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Following a two day microhack, we partnered with Horizon Power to incubate four entrepreneurs to build disrupt the energy industry.

We spoke to Grant Young, who was one of the attendees chosen to come into incubation at Pollenizer. His company Nexergy, co-founded with fellow Energy XO participant Darius Salgo, is looking to develop a peer- to- peer energy trading platform.

How did you come to be involved in energy.xo?
My passion is sustainability, and over the years this has led to an interest in energy. I found it intersects with my skills of behaviour change, interface design and applying technical solutions to these areas (Grant is also the principal designer and consultant at Zumio). I’ve followed Pollenizer for many years, and heard about energy.xo through colleagues and the Pollenizer newsletter.

How was the experience of the XO?
It was really interesting. Throughout the process they stressed that they were looking for co-founders, that people are more important than the ideas. In fact, the team I was in didn’t necessarily have the best idea (we came last in the people’s choice!). In part, because of the ways in which our team worked, two members of our team were selected to go through to the accelerator program.

The rapid fire approach was very useful. Using simple tools like Typeform and facebook campaigns, we had a value proposition, a website and feedback from market in two days. It was stressful at times, but rewarding.

What was one of your biggest learnings?
My big flearn early on was that my pitch was way too long. By the end of the two days, I had a much tighter pitch. Seeing what worked for other people was really helpful.

How did your current company in incubation come to be?
I had been thinking about peer-to- peer energy trading before going into the XO. Although my team didn’t focus on it during the microhack, I had lots of interesting discussions with other attendees over the two days. That’s how I met Darius, and we founded Nexergy.

Tell me a little about the first two weeks of incubation.
The first was busy getting familiar with Pollenizer and StartupScience®, and meeting Horizon. The support and insight from Horizon has been invaluable. The employees have been a great sounding board, helping us with insights about the energy space and their business challenges.

For Horizon to be interested in pursuing our idea, we need to demonstrate value so from this week on we are on the ground validating our hypotheses. We have a solution in mind, but we’re really learning the problems from customer perspective. The key learning so far is that there are many potential customer groups for which our approach might be valuable. We are now trying to narrow that rapidly, to get to a core customer set. This week we’ve been able to do a bunch of customer interviews, and have already identified some customers segments which are not worth pursuing at this early stage.

The support from the coaches has been so useful. We can ask them questions about our
experiments and get instant feedback. They remind us to move towards action, rather than
over-thinking. That’s not to say it’s about not thinking. It’s about getting out in the market, and validating your thoughts through action. It really helps keep focus and early momentum.

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