GE offers $200m fund for start-ups and innovators

Technology giant GE has launched an investment challenge called Powering Your Home, saying it would invest $200m globally into promising start-ups and breakthrough ideas for home energy creation, management and use.

GE and its venture capital partners will also award five cash prizes of $100,000 to the most innovative ideas received, the company said. It wants partnerships with European researchers and innovators, and has invited proposals in two broad categories: home energy efficiency, including management software, appliances and air conditioning; and renewable power, including solar, wind, hydro and biomass.

Entrants to the competition, called the Ecomagination Challenge, will also have opportunities to develop a commercial relationship with GE. As well as investment, this could include having their business strategy validated through discussions with GE‘s technical and commercial teams, potential distribution partnerships, and leveraging GE’s technical infrastructure and its research centres for faster product development.

GE said that $55 million has already been committed in Phase I of its  Ecomagination Challenge, which was launched in collaboration the UK’s not-for-profit Carbon Trust, plus venture capital firms RockPort Capital, KPCB, Foundation Capital, and Emerald Technology Ventures.

In Europe, the company is working in partnership with London- and Brussels-based media company Science|Business to reach European innovators and researchers via a series of events hosted by research institutions and universities. The first event will be hosted by ETH Zurich on Thursday, 3rd February 2011 as part of the Academic Enterprise conference. More events are planned in London, Munich, Stockholm, Paris and Warsaw.  

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