What is the Venture Competition?
The Venture Competition is the centrepiece of the Japan Energy Challenge activities. Held annually in London, the JEC team and sponsors invite a group of promising energy sector companies that they are interested in working with. The goal is to build relationships that result in collaborations, sales, investment, and other forms of support for helping grow the invited companies in Japan.
This competition is unique in that all invited companies will have at least one sponsor interested in meeting them specifically. The JEC team works with the invited companies in the months leading up to the event to fully understand their business and products, making the actual meetings very meaningful to exploring future relationships.
How does it work?
During the open application period (January-March 2019), companies can indicate their interest in participating via the application form. The JEC team will also be scouting and reaching out to companies of interest directly.
At the end of the application period, the JEC team will send formal invitations to up to 20 selected teams. As part of this process, invitees will sign an NDA to allow for the sharing of confidential information with the sponsors and JEC team and will confirm travel arrangements for the event.
After accepting the invitation, the JEC team will work the invited companies personally to collect and prepare materials for dissemination to the sponsors. We will relay questions and feedback from the sponsors and work with the teams to refine further over several rounds, ultimately culminating in the development of a proposal for working with the sponsors.
Going into the event, each of the sponsors will have reviewed the materials thoroughly and will be prepared to discuss proposal specifics and work toward agreeing on terms.
While every invited company will have the opportunity to win a commercial engagement, we will select at least two winners based on sponsor interest. Winners will receive a package that includes:
- A fully sponsored and managed trip to Japan to pitch to a tailored selection of key decisionmakers with our partners
- All supporting services - travel agents, translators, etc. - included
- Connections to relevant suppliers, consultants, technical experts, etc. and ongoing support to make sure promising projects reach fruition
- Media coverage in both European and Japanese publications
To find our more about our winners for 2018, read here. We want to do everything we can to help all participants succeed in the Japanese energy sector and aim to have all participants producing a viable plan for pilot projects, sales agreements, coordinated development, or other forms of collaboration.
Who can apply
TOKYO GAS is Japan‘s largest provider of natural gas, serving more than 11 million customers. In FY2016, TOKYO GAS made a start by entering the electricity retail business and has since reached 1.6 million customers (Nov 2018). TOKYO GAS is shifting from the in-house R&D focused on natural gas energy to an open innovation style R&D to focus on a broad range of innovative energy solutions.
ENECHANGE LTD. is Japan's most popular energy switching website, having 3 million monthly unique visitors and working with over 100 energy suppliers. Enechange is also recognised as one of the most innovative energy ventures in Japan, providing vertically integrated tech solutions - such as data-driven CRM solutions, smart-meter data management (SMAP), AI-driven load curve simulation etc. - for energy suppliers.
SUMMIT ENERGY is a subsidiary of Sumitomo Corporation, one of the major integrated trading firms in Japan. They supply electricity to both commercial and residential customers. In 2016, they supplied 2,800GWh, making them the 6th largest retail electricity supplier in Japan. Summit Energy has its own generating capacity from a variety of sources, including biomass power generation.
SHOWA SHELL SEKIYU K.K. is the Shell brand licensee and one of the major oil companies in Japan. They also provide energy solution business with operating power plants and delivering eco-friendly-sourced electricity. Solar Frontier, the world largest CIS solar energy solution provider, is their 100% subsidiary company and operates as independent solar power producer in Japan and worldwide.
HOKURIKU ELECTRIC is a vertically integrated electricity supplier serving about 2.1M customers. Their generation mix is characterised by a higher ratio of hydroelectric power - which is less carbon intensive than other forms of generation - thanks to plentiful water resources in their area. Their Transmission/Distribution Division will be reformed as a separate entity in 2020 and plans to install smart meters to all household by 2024.
LOOOP operates a low-voltage power retail business ‘Looop Denki’. Since starting in April 2016, the business has gained over 100,000 users by the end of March 2018. After reaching this critical turning point, LOOOP aims to reach 200,000 users by the end of the next fiscal year, and is opening a broad array of new services to attract smart energy consumers.
JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy is the largest oil company and 3rd largest new electric power supplier in Japan, and is known by its brand ENEOS. JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy has crude refining capacity of around 2 million barrel per day - which is comparable to BP - and a nationwide supply chain enabling stable supply of products and services associated with energy. JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy has also been increasingly supplying low-carbon energy sources, such as solar power, wind power, biofuel, and hydrogen, while developing related technologies.
CHUBU ELECTRIC POWER is Japan's third largest energy utility provider. They are transforming by separating their organisation into three division, Power generation, Transmission/distribution, and Sales division. With a FY2018 target of 130 TWh sold, they established a new sales company in Tokyo area. They also prioritise to improve local community by utilising their infrastructure and data as well as new technology.
TOHO GAS engages in the gas, heat supply, and electricity businesses. Their core gas business covers 2.46 Million Customers. They also have a growing electricity supply business, aiming to grow customer acquisition by 60% in 2018. Furthermore, Toho Gas also provide services related to connected homes, business energy support, and energy resource aggregation & balancing.
Let's get started!
Jan 1, 2018
Call for applications opens and scouting begins- 1 January 2019
Dec 27, 2018
Deadline for guaranteed consideration & invitations start being made - 1 April 2019
May 1, 2018
Finalists confirmed, remote preparation begins - 1 May 2019
Jul 5, 2018
Event day meetings with Japanese partners & clients - 6/7 August 2019
Jul 6, 2018
Winner announcement - 8 August 2019
Jul 12, 2018
Follow-on preparation & project start
What criteria will you use to select participants?
In order of importance, we will assess:
1. Partner interest in buying, selling, or implementing your solution
2. Traction achieved to date, measured from investment size, sales volume, and number of employees
3. The quality of your technology demonstration
Do we have to move to Japan?
Not unless you want to! Attendance at our London pitch event on 6-8 August is mandatory, and other meetings will be held in London or on Skype depending on your preference. If you successfully win a project, our team can help with the logistics of deploying it in Japan to minimise disruption to your team.
Does it cost anything to participate?
Japan Energy Challenge is entirely free for the invited participants. Unlike other programs, we won't ask for equity or commission - the costs are entirely supported by our sponsors. Our interest is always in making sure that deals happen, and the travel benefits, industry feedback, and potential prizes are bonuses. The main investment is the time required to participate, but we seek to minimise this by leveraging the support of the JEC team.
What if we are already working in Japan?
Having started to work in Japan does not disqualify you from applying. In many cases, this can actually be a benefit because it provides a clear answer for your growth plan and goals. Participating in Japan Energy Challenge would be a very effective path to getting your offer in front of decisionmakers at new clients - or give a boost to the speed of your existing pipeline - and help you rapidly expand your growth.
How do the deadlines work?
The main deadline for applications is 1 April, and any company that submits their application before this date is guaranteed full consideration.
After 1 April, our team will be making and confirming invitations for 20 companies. This process takes some time, and involves our team liasing between the sponsors and interviewing the applicants. We generally estimate that all invitations will be confirmed by 1 May.
To accommodate any latecomers or new developments that may affect consideration, we leave the application open during this period. Applications received after 1 April will be considered only if there are spots still remaining.