NEC meets… Geyser Batteries
Geyser Batteries participated and won the New Energy Challenge 2021. We asked them how they experienced participating in the NEC.
Geyser Batteries offers high-power heavy-duty energy storage solutions based on novel proprietary water-based electrolyte and unique engineering and manufacturing. The heart of Geyser Batteries’ innovation is its patented and proprietary ECR (ElectroChemical Recuperator) technology, which is a successful combination of a battery and a supercapacitor in one single electrochemical system.
In what ways did participating in and winning the NEC 2021 shape your business?
Firstly, the biggest value the NEC offers is the opportunity to have an external expert challenging your vision and strategy. For an early-stage start-up, it serves as a perfect checkpoint for your whole story and approach. Every start-up team is in love with their own technology – so it’s very hard to know what to leave out when constructing a pitch. Participating in the NEC 2021 helped us to focus our value proposition and make it more concise and tangible. As a result, all our customer interactions have been faster and more effective since the NEC.
Secondly, in terms of product development, winning the NEC allowed us to improve our products in ways that otherwise would not have been possible for us at that point in time. We already had many of these improvements in mind before participating in the NEC, but the encouragement of the experts and the funding of a proof of concept kicked it off much earlier than expected.
Thirdly, winning the NEC really helped our PR. We have a funding round happening later this year and we have observed a difference in the level of interest from investors; winning the NEC is clearly helping us to attract investors because it served as confirmation that we’re on the right track.
Overall, the NEC covered everything: it was the full mentoring package, enabling you to discover everything you need to know (besides your innovation itself) and to construct a good pitch.
What does the future hold for you, now and beyond?
We have already started to cooperate with Shell on the proof of concept for the NEC pilot project. In parallel on the product front, we’re moving forward, testing battery cells and compiling test reports, and have now developed a proof of concept for an even more sustainable variant of our current cells. This year, we hope to secure finance for a pilot production facility in Finland, where we will scale up our production of the cells.
What would your advice for this year’s participants be?
1. Be open to being challenged. As a startup, it’s rare to have the chance to receive brutally honest feedback for free without a hidden agenda. So, be demanding – demand honest feedback and be open to receiving it. You don’t have to accept everything the experts tell you, but you should at least listen and try not to take it personally.
2. Go into the NEC knowing want to get out of it. If you’re only shooting for shiny headlines with Shell in the name, that’s probably not going to cut it. Then you won’t find a joint project that’s worth going after for both sides. Make it clear what you want to get out of it and what you have to offer to Shell.
3. Be open to change. We came to the NEC with a totally different project proposition to the one we ended up agreeing upon with Shell, so remain flexible and open to changing your plans.
What was your greatest learning lesson from the NEC?
Our greatest learning lesson was what it means to know your audience. With every presentation, sales call, pitch, and so on, you’re trying to frame the story to the audience you’re talking to. Before the NEC, we didn’t always consider this when preparing pitches. The mentoring sessions forced me to always consider our audiences’ perspective and realise that this process is not a one-time thing: adapting your messages to your audiences is a continuous, never-ending process. Since the NEC, I have not given the same standard company presentation twice – now, I always tweak it per audience. NEC made me realise that if you have a well-defined value proposition, strategy and mission that is understood by the whole team, you can (and should) have some variety in how you frame the story and your messaging for each unique audience.
How did you experience the coach & expert sessions, provided by Rockstart, YES!Delft and/or Shell?
For every topic, there was a real expert who knew exactly what he/she was talking about. The balance between time invested (on our part) and value generated was very good. All in all, there was not one session that I would have missed. At no point did I feel that I’d wasted my time. I couldn’t say which session was my favourite because, ultimately, it’s how it worked altogether – it gave you a complete picture at the end.
Which aspect of the whole challenge was memorable for you?
The moment I was happy with my pitch slides! I had cut out about 90% of the information that I had in there before. That’s when I realised how much information we were trying to fit into a 5-7 min pitch deck before. Being concise and audience-driven is the main challenge, at the end of the day, and the NEC taught us a lot about that.