*Updated October 2022
When I was a kid, a family friend used to tell me that there are three things in life to which the following rule applies: “You get out of it only as much as you put into it.” Those three things are knowledge, money, and health. Thinking back to the sentiment, it feels like there’s more to it, like the give and take is more unpredictable and less zero-sum than I was led to believe.
For instance, when you put money in a savings account and allow it to accumulate interest, you get more out of it than what you initially put in. But one thing’s for sure, you can’t reap the rewards of anything without investing in it first - be it time, effort, or money.
Unfortunately, there had been very little investment in renewable energy innovations and technologies for a long time. This is a major reason as to why renewables haven’t delivered, i.e. haven’t been efficient enough to overtake fossil fuels. Yet the same period of negligence has been marked by a growing sense of urgency to combat climate change, pollution, and other unsavory socio-economic and environmental practices that fuel our consumerist, have-it-all, throw-away culture.
This has led to global efforts to reduce the carbon footprint, including attempts to transition into renewable energy. But how can we do that if renewable energy innovations have been pushed to the background for so long?
The time for investing in renewable energy
Luckily, big companies and all sorts of investors - angels, VCs, etc. - have joined the good fight and investing more and more in renewable energy startups. For instance, Siemens has partnered up with hydrogen car startup Riversimple, and even big oil companies are investing in renewables.
However, finding renewable energy startups to invest in isn’t without its challenges. To find innovative renewable energy startups, you need the right set of features that’ll allow your team to manage the search and vetting process. And with that in mind, let’s take a look at tools for innovation management that’ll transform the way companies find the most promising renewable energy startups to invest in.
Tools for innovation management
If you’ve ever dabbled in handiwork or repairs, you may have a nice toolbox with all sorts of screwdrivers, hammers, screws, nails, the works. Yet despite the variety, after a while, you find yourself using only a few of the tools inside it.
My friend has a quirky 1993 Lada Samara that breaks down on every road trip, and he can tell you that you don’t need more than five tools to get her going again. Just like if you were to prepare a document, you probably wouldn’t alternate between Microsoft Word, Google Docs, OpenOffice, and LibreOffice all the time, but rather stick to one or two that are most resourceful and suitable for your needs.
The same goes for tools for innovation and innovation management. You don’t really need a multitude of platforms and subscriptions. What you ideally need is one or two that’ll give you the right features to find startups. In our case, renewable energy startups.
Such innovation tools allow you to take an idea and actualize it into something with potential for profit, marketability, and value in the world. Investment professionals and R&D teams have their work cut out for them, so a new way to find investment opportunities that requires minimal energy and resources would be a game changer.
Resourceful innovation tools can help teams find renewable energy startups that fit their own set of criteria, gain access to actionable insights, speed up research with custom filters that sift through massive databases, receive custom reports on trends, markets, and companies, etc.
In a nuthsell, Tools for innovation management help companies in the process of finding the best investment opportunities as smoothly as possible.
The truth is, great ideas are within arm's reach - but without the right tool to match them to the right investor, they may never see the light of day. And that's a shame because promising renewable energy innovations could really change the world.
Types of innovation tools
Tools for innovation management can be broken down into two categories: divergent and convergent tools. Divergent tools yield as many results as possible - like ideas or in our case, startups. Convergent tools filter and analyze this vast amount of data to come up with a smaller number of relevant and actionable options.
You can think of it this way when you’re brainstorming the solution to a problem. You start off by envisioning and exploring all sorts of methods and possibilities. You then sit down with your team and build upon each other’s ideas while trying to visualize what may fulfill that need. This is divergent thinking.
Once you have all this information laid out in front of you, you can start narrowing down the options by analyzing and critically approaching each idea. Eventually, you categorize the options and select the best idea as your final decision. This is convergence.
The best innovation tools will do both. For instance, let's say that you’re looking at the solar energy sector in general, but your specific area of interest is photovoltaic panel maintenance. A good innovation tool should match you up with relevant technologies and companies, like a startup that designs autonomous, AI-powered panel cleaning systems. But how would it work and what should you expect from such tools for innovation management?
What to look for in innovation tools
As I already mentioned, the investment professionals and R&D department at your company need something that will yield optimal results with the least amount of effort. Minimum effort, maximum results - that’s really what everyone’s after, and today, technology has actually made this goal achievable.
Ease of use
To begin with, innovation tools need to be easy to use. One of the main reasons Google beat all its competitors and got to a point where it accounts for nearly 87% of all search engine market share is because of the simplicity of its interface. You need a tool for innovation management that’s intuitive and straightforward. No matter how many filters or search criteria it offers, you still need to be able to quickly and easily make sense of the results.
Relevance of results
That brings us to the next point, and incidentally, another reason why Google became so popular: the relevance of results. What good is a massive database that gives lots of hits if none of them suit your purposes? Imagine having to go through all those results yourself!
Next, innovation tools need to be customizable. Investing in a new startup is no laughing matter, and you’re going into the task of finding the right fit with certain criteria in mind. A good innovation tool will allow you to customize your search in a way that fits you best. Basically, it’s all about investing in renewable energy startups in your own way.
Analytics and actionable insights
This brings us to the next point: the data provided by the tool needs to be converted into analytics and actionable insights. Custom reports are an example of something that can help you get a better idea of market trends, demands, and disruptive technologies that are ready to break the mold.
An AI-powered database
Lastly - though the list is by no means exhaustive - a good innovation tool will be powered by AI. The best part about AI-driven databases is that they learn from your behavior to improve and personalize recommendations. At the same time, they improve themselves and the way they work. AI-driven platforms are capable of quickly going through vast, complex mounds of data to bring back insights that are tailored to your needs.
How our platform can help you find renewable energy startups to invest in
We don’t expect you to take anyone’s word for it without the goods to back up the claim. So we’ll go over some features that make Valuer an all-around tool for innovation management. If you want to learn more, you can read about the 10 ways Valuer helps you identify investment opportunities. You can also see how we used the platform to find some of the top renewable energy startups worth looking into.
The Match Score
Valuer's match score lets you know how closely related a result is to your searches. So the higher the match score, the more relevant the startup is according to the criteria you've set up.
Innovative and customizable search options
Valuer offers various search features that you can use to launch a search and then narrow down the results based on useful metrics and features. These functionalities allow for a customizable experience when investing in renewable energy startups.
Search for startups
If you already know what area you want to explore, you can start off by typing in a search query in as much or little detail as you like. Then select the industries or sub-industries you’re interested in to help the AI hone in more precisely on what you’re looking for. From there, you can use filters to further narrow down your results list.
Next, you want to further filter results and then follow innovations in those industries. Once you’re done narrowing down the results based on custom parameters like sector, tech, company, or competition, you can add your favorites to the radars page.
The radar tracking feature allows you to receive notifications whenever new, disruptive technology or startups in your selected industries pop up. Being on top of new technologies and trends allows you to swoop in and find the ideal renewable energy startup to invest in when the time is right.
Another way you can start a search is by using our “Explore Industries” feature. Here, you can select from a number of industries, giving you a visual overview, through what we call clusters.
Clusters are essentially a Cluster Map of an industry that can also be broken down further by sub-industry, giving you not only an overview but also a way to easily see where sub-industries intersect. Each dot in the cluster represents individual startups, is color-coded based on sub-industry, and is spatially distributed by our AI based on how similar they are to each other.
Grundfos, a pump manufacturing giant, used cluster maps to find startups in the water sector that they would like to work with. They received over 250 matches of startups dealing with all phases of the water cycle, including a payment platform in rural Africa and a company offering circular water solutions.
But it’s different strokes for different folks, right? Some of us like algorithms like Netflix’s that give us suggestions based on our past likes and dislikes. So alternatively, you can start your search for innovative renewable energy startups by typing in the name of a company you like and getting results of similar startups with the look-alikes feature. Plus, the AI will learn from your behavior and preferences to give you better results in the future.
Finally, you can start your search by using the feature explore technology. Just select what technology you’re interested in from our list and from there you can find out which companies and industries are developing and applying it. Or, take advantage of the technology deep-dive feature that will give you in-depth insights into the selected technological field you’re curious about.
Use all of these features in tandem to get the most out of the platform. And if you don’t quite find what you’re looking for, you can order bespoke reports from our research team.
Actionable insights using AI
There are innovation tools out there that rely on a vast database, but a vast database is basically a needle in a massive haystack search if it doesn’t feature a powerful discernment mechanism. The AI assistant in our platform can help you go through market trends, see what competitors are doing, and give you strategic data-based insights that’ll eventually help you find that needle.
We already talked about how you can search for specific technologies by typing in a description or rather the problem you want to solve. We get there thanks to the AI translating your search from human semantics into matches, i.e. results.
The AI does this by using natural language processing (NLP) that’s an improved version of BERT. BERT is a bidirectional or non-directional language model that has the ability to learn the contextual relationship between words and yield highly relevant results to your search query.
Valuer: an innovation tool that will help you find renewable energy startups
Transitioning to renewable energy is a crucial building block in the efforts to decarbonize and mitigate climate change. Of course, it’s impossible to do that without focusing investments in the renewables sector, as we’ve seen in the past. Lack of investing in renewable energy startups and innovations is one of the main reasons why renewables aren’t ready for prime time.
Luckily, there are increasing numbers of big companies looking to be a part of change, a part of the sustainable shift. Some invest due to a corporate or personal sense of responsibility, some due to a visionary mindset or the future profitability of renewables, and some due to social pressure. This matters little - what matters are the results.
We are still far from the numbers that the renewable energy sector needs to see in order to speed up the development and efficiency of innovative technologies. Our platform is here for those ready to dip their toes or even take the plunge.
The platform combines divergent and convergent methods to give you a full experience and help you turn an idea into a tangible innovation. Ideally, this is the road that starts with investment and ends with disruptive technology that makes the world a better place. With the help of customizable search metrics, our AI assistant, and bespoke reports, we will help you get there.