I have always viewed our product as having a global scope. Conservatively there are over a billion people living or working in multi-dwelling buildings who do not have an affordable and effective way to access rooftop solar. The vision of Allume is to change that, unlocking rooftop solar access for everyone.
To achieve this, we must take some big steps into the unknown. Launching into international markets for any size of business is challenging, risky and frightening; but as a startup this is emphasized even further. If approached the wrong way this aggressive growth can be a significant waste of time and money at best, or terminal for the business at worst.
In my opinion the key ingredient in a successful approach is support.
The support that is needed is not just people cheering from the sidelines, but others jumping the fence to join the team, play alongside and help you succeed.
This can come in many forms: investment; partnerships; joint ventures; licensing agreements; and many more. The important element of all these options is that you have people in that market that are invested in your success. Without that, launching in a new market would be near impossible for our stage of business.
For this reason, we enthusiastically applied to the Free Electrons program earlier this year.
With 10 of the world’s largest and most influential utilities driving the program, we saw a fantastic opportunity to find the support we needed to grow our humble little business, into a global powerhouse.
We were thrilled to be accepted into bootcamp stage planned to be based in Singapore. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic began to grow this was revamped into a virtual event. This virtual bootcamp was a truly unique experience and went a long way to recreating the experience of an in-person bootcamp, complete with virtual happy hours; virtual startup exhibition booths; virtual meeting rooms; virtual chill out zones and more.
During this week we met with 10 utilities across 10 different time zones, each for a 30-minute rapid fire pitch. To have access to this caliber of potential partners in such a concentrated time was an exhausting but highly valuable experience. Cramming years of market research into days.
Additionally, to do it all from the comfort of our home not only saved on travel costs but also allowed us to continue to work on our day-to-day business operations. In some ways despite this pandemic restricting our travel to within metres of our bed, the ability for us to form relationships across the world has improved.
At the conclusion of this event we were thrilled to find out we had been voted into the top 15 and would be invited to join the program.
Already this has led to us securing a pilot with Origin to collaborate on shared solar among their existing and prospective customer base. More can be read about our partnership with Origin in The Australian.
As we gear up from module 1 of the program (also to be held virtually) we are excited to explore what other opportunities may lie ahead.