The Basque startup Poween devised a smart kit to achieve 30% energy savings in homes
The initiative, which has received support from the SPRI Group, leads to cheaper water, electricity and heating consumption. The product, within the Internet of Things sector, controls the consumption through the mobile.
Poween is a Basque startup with an ingenious project to tackle a problem that affects almost every household: energy consumption. The company has devised a kit, consisting of several devices, to save energy in the consumption of water, electricity and heating. An estimated saving can be placed between 10 and 30% of the energy bill in a home. The project has received support from the Ekintzaile program of the SPRI Group, the Basque business development agency.
Mario Fernandez is the founder and CEO of Poween, with an inexhaustible business concern. This project starts at the end of 2018, when “I received an email from the University of Navarra to participate in the Innovation Fast Truck contest, which is to have a business idea and work it”.
Fernández raised the personal problem he had in his home: he did not control the consumption of light or water. “I thought about designing an energy efficiency kit and worked on the project for three months.” His team (made up of five people) was the winner among 13 initiatives and 70 participants. “Two weeks before presenting it, we were assigned a mentor, Ion Yerro, who is a partner of Metxa,” an innovative Basque startup accelerator through the Internet. “Thanks to him we were able to better define the approach and the business model”.
Metxa raised the possibility of taking the project to market. “The other four members of the group left and I continued with the project. I entered with Metxa with three objectives: to study the viability, to receive some subsidy and to constitute the society and a business model that was scalable”.
The contact work with suppliers began and “we saw that the market has a great possibility of growth, in the IoT sector (the so-called Internet of Things)”, currently with more than 30 million devices in the market.
The product has varied as the idea has developed. Initially it was a kit with four devices: an electricity monitor, two smart plugs, a device to reduce water consumption in the shower and an intelligent thermostat. “We were thinking that four different applications are needed and we plan to make a joint platform and sell it as a kit”.
Fernández explains that enough time for a shower should be around 5 or 6 minutes and in Spain it triples. “Therefore it is necessary to have some reference in the shower itself that helps us reduce time”.
In the case of light, he points out that today there are countless companies that offer a cheaper price and on many occasions we have hired more power than necessary. “The electricity monitor measures your consumption per hour and maximum and with that data they can offer you energy advice”.
For heating savings, they comment that normally the devices for their control are analog “and there is an oscillation of about five degrees in terms of the temperature it marks. With our thermostat, being digital, you can set the temperature you want and the moment you are at home”.
New business idea
The business idea has been pivoting as progress has been made in the negotiation and market research, to facilitate access to users. The new idea is to offer an energy saving platform with different stages: one part is free, in which any user can receive information, advice and recommendations on energy saving, energy efficiency and how we can improve. “The second stage, already paid, includes the integration of the different devices that the user wants to incorporate, always followed by our recommendations, advice”.
Now it is in the conceptualization phase of the model, which will persist until December, which will be followed by another three or four months of product development. The intention is to launch the device in September 2020, after a powerful marketing campaign next summer.
Mario Fernández insists that the project will help many families and “in the free part they will already get savings.” The initial intention is to reach 50,000 homes in Spain, which is 0.275 of the market. “We do the tests in Euskadi because we have the registered office here”.
The potential client of Poween is between 25 and 55, in homes with children. In addition to economic savings, its founder highlights sustainable development, because “one third of the energy in Spain is consumed in homes. And water is still a scarce commodity; what is not normal is to consume 130 liters in the shower, when they have to be 40 liters ”. It also highlights the comfort of the user, who can control the heating and air conditioning from anywhere and can even turn on the washing machine or dishwasher without being at home.
Fernández highlights the support for the SPRI Group project, through the Ekintzaile program, last July, for an amount of 25,000 euros “which has been key to continue with the project. It is a help that every entrepreneur needs. ” And it also highlights the support of the startup accelerator of Metxa, which are partners from the beginning. Now, Fernández is looking for a team for the development of the initiative and is already in the work of the first round of financing.
Also published on Medium.