Power Ledger wins endorsements worth millions in Sir Richard Branson’s tech competition
Originally posted by Luke Cooper @ 9news.com.au
Picture:Perth-based blockchain electricity provider Power Ledger has won Sir Richard Branson's Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) competition. (Supplied)
An Australian blockchain-based electricity provider has been named the winner of a global technology competition run by Sir Richard Branson, and the recipient of endorsements worth millions.
Power Ledger, a company from Perth founded in 2016 that uses an energy network based entirely on blockchain technology, was named in the final three of the Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) in January this year.
Over the weekend, a panel of judges including Branson himself, declared the organisation the victor at an event held on the billionaire entrepreneur’s Necker Island in the Caribbean.
Joint founder Dave Martin told 9News.com.au today that the win is “mind-blowing”, global recognition of their technology platform.
“The technologies that you’re up against are, in their own way, world-leading,” he said.
“For us, it was great to even be included in that cohort, but to win was validation not just of the technology but of the challenge that we’re trying to resolve.
“It’s validation that what we’re doing is meaningful and people see extraordinary value in the potential for how we can make renewables a bigger part of the energy system.”
Now in its fourth year, the XTC is designed to allow entrepreneurial groups “to break out of the pack, in a world crowded with interesting companies”.
Smart action camera company Revl, which uses artificial intelligence editing software, and infant health platform Owlet were the other two finalists to make the XTC top three.
As the winner, Power Ledger now has access to networking, mentoring and infrastructure support from global tech companies such as IBM and Amazon and endorsements from Mr Branson.
Power Ledger uses Blockchain technology to offer low-cost, renewable electricity sources to its customers through peer-to-peer trading, rather than major power providers.
Blockchain is a peer-to-peer database system that simplifies and democratises the transaction of financial value and commodities – the most popular of which at the moment is cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.
Mr Martin said that in the nine months since the company was named as a finalist, Power Ledger has taken the technology it first pitched as an idea, expanded it internationally and demonstrated its real-world applications.
“We’re now running a microgrid with partners in Bangkok, we’re looking at developing a virtual power plant,” he said.
“(On) both sides both sides of the United States we’ve got energy trading occurring within utilities… and we’re working with Silicon Valley power and the city of Santa Clara to develop a carbon trading derivative platform.
“For us it was around demonstrating how our technology could be used to resolve real world problems both in developing economies as well as in first world economies.”
Despite the gravity of having Sir Richard Branson as a backer for their technology, he also said that it’s now business-as-usual for Power Ledger in looking to keep growing their platform.
“Sir Richard Branson, his brand itself is synonymous with leading-edge business models,” he said.
“To have that level of endorsement around our business model and someone of his calibre to look at what we’re saying and say, ‘I think you guys are on a winner here’, that’s a massive endorsement for us.
“We came into the office this morning and we’re all very excited, but the team is still going through the work that we’re all on - the work continues.
“Awards are just awards and they’re great but where the rubber hits the road is where it all comes together - we keep working, we keep going hard, we keep building a really capable team, and let anyone try and stop us.”
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