Product, Service & Design Innovation
Plug and Play Accelerators Advance Sustainable Energy, Fashion

2017 has been a busy year for global innovation platform Plug and Play. The group launched the Plug and Play — Fashion for Good Design Accelerator in collaboration with Fashion for Good and C&A Foundation and corporate partners Kering, Galeries Lafayette Group and C&A back in April and have been working with companies such as Prologis and Deutsche Post DHL Group to bring new mobility, supply chain and logistics solutions to market. Now, the group has teamed up with Siemens to identify and work with startups that have the potential to disrupt the energy industry and announced the second edition of its sustainable textiles accelerator.

Tech giant Siemens has joined Plug and Play’s Energy & Sustainability program, which focuses on new technologies that can be adapted across the energy market value chain. By participating in the program, Siemens aims to connect with emerging startups for collaborative energy projects. Technical focus areas include digital platforms and new business models in the energy market, energy efficiency, distributed energy resources; wind, solar, energy storage and microgrids, electric mobility and alternative energy.

“The collaboration with Plug and Play as a member in the new energy program is a key initiative for Siemens to develop the relationship with leading startup companies in the energy and adjacent markets,” said Zuozhi Zhao, CTO of Siemens’s Power and Gas Division. “We are passionate about this partnership and the opportunities that come with the connection to this global ecosystem.”

According to Bernd Wachmann, Head of Innovation of the Power and Gas Division at Siemens, the company seeks to uncover new ways to reduce emissions, improve energy efficiency, expand its renewables base and scale up the utilization of digital technologies and new business models.

“Plug and Play has built the critical mass and developed the know-how to foster startup innovation in partnership with the leading corporations around the world. Our partners in the energy sector have line-of-site into emerging technologies across various sectors like finance, automotive, retail, new materials, etc.,” said Wade Bitaraf, Director of Plug and Play Energy and Sustainability.

“The Energy platform serves to find new technologies in artificial intelligence, predictive maintenance, blockchain data analytics, machine learning, supply chain optimization, Industrial IoT, asset tracking, cyber security and more in order to adapt them for the energy sector.”


Meanwhile, the startups for the second edition of the Plug and Play Fashion for Good Accelerator have been announced. The accelerator identifies and supports startups working on technologies, methodologies and business models to drive sustainable fashion.

During the 12-week program, startups follow a robust curriculum — which includes mentorship and training by Kering and C&A senior management, deal flow sessions with potential strategic partners and networking opportunities — at the Fashion for Good hub in Amsterdam. The program aims to help prepare innovators to bring their products and solutions to market.

Selected startups receive $25,000 to $75,000 in funding to scale their solutions and the program culminates with a Demo Day, in which startups present their developed business models to an audience of investors and corporate partners.

The second edition of the Plug and Play — Fashion for Good Accelerator Program will kick off in September 2017. From over 200 applications, 10 startups from around the world were selected to participate in the accelerator to address issues related to water use, energy use, waste, chemical use and labor practices in the textile industry:

  • Carcel: a Copenhagen-based fashion label produced by women in prison and made from 100 percent natural materials
  • Circular Systems: a company offering breakthrough technologies for high-value recycling, as well as vertical production of cost effective performance yarns and materials
  • Colorfix: a startup that has developed a new way of dyeing fabrics by using the power of biology to drive the process, thereby avoiding the use of hazardous chemicals and reducing water, energy and waste consumption
  • Ecofoot: the company has developed the H2COLOR dyeing technology, which utilizes a reactive dye immobilized in silica particle, enabling an 80 percent reduction in energy consumption and 70 percent reduction in water use during the dyeing process
  • EON.ID: the first global tagging system for textile recycling, which seeks to transform old clothes into new garments in a similar way to paper recycling
  • LiteHide by LeatherTeq: an economically beneficial patented process that eliminates salt pollution in the preservation of hides and in the associated supply chain
  • Nature Coatings: a company developing high-performing bio pigments and finishes for textiles, which are derived from agricultural waste and are scalable, biodegradable and affordable
  • NORMN Hangers: a line of eco hangers made from 100 percent recycled paper and printed with vegetable ink that can be disposed of using existing paper recycling schemes
  • SpinDye: an ingredient brand offering a technically innovative color system via a clean and traceable coloring method for textiles that reduces water consumption by 85 percent, chemical use by 70 percent and energy use and CO2 emissions by 30 percent compared to traditional coloring processes
  • A Transparent Company: a platform that, in collaboration with Provenance, empowers brands to take steps toward greater transparency by tracing the origins and histories of products with blockchain technology
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