23.03.2016 | News & Interviews

Smart kids on the block

Smart buildings are revolutionizing the way we live and work. The Canadian start-up Envio has found an innovative and smart way to make digital building management systems affordable, easy to install, and applicable for any type of commercial building. The EYSC ‘acceleration family’ around Reza Alagheband, CEO of Envio, includes the mentors Angela Kreitenweis and Carsten Stöcker from RWE’s Innovation Hub, as well as Thomas Prüver, Senior Manager at EY. In our Interview, you can read more about the objectives and expectations of the Envio acceleration Team.


Reza, why did you travel all the way from Canada here to Berlin? Why did you join the EY start-up-challenge?

Europa is a big market for smart building management solutions which help property owners and managers to significantly reduce energy costs. Our cloud-based, low-cost CUBE® digital controllers and sensors enable unprecedented energy savings at 1/5th the cost of comparable solutions. There is great demand for a solution like ours with its outstanding cost-benefit ratio. The EY start-up-challenge will offer us outstanding opportunities to gain access to potential clients in sustainability-driven markets like Germany and other European countries. Mentors from the RWE Innovation Hub and EY can offer priceless help in optimizing our business model in many respects. Especially because there is such a big demand for affordable and seamlessly implementable smart building solutions like ours, we are in dire need to scale our company to meet current and future demand.

Angela, RWE is one of the leading companies in the European energy market, what do you expect from working with Envio? 

Carsten and I are members of the RWE Innovation Hub, which is not just another department at RWE – it´s a platform. With expertise from all RWE departments and some subject matter experts, nearly 100 RWE colleagues are working Group-wide on developing new business models by using innovative practices that meet customers´ needs and wishes. The RWE Innovation Hub focuses on disruptive innovation that has the potential to contribute to our company’s turnover in the nearer future. In a big company like ours, innovation and digital change have to go along with cultural and management changes. RWE’s commitment to EY’s acceleration platform is one of many steps towards a culture of innovation in our company, which will be able and capable to produce pioneering products and solutions for the rapidly changing energy market. We expect Envio to give us new impulses, while we provide them with access to business knowledge and networks that can help them grow and scale their business. We are really curious about the outcome of the challenge.

Thomas, what will be your part in the challenge?

I am really looking forward to experiencing how the EYSC program will connect a large corporate like RWE with a fantastic start-up like Envio. I am keen to learn from both sides and to contribute my business knowledge as an EY professional with a strong focus on transaction services in the start-up business. And, last but not least, I really fancy this whole start-up-ecosystem atmosphere with young people wearing jeans and exploring business ideas we never thought of.

Envio is a Canadian start-up which develops and provides affordable and easy-to-install building management systems. Their solutions enable owners and investors to turn existing commercial buildings into smart buildings. Envio’s solutions are suitable for any type of facility, regardless of size, age, and sophistication level.

About the RWE Innovation Hub

RWE takes on a leading role in shaping the future European energy market. The Group continues to expand its international innovation network and seeks to engage in dialogue with external partners from industry, research and development and the international start-up scene. In 2014 the topic of innovation became central to RWE's strategy; innovation was linked structurally to the field of strategy. Innovation activities are bundled in the RWE Innovation Hub across the entire Group. The objective is to develop new business models that will revolutionize the energy industry, bring true change with them and provide clear benefits for the customer.

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