GE & Partners Announce $200 million global open innovation challenge

“GE ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid” is currently seeking best ideas to transform the way we create, connect and use power. The challenge, one of largest ever, is a $200 million global commitment to accelerate power grid technology through open collaboration.

GE (NYSE: GE) recently announced a $200 million open innovation challenge that seeks breakthrough ideas to create a smarter, cleaner, more efficient electric grid, and accelerate the adoption of more efficient grid technologies. GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt unveiled the challenge, the “GE ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid,” last month.

The global challenge invites technologists, entrepreneurs and start-ups to share their best ideas and come together to take on one of the world’s toughest challenges – building the next-generation power grid to meet the needs of the 21st century. The challenge is one of the largest ever and is open at www.ecomagination.com/challenge and closes at September 30.

- Innovation is the engine of the global effort to transform the way we create, connect and use power,” Immelt said. At GE we have invested broadly and deeply in digital energy solutions and see this as a substantial market for us, but we can’t do it alone. We want to work with our partners to make sure we have a comprehensive digital energy offering. This challenge is about collaboration and we are inviting others to help accelerate progress in creating a cleaner, more efficient and economically viable grid. We want to jump-start new ideas and deploy them on a scale that will modernize the electrical grid around the world.

The Challenge, launched in collaboration with leading venture capital firms Emerald Technology Ventures, Foundation Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byer and RockPort Capital, and Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief, Wired magazine, is part of GE’s ecomagination initiative, a global commitment to build innovative clean energy technologies and will help fund the most promising ideas. Proposals are sought in three, broad categories: Renewables, Grid and Eco Homes/Eco Buildings. Select Challenge entrants will be offered the opportunity to develop a commercial relationship with GE through:

  • Investment: the $200 million capital pledge of GE and its partners will be invested globally into promising start-ups and ideas
  • Validation: evaluate entrant’sbusiness strategy through in-depth discussions with GE’s technical and commercial teams
  • Distribution: explore partnership opportunities with GE to scale a business and create global reach
  • Development:: leverage GE‘s technical infrastructure and GE Global Research Centers to accelerate technology and product development
  • Growth: explore opportunities for utilizing existing GE customer to take Challenge products to market

The $200 million commitment will help bring these new ideas to market by providing businesses and individuals with the opportunity to secure growth capital through GE investment and/or investment by participating venture capital firms. It is open to anyone aged 18 years or older and all legally formed entities.

- The Smart Grid is a new platform and a new market that is just beginning to be explored. Great ideas on how to do this can come from anywhere, so this competition is designed to tap the widest possible range of innovators, from big companies to entrepreneurs to students,” said Chris Anderson, who is serving as an advisor on the Challenge.

Entrants are able to submit their ideas via ecomagination.com. Entries will be evaluated as candidates for both a potential future commercial relationship as well as a $100,000 innovation challenge award acknowledging their entry as an example of outstanding entrepreneurship and innovation.

The candidates for a future commercial relationship with GE will be evaluated by a committee of representatives of GE businesses and the challenge partner firms. A separate, independent judging panel including challenge advisor Chris Anderson, GE executives and leading academics and technologists will also provide input on the commercial relationship candidates, as well as select the five recipients of the $100,000 innovation challenge award. Members of the general public will also be able to review and comment on entries and show support for the idea that they believe will have the most impact on the smart grid of the future. To view the full terms and conditions, visit ecomagination.com/challenge.

Modernizing the world’s aging electrical infrastructure is critical to meet ever-increasing demands on the power grid, support more renewable energy and increase energy efficiency. Full smart grid implementation could reduce U.S. carbon emissions through efficiency and enable further reductions through new source management, make the most of current assets, and support thousands of new jobs.

About GE

GE (NYSE: GE) is an innovative and diversified technology company. From aircraft engines and power generation to financial services, healthcare, and television programming, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the company’s website at www.ge.com.

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