Munich, January 2024
Wattando, company headquartered in Germany, has developed an energy management system that allows for a straightforward AC connection to virtually any household grid. Their groundbreaking innovation secured victory in the Energy category at the 14th Innovation World Cup, held during the Hannover Messe in 2023.
Our conversation with the Wattando team was truly enlightening. Now, let’s dive deeper into their path to success.
- HOW DID IT ALL START?
Initially we worked on balcony solar projects – it was a different team then. The limitation to 600 Watts input for socket feed made us think: ”You know what? We should change that, but keep the simplicity of standard plugs!“ Crossing this technical frontier was a key priority for our team. In addition, the privilege of those who own an electric installation was and is a great driver for our journey that has begun 2021 in Dresden. ”Wattando” refers to power, that‘s easy. We also found some inspiration in the term ”Wakanda”, referring to the hidden high-tech city of the future. Wattando has a more open, friendly ”o” at the end, as we are a very open, friendly team indeed. The ”do” is all about getting things really done!
- WHAT ARE THE KEY MILESTONES YOU HAVE REACHED SO FAR?
Until now we have been working mostly in bootstrapping mode, with only one family and friends funding round, a very sensible, conservative approach so far. We lean on public funds for the development of our series production sample, and the IP protection. A major milestone was the successful presentation of our prototype at INTERSOLAR 2022. We sold our first systems in the first quarter 2023, an early highlight this year!
- WHAT WERE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU HAVE FACED?
Being a founder during the pandemic! Honestly, we went far, far into unchartered territory. The global chip crisis in addition to broken supply chains wasn’t really helpful as well. We also learned that an IoT Start-up with both a hardware and software product is actually having two start-ups that need you 24/7. One recommendation for others in our ecosystem: Look closely, there are real chances out there. Sustainable energy, especially solar energy, needs more democratization – you can be part of this revolution!
- WHAT IS COMING IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
Next stop: INTERSOLAR 2023! We are very excited to launch our product officially – this will be an important milestone for us. Our presence in Munich will mark the rollout for Germany, with the whole DACH area following in 2024. It is an important step we take to accelerate our market entry in a significant way. But there is more to come! Product enhancements and new features, the next months will be quite busy for Wattando. To keep up with this fast pace we will also set up our organizational structure and processes.
5. DESCRIBE YOUR JOURNEY IN THE 14TH INNOVATION WORLD CUP® AND BEING THE WINNER OF THE ENERGY CATEGORY?
First of all, the high quality of both the participants and the ideas they came up with. We noticed a high level of innovation inspiration and dedication. And we faced a large, high profile jury with quite a choice. So that’s a great motivator for our own business. Major takaways? Stick to a clear mission and work hard for it – it’s so worth it! And don’t think you can prepare to be perfect. Try to be really good, but stay a human being.
- YOUR THREE TIPS FOR UP-COMING STARTUPS
1. Three minutes for complex products and business models? Yes, it works. You need to prioritize your messages (and honestly, you always have to). And you don’t have to say everything that could be told: Never underestimate the jury!
2. Stick to what you are really good at. Keep your focus laser sharp and delegate necessary work that is not your core competence to people with the abilities and resources.
3. Try to establish a product-led business, it’s an often-proved, healthy way. Foremost, be customer-centric, even if this will never work 100 percent. Because here is what being a start-up is all about: Keep on going, there simply is no single move without some sort of risk. Being innovative is a Marathon of decisions. You will survive this Marathon most likely if you always remember: Your work should be solving real problems of real people who will, eventually, pay money for your solution. And don’t forget to have some fun on your journey!
WE APPRECIATE THE FASCINATING INSIGHTS YOU’VE SHARED, AND WE EAGERLY ANTICIPATE WITNESSING YOUR FUTURE ENDEAVORS AND THE REMARKABLE STEPS YOU’LL MAKE AHEAD!
Visit Wattando and explore their smart energy management: Wattster.
Participate in the 15th Innovation World Cup® across a diverse categories, including Industrial, Energy, Mobility, Security, City, Agriculture, Home, Lifestyle, and Sports. (For healthcare innovations, please consider the Healthcare Innovation World Cup®).