Sara West and Alexander Torstenfeldt were 2014’s ClimateLaunchpad European winners with their venture Wavetube. They’ve joined the Climate-KIC Accelerator programme and are in the midst of accelerating their development. We wanted to know how they are doing and interviewed Sara.
Tell us about Wavetube, what is it?
‘Wavetube develops a unique solution to harness ocean wave power to produce renewable electricity. We will deliver wave energy farms to global utilities in collaboration with industry partners. A competitive efficiency in combination with a durable design will deliver a cost-of-energy that is competitive to offshore wind.’
How did you experience the CleanLaunchpad competition?
‘The main learning outcome from taking part in ClimateLaunchpad is the constant questioning of the business idea and the underlying technology. We’ve met critics and have been forced to constantly improve and refine our concept.
Taking part in the Boot Camp prior to the national competition was very fulfilling. It helped us to refine our business model, pitch and assess USPs even further. The mentoring, coaches and interaction with other teams within the cleantech sector was very special. Even now we still keep in touch with other teams.
For us ClimateLaunchpad was a not to miss opportunity because of the people involved and the network that we are now part of. It’s a unique chance to gain exposure and improve your business concept.’
What is going on in the Accelerator programme now?
‘We are currently in stage-1 of the Accelerator programme. During the stage-1 process we have been able to further develop our wave power concept to fulfil our customer’s requirements. We’ve built a solid platform for our business case and we attended very useful workshops in energy finance. In May we’ll attend the first master class held in London.’
How are things going with your start-up? What is the result of joining ClimateLaunchpad?
‘Things are going very well. Right now we are entering a critical stage where we are refining the design of our wave power solution in order to maximise the efficiency. We will perform experimental tests in Northern Ireland during the summer before we move on to demonstrating the Wavetube solution in its real environment: the ocean. ClimateLaunchpad opened up a vast network and expertise that we can easily access as we accelerate our development.’
Why should people join the competition?
‘Because it is a once in a lifetime experience. It opens doors for expanding your network and business. Just do it. Enjoy the ride.’