20-11-2020

Energy meets PropTech ‒ with a message of collaboration

Helen Ventures and Helen had the honour of entering the Nordic PropTech scene at RecoTech 2020. Read below our recap of the event.

Pirita Näkkäläjärvi

I had briefly appeared at a Q1 PropTech webinar during the spring 2020, making the initial introduction of Helen Ventures. When we were invited to RecoTech 2020 online event, I was really excited to have the chance to introduce Helen colleagues from our Smart Buildings solutions in the event.

I invited along Vesa Harju, Helen's new VP of Smart Buildings, and Pirjo Jantunen, the Business Development Manager in the same solutions unit, and we were lucky to get Viktor Vitell, the CMO of Egain to host our fireside chat in RecoTech named Smart Energy, Smart Future.

What do we mean by smart energy?

Vesa started by looking the topic from the building perspective:

"The basis for all the upcoming actions should be healthy indoor conditions and healthy buildings. They are equally important for the tenants, other users, and also for the owners of the building, as they drastically affect the value of their assets. After that, we can focus on energy efficiency - for example how we produce energy, how we transfer it, how and when we consume it, also keeping the energy storage aspect in mind”, he said.

Related to this, Vesa also brought into the equation the challenge of building business cases out of this:

“We need, for example, to find the right incentives for all the parties, and the pricing models that work for everyone. This is one of the subjects we at Helen are working on”, Vesa added

Better services make it easier for consumers to make sustainable choices

From the energy transition point of view, smart energy plays a role in Helen’s commitment of being carbon neutral by 2035. Viktor challenged Pirjo to think about friction on the path to carbon neutrality, drawing inspiration from retail where it is common to analyse friction in the customer journey. Pirjo pointed out that during the corona crisis we as humans have been able to bring about many changes but that we all have to work for a better future.

“As consumers, we might not be committed enough, and we could do more. But both big energy corporations and startups can help consumers to make more sustainable choices by offering better services that are easier and nicer to use”, Pirjo reminded.

I personally think that it's really inspiring to work in a company like Helen that makes it possible for everyone to be a more sustainable consumers and a more sustainable citizen. Pirjo and Vesa emphasised that the future solutions to these large challenges come from many small sources.

“Carbon neutrality is an ambitious goal but it consists of many small solutions. Some of the solutions Helen can solve by itself but for some we need to find the right companies and partner to work with”, they said.

We probably haven't even seen all the opportunities yet, I would add.

Stronger together - ambitious goals are easier to achieve in cooperation

This leads us to my favourite topic. We see the complexity as ecosystems that require cooperation. The energy transition is a hugely complex puzzle, in which everything from renewable energy technologies and distributed energy solutions to smart buildings and electric vehicles is linked. Pirjo, Vesa and I agreed that the optimisation of this is really challenging.

Our main message to the Nordic PropTech scene is that isn't one person's show - nobody can do this alone. Often someone has to act as a catalyst to bring different players together. Also startups can play this role, sometimes we bigger companies take the lead. Startups bring a wealth of new ideas and new strengths. We at corporations can accelerate things with our resources, scale, knowledge, and reach. We can introduce startups to our networks, other energy companies and investors.

Viktor wrapped up our Smart Energy, Smart Future fireside by repeating what he called “the war cry of Helen Ventures and Helen”: let’s collaborate if we are to succeed.

Indeed, together we are better prepared for the future.

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