike for my stay in Copenhagen. I was very impressed by the story of how they came to the product-market fit which made it possible for me to rent a bike and be able to return it, trouble free, minutes before heading to the airport. I also think there is great potential in the augmented and virtual reality startups, particularly with a focus on training.
What is your best tip for startups which are about to apply?
Meeting in advance! Application forms are great but nothing makes you stand out like actually presenting your case and meeting the individuals first. We actually started conversations with Accelerace before the Cleantech program application rounds started.
Interested? Join our startup family and apply before 2 September: https://www.accelerace.io/accelerator
Via Science was founded in 2016 to solve asset management and operational issues alongside key players in the energy industry. They have developed a blockchain-based application, the TAC, which is the bridge to securely connect company data, distributed across many locations, to potential AI solutions. As CEO of VIA, Colin Gounden has led the company’s entry and expansion in the energy industry and initiated the development of VIA’s blockchain application, Trusted Analytics Chain (TAC), to meet the high data security needs required to make AI applications successful in energy. As Chief Scientific Officer of VIA, Jeremy is responsible for developing state-of-the-art research in AI and particularly distributed learning to help benefit VIA’s energy clients.