ÜberEnergy : From an Idea to a Start-Up
I want to tell you about our great idea – what it is all about and how we got it funded.
ÜberEnergy is a small but dedicated and innovative group of researchers who are passionate about energy efficiency and smart energy. In 2016 we moved from Silicon Valley to Berlin to take advantage of Germany’s favorable political and business environment for greener energy. We had lots of ideas, but concentrated on one to take to the next level. We knew it was sound, but needed funding to turn it into a workable business concept.
Our idea involves using artificial intelligence techniques to accurately measure the energy consumption needed to heat residential homes and businesses. We designed a prediction engine that assesses the heating and cooling needs of living or working areas, allowing for human occupancy and thermal behavior, to calculate and apply the electricity needed to provide optimum comfort with the lowest possible energy use and cost.
How It Works
Cloud-connected hardware uses advanced sensors to measure the exact energy needed to heat or cool a home or workplace, taking into account unused spaces and corners. The ÜberEnergy system reduces waste in heating/cooling by enabling more tailored energy use than a conventional system. It increases your perception of comfort because of the even distribution of energy throughout the areas you use.
From Idea to Reality
To turn our design into a commercial product, we needed funding. We found EXIST, a public seed funding organisation whose goal is to transfer scientific ideas into working business concepts. With the support of our university collaborators at ESMT and the Humboldt University, we prepared an EXIST application (just 25 pages) for our start-up company and started looking for business partners. After three weeks, we learned we had been accepted! EXIST liked our business concept and has opened the door to it becoming a reality.
EXIST is a program of the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy in Germany, known as BMWi. BMWi works with universities and research institutes to encourage entrepreneurial technology-based business start-ups. EXIST is funding salaries for three members of the ÜberEnergy team, material expenses, and coaching as needed. We applied in October 2015 and funding started flowing in February 2016.
We believe our system is an innovative and economically sound means of increasing energy efficiency in residential and commercial buildings. At the end of our EXIST-funded development period, we aim to have a fully-specified prototype system operating in a demonstration building, generating useful data about energy consumption and savings. If all goes well, in a few years the ÜberEnergy system could be saving electricity all around the world, reducing energy costs and helping nations meet their greenhouse gas commitments.
So now you know how UberEnergy works, what we hope to achieve, and what it took to get us here!