Winners Announced in SAFT Challenge

February 5, 2016

As initiators of SAFT – Energy startup solutions for 2050, swissnex San Francisco, Impact Hub Fellowship Association, and Impact Hub Zürich are very pleased to announce the final participants in this first-of-its-kind international program focused on the electricity sector.

Nine startups with a variety of solutions for distributed energy, energy efficiency, and smart cities were selected to pitch their ventures to an expert jury and jockey for a spot in the lean accelerator program.

SAFT offers a one-month boot camp in Zurich followed by a one-week market expedition in Silicon Valley, and an additional three months of incubation afterward in Zurich—an unparalleled opportunity to accelerate entrepreneurship and the clean energy transition in Switzerland simultaneously. The jury is in, and we are pleased to announce that the first SAFT cohort of energy entrepreneurs are:


Decision Support Software that enables Distribution System Operators to integrate more renewables into their grid while maintaining grid stability and saving operation and planning costs.



Innovative fabrication technologies for lithium ion batteries aimed at increasing the charging speed of high energy density cells.



Carbon ratings that help investors improve the assessment of climate risks in their portfolios; a collaboration with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the rating agency Independent Credit View.



Modular heat exchangers to recycle heat from shower drain water.



Automation and optimization software that can analyze building control and energy data to identify where energy and comfort are lost.



Service that allows residential customers, corporations, and other property owners to benefit from affordable solar electricity with no upfront investment.


“I’m very excited to be part of the SAFT program with WATTELSE,” says Founder Martin Hofer. “It is a great opportunity to review our business for the American market together with corresponding experts. And I’m curious about the spirit of the Silicon Valley and the inspiration of the whole journey.”

The jury had an intense day pouring over the application materials, and a tough time deciding amongst the high quality of products and pitches they heard throughout the day. Special attention was given to the impact potential of the ventures including: degree of innovation, international growth potential, business model, and team.
“I had a great day at the Impact Hub Zürich,” said juror Markus Balmer, Head of Strategy and Innovation at IWB, the local utility in Basel. “It’s fascinating to see these start-up teams pushing forward to challenge the energy markets, its incumbents and regulatory systems, empower customers and improve sustainability. I’m looking forward to our Silicon Valley visit!”