From a thesis topic on energy harvesting to the Top Industrial Innovator

1. HOW DID IT ALL START?
Omar Link and Simon van der Jagt founded Nowi in 2015. Our reason to do so was based on a very simple observation: everyone was talking about the Internet of Things and all of the billions of connected devices, but no one was explaining how we were supposed to power all of this. Clearly, changing batteries or wiring power cables would be impossible at this scale. But what was the alternative?

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2. WHAT ARE THE KEY MILESTONES YOU HAVE REACHED SO FAR?

After a year and a half of prototyping, we have reached a “proof of principle” demo that was good enough to land us €350.000 of government funding. We used this to get to a proof-of-concept, which was a fully functional energy harvesting demo. We then secured a €1.5 Mio VC round to develop this into a first product version. A small chip that makes it extremely easy for any company to power their devices with energy harvesting. Last year, that vision has come to life more and more as it has been used in a pilot project for road monitoring. A Swiss watch manufacturer is also currently implementing it in their next-gen smartwatch.

3. WHAT WERE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU HAVE FACED IN YOUR JOURNEY?

Any start-up faces at least some of the same challenges. Product-fit, team, and funding. Product-fit can only be achieved by leaving the office and interacting with as many companies as possible. Each conversation provides a bit of feedback which slowly shapes the product solution. We went from a technology-push of energy harvesting technology to a clear market-pull of use-cases where companies absolutely need what we have made. At the same time, we need the brightest minds to help bring this all to live. We have been non-stop recruiting the best talent and we now have a 15-people team with 3 Ph.D.’s and 7 MSc’s, and a combined 30 years of energy harvesting research experience. Finally, all of this needs to be paid for. Fundraising is a continuous effort as a result.

4. WHAT’S COMING IN THE NEAR FUTURE?

For Nowi, 2019 is a very exciting year as our energy harvesting technology is being embraced by the first global companies. The industry is starting to see that energy harvesting is one of the key building blocks in many IoT solutions as it improves the user-experience or reduces the need for maintenance and thereby the cost of ownership. As first, companies deploy this technology, others cannot stay behind. This year, several collaborations between Nowi and other large companies will be announced, and we believe this will act as a catalyst for the rest of the industry.

More details at: Innovation World Cup


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