649 startups vie for the Entrepreneurs Fund support19.03.2019
With the closing of the eighth Entrepreneurs Fund call, the number of applications are now known. This edition has seen an increase of 78% in the number of entrepreneurs interested in receiving support from the Fundación Repsol Entrepreneurs Fund, with a total of 649 applications.
This year the internationalisation of the initiative stands out, with almost 50% of the applications coming from outside of Spain which translates into an increase of 25% with respect to 2018. The most notable cases are that of United States (62 projects instead of the two submitted the year before), Canada (25 startups this year and one in 2018), Norway (an increase of 56% with 14 proposals in this call), or United Kingdom (that send five times more applications than the previous year, reaching 42 in this call). Applications were submitted from a total of 60 different countries. Those that stand out are Spain (329), the United States (62), the United Kingdom (42), Canada (25), and Portugal (23).
The results are tied to the intense recruitment work carried out in these regions. During the months of November and December 2018, a team of representatives from the Entrepreneur Fund went to USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Norway, and Portugal to meet, together with local Repsol representatives, the various actors related with the entrepreneurial and innovation sector.
With respect to subject matter, in this edition applications were distributed homogeneously among the six scopes considered in the call. Nevertheless, the increase in the number of applications for certain scopes with respect to last year stands out. In particular, new oil and gas exploration and production technologies (82% more than in 2018), or new materials (43% more than in the previous call). The remaining scopes have also experienced an increase in the number of startups, for example, circular economy and biotech (+31%) and digitalization and advanced mobility (+16%). The only exception is the field of energy efficiency in the energy and chemical industry. In previous editions it amassed the highest number of proposals but this year it has levelled out with the other fields. Also, this edition has seen a powerful drive in the scope of distributed energy resources, holding 16% of the total number of applications.
The eight call stands out due to the maturity of startups, with 55% declaring to be in either pre-commercialization or even early sales stages. The Entrepreneur Fund is ideal for these companies that are one or two years from entering the market, counting with technologies or business models that have been tested.
The submitted applications are already immersed in an exhaustive and rigorous selection process. Apart from the Enterpreneur Fund professionals, a team of senior mentors are participating in the process. The mentors have been Repsol Directors and count with ample experience in the field of energy. There are also various technology and business development specialists who work in different Company business areas.
The applications are evaluated through various elimination stages. Included among these is a detailed analysis of the projects and entrepreneur interviews. Later, in the final stages, the startup´s installations will be visited and personal interviews held. Lastly, the finalists are required to give a presentation to a panel of judges, who will decide which initiatives will be admitted in the programme. The results will be announced around the month of July 2019 and the acceleration programme will kick off sometime around October 2019.
Innovation for the energy transition
The participating startups share the fact they're developing innovations for a more sustainable energy transition. To help them advance on their journey to the market, Fundación Repsol offers, over a year, up to 144,000 euros towards developing their projects. This financial reward is accompanied by technical and business consultancy by a team of mentors and training in business management, legal issues, and marketing. For the cases where it is possible, Fundación Repsol will facilitate access to Company experts to perform prototype testing in industrial facilities.
Fundación Repsol offers this support without any transfer of shareholding or intellectual property of the company.
Since the setting up of the Entrepreneurs Fund, Fundación Repsol has supported more than 48 startups.