Presenting: our JEC 2020 Cohort winners


After a whirlwind year, the Japan Energy Challenge (JEC) 2020 has come to its conclusion. 19 companies were selected from over 60 applicants, and over the course of 2020 and early 2021, they were introduced to our sponsors through our deep-dive webinars, each presenting their vision and achievements in 45-minute slots. 

After careful deliberation by our sponsors and the JEC team, we are proud to present three winners for our JEC 2020 Cohort. 



Enbala develops and deploys software that aggregate customer electricity demand to create a network of continuously optimised distributed energy sources. They do the same for energy storage and renewable energy sources. The sponsors characterised Enbala as a venture with an impressive portfolio and great potential, particularly as a distributed energy resources management system (DERMS). 

Bud Vos, CEO of Enbala, felt the competition gave them a valuable boost:


‘The Challenge has been a great experience for Enbala, as we interacted with a broad range of top energy companies in Japan. This boosted our understanding of specific Japan market requirements, allowing us to engage more effectively. Enbala aspires to help its partners develop a competitive advantage in VPP and DERMS services and to accelerate Japan’s achievement of its carbon neutrality goals.’



FreeWire Technologies provides smart battery systems for EV charging and mobile distributed power, which are fast-charging and easy to deploy. The sponsors commended FreeWire’s technology for its competitive pricing and portability, as well as its positioning: they suspect an ever-increasing demand for quick charging through a battery.

Rob Anderson, Director of Business Development, noted how the JEC’s connections are set to help them further:

‘When we first learned of the JEC we got super excited about participating. The sponsor list is very impressive. We have already launched our Mobi Gen product in Japan and we’re preparing to launch our localized Japan Boost Charger in July. Being a top finalist for the JEC challenge will help FreeWire get the business with the companies that are on the JEC sponsor list.’




OhmConnect provides home energy management solutions via smart meter analytics and energy market integration. The sponsors were impressed with their large user base and their unique, gamified approach to managing household energy through demand response, where residential users are able to sell their energy reductions directly into the energy markets. 


Matt Duesterberg, Co-founder and President of OhmConnect, commented on how the competition presented a pathway to Japan:


‘The Japan Energy Challenge has provided an opportunity for innovative companies to get access to one of the most advanced electricity grids in the world. We are excited to bring the responsive demand model to Japan and ensure resiliency in the face of the next energy emergency.’



Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our JEC Summit was adapted to an online format. The programme does not end here though: the winners will be meeting with their dedicated sponsors in Japan once safe to do so, while the other finalists in the 2020 cohort will also have the opportunity to retain their connections with relevant sponsors. A well-deserved congratulations to our winners and all our finalists!


What’s next? For 2021, Japan Energy Challenge will be reimagined as ENECHANGE Insight Ventures, to reflect the reach and renewed focus of the programme. Applications for both startups and partners are now open via our dedicated website.


For more information about the JEC or participation in our new ENECHANGE Insight Ventures programme in 2021, please write to us at