Frequently Asked Questions

To learn more about Free Electrons please see below.



About the 2024 edition.

The 8th edition of Free Electrons will be held in a hybrid format. Virtual and physical. This means that each module (digital or physical) has a host destination, based on the Utilities’ country of origin. If/when it is possible to host a physical module, we will! The program focuses on enhancing each part of a startups business over the course of one year. Startups gain an immense amount of experience through hands-on interactions with The Utilities, connections to extremely targeted industry insiders, and exposure to investors.

Startups will participate in 1:1 meeting with utilities, pilot/project scoping and execution, pilot pitches and business proposition presentations, receive guidance on how to refine their solution and given fundraising and investment opportunities.

How does joining Free Electrons help a start-up?

By joining Free Electrons, start-ups  will have the opportunity to test their solution with world leading energy utilities. Each interaction is designed to facilitate ongoing conversations between start-ups and utilities to refine value propositions, seed pilot projects and explore investment opportunities.

What stage startup are The Utilities looking for?

The Utilities support a variety of startups at different stages. Typically, the startup’s applying for Free Electrons have already raised money, have pilot ready solutions and have created a working prototype.

What is the selection criteria the start-ups are assessed against?

The Utilities look for:

  • The experience of the start-up team
  • The maturity of the product, solution or idea
  • The level opportunity in the market the start-up is targeting
  • The potential profitability of the business model
  • The fit of the start-up to the needs of The Utilities

How does a start-up apply to Free Electrons?

Free Electrons has its own application form on type in and “Free Electrons”. Alternatively, simply click on the “Apply Now’ button and you’ll be redirected to the relevant F6S application page.

To start your application process you will need to login or create a new account on using your LinkedIn account, Facebook profile, or email address.

It typically takes a couple of hours to complete your application.

What happens when the application is submitted?

Once a start-up has submitted their application, The Utilities and their subject matter experts will review the submission. If an initial fit exists between the startup and the program, the program will be in touch to arrange for the start-up to attend the Pitch Event module for a series of one to one meetings with the utilities.

At the conclusion of Pitch Event the  start-ups will be invited to join a series of three, one week modules around the globe. During these modules, start-ups work closely with utilities, local accelerators and mentors to refine their company’s solution and explore options to jump start their company’s growth.

When will a start-up know if they have been successful in their application?

Applications for the 2024 program close on the January 28th 2024. The target is that the start-up is notified at least 2 weeks prior to the Pitch Event which is virtual, to allow for adequate preparation. Startups will then be notified if they will progress through to Bootcamp at least 4 weeks prior to allow for travel arrangements. Visa assistance, all flights and accommodation are covered by the program.

I’ve been invited to apply for Free Electrons, what does this mean?

It means you’ve either intrigued us or have been recommended to the program by The Free Electrons network. There is no obligation to apply for the program.

Applications are now closed; how can a start-up express interest?

We are always interested to hear from start-ups, for inquires or registration of interest outside of application dates please contact us.

Does a start-up need to attend all four modules?

Yes, it is a condition of a start-up accepting a place in Free Electrons that one c-level or senior employees of the start-up be present at each module.

The experience of the program is the only way to fully leverage the program’s extensive network for the start-up to immerse their team in the program and engage in-person with the full ecosystem of mentors, partners, investors, and other program startups.

Will the program help with VISAs?

Yes, Free Electrons do provides visa and other logistical assistance.

Are flights and accommodation provided as part of the program?

Yes, flights and accommodation are provided by the program.

How long is the program?

The program lasts the course of one year, with approx. 15 days abroad. Many startups and utilities continue to work with each other beyond the program.

What happens during the program?

The program focuses on enhancing each part of a start-ups business over the course of one year. Startups gain an immense amount of experience through hands-on interactions with The Utilities, connections to extremely targeted industry insiders, and exposure to investors.

The programs concludes with a Pitch Day and a celebration where start-ups have a chance to showcase their business to an audience of investors, partners, mentors and the local ecosystem.

How is a start-up’s IP treated by the Free Electrons members and other program partners?

The program and all participants take intellectual property (IP) very seriously and understand that startups often have varying levels of protection for their IP.  The application form allows for you to explain where you are at along the IP journey. If you make it into the program and project with one or several of the utility members, you may need additional non-disclosure agreements to protect your IP (the utilities may also require one for their own protection). These agreements are signed on a case by case approach; this is usually a fairly simple process that all utility members are experienced in and follows generally acceptable market practices on IP protection.

What happens after the program?

Startups and utilities often go on to continue to work together beyond the program. Start-ups that attend the program become part of the Alumni, which provides continued access to a global ecosystem of The Utilities, other start-ups, founders and mentors.

What happens for start-ups that apply but don’t get to join the program?

Even if start-ups  apply and don’t  get selected, the  application will be viewed by The Utilities and their subject matter experts. Sometimes a solution is just not a fit for right now, this is not to say it won’t be in the future – Free Electrons encourages all applicants to re-apply the following year.

We’ve applied to a previous edition of Free Electrons, are we still eligible to apply in 2024?

Yes, absolutely! If you have applied previously, we suggest you clearly outline what you have achieved since your last application so that The Utilities can adequately assess the progress you’ve made.

If I am not successfully shortlisted this time around, what are some of the reasons why?

The short answer is it is both a numbers and needs game – we get hundreds of applications each year but can only take a handful through the down-selection process. They are the ones that meet some pretty specific needs of the utility partners.

Passing on an applicant doesn’t mean that we don’t believe the startup has a great product/service or will be successful in their endeavours. It simply means that there were other startups that were more relevant to our present business ambitions & gaps.

As you consider these FAQs and your application today or in the future, here are some tips to ensure your application has the best chance of being viewed favourably by the utility reviewers:

  • Make sure you read each question carefully before answering – applications that are incomplete or don’t address the actual question being asked are not ideal
  • Our program is run entirely in English, so please don’t submit an application in another language and expect our international team to translate it!
  • Take the time to read each utility partner’s pitch deck and then tailor your responses to demonstrate how you are trying to solve one our current challenges or meet our priorities
  • We want to work with ambitious but flexible teams – find a way to make your execs available IF you get into the program
  • Whilst we do often invest in startups, don’t apply if the only reason is you want immediate funding. Ultimately, we are looking to grow with you

The reality is this – your startup is probably great. The main reason many applicants do not get invited to pitch is not to be found anywhere in their application. We were just more aligned with other startups this year.

However, remember that it’s not over, many companies that get into Free Electrons apply multiple times before getting accepted, so we encourage you to apply again next year.

Got more questions?

Get in touch with Free Electrons  by visiting ‘Contact Us’ tab.

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