What the most pressing challenge of our time? – Climate change.

Can digital technology make a contribution to defusing the problem? – Yes.

Whether digitization as a whole has a positive or negative impact on climate change (or: climate protection) is yet to be seen: This is highly dependent on the development path of digitization. Much will depend on the regulatory framework that defines such development path.

Having said that, there’s no doubt about it, that digitization can certainly drive the transformation towards a green economy in some areas. I am happy to present seven promising start-ups from Germany that are pursuing precisely this goal. Focus: Start-Ups not older than 7 years. I’m sure you’ll appreciate the good ideas of these business ventures!

Envelio

The energy revolution will only succeed if the power grid gets smarter. Millions of photovoltaic systems and wind turbines feed electricity into the grid. However, the more electricity producers and prosumers feed into the grid, the more complex the control of this very grid becomes. Electromobility increases this complexity even more, as new demand and new demand patterns have to be managed (charging points). The challenge: Maintaining the balance between electricity suppliers and consumers.

Having that challenge in sight the start-up envelio has developed the Intelligent Grid Platform. This software assistance system allows network operators to efficiently plan and operate future-proof and flexible networks. The following YouTube-video allows you to grasp what envelio is doing, in 80 seconds:

Foundation in 2017. In Cologne. Website: envelio.de

Fresh Energy

Imagine you are a municipal service provider supplying 4 000 households with water, gas and electricity. How do you and your customers participate in the digital revolution – despite a tight investment budget? – Fresh Energy provides a white label app that provides optimum transparency on power consumption and savings potential for all types of smart meters in the household.

Foundation in 2017. In Berlin. Website: www.getfresh.energy

Planetly

The very young company is inspired by the pioneer of modern management theory, Peter Drucker: “What you cannot measure, you cannot control”. Consequently, the start-up company Planetly supports its clients in measuring the CO2 footprint of their company – as detailed as possible and as simple as possible. Benchmarks for specific industries and company sizes help to evaluate the status quo. Next step: Reduce CO2 emissions. And if there’s limits to reducing CO2, Planetly offers compensation measures.

One of the company’s customers is the food box provider HelloFresh: Planetly has supported the company in calculating its CO2 footprint using a method certified by TÜV Rheinland and has initiated compensation measures.

Foundation in 2019. In Berlin. Website: www.planetly.org

Vilisto

Did you know that we spend 90% of our lifetime in buildings? No wonder that there is a huge savings potential in the temperature control of buildings. That’s what Vilisto is all about. With the promise of reducing heating costs by up to 32%. In non-residential buildings. How does that work? The magic is about self-learning radiator thermostat with integrated presence detection.

Foundation in 2016. In Hamburg. Website: www.vilisto.de

Enit Systems

Energy management and resource optimization is the focus of Enit Systems, too. At the heart of energy management is the so-called ENIT Agent, which collects, transmits and evaluates data – for resources as diverse as electricity, heat, gas, steam or water. The Enit systems are scalable and can be used by small companies as well as large customers. The list of reference customers underlines this usability across companies of all sizes and industries: ABB, Viessmann, Zalando, Covestro, ALBA, Sortimo and more.

Foundation in 2014. In Freiburg. Website: www.enit-systems.com

HawaDawa

Data is the new “gold” in the digital age. The start-up company Hawa Dawa has positioned itself as a central data hub for “air quality data”. The range of services includes data (consolidation from various data sources), reports, “air quality heatmaps” and intelligent algorithms for simulations. This “data gold” serves as a basis for decision-making in the fields of urban planning, traffic planning and real estate investments. The start-up was developed by the Technical University of Munich (TUM).

Foundation in 2016. In Munich. Website: hawadawa.com

Enyway

The start-up company “Enyway” has created the first online marketplace to bring together local / regional electricity producers and electricity consumers. Operators of wind turbines or solar parks thus have the opportunity to trade directly with their consumers. And consumers decide on the marketplace which electricity supplier they want to have. The start-up is a spin-off of the largest German green electricity provider LichtBlick.

The objective: revolutionizing the electricity market, initializing the digital energy age. The hope: The proximity between producer and consumer could lead to more citizen involvement in the energy revolution. And: The start-up platform could help to solve a central problem of private electricity generation: Temporary overcapacities can only be stored to a limited extent, even if, according to the German Solar Industry Association, the batteries required for this purpose become cheaper and more powerful. With enyway, private producers can instead at least partially monetise their surpluses.

Foundation in 2017. In Hamburg. Website: www.enyway.com

What else? – DWR Eco and Ecosia

Check out www.dwr-eco.com: This company is a catalyst of change towards a sustainable economy. The two founders, David Wortmann and Doreen Rietentiet, have also initiated the podcast Let’s talk change (click here). On this podcast the Movers and Makers of a Green Economy have their say: Klaus Toepfer (former Minister of the Environment, former Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme). Professor Volker Quaschning for Renewable Energy Systems at the University of Applied Sciences in Berlin. The manager and environmental activist Heinrich Stroeßenreuther, also known as Germany’s most successful bicycle activist. And many more.

By the way, have you already made www.ecosia.org your default search engine? If not, then you should do so immediately! The Berlin-based company uses its profits to plant trees. Since its foundation in 2009, more than 100 million trees have been planted already. It is clear that you can’t keep 100 million trees in your own backyard. This requires an organization that professionally manages all steps from contract management to success monitoring. Watch yourself!

Promising StartUps in other industries

Sebastian Zang
Author

The author is a manager in the software industry with international expertise: Authorized officer at one of the large consulting firms - Responsible for setting up an IT development center at the Bangalore offshore location - Director M&A at a software company in Berlin.