The world faces unprecedented challenges, from the highest emissions in history, to energy insecurity and skyrocketing demand, to extreme weather events that threaten power supplies. To find new answers to these challenges, ABB’s annual Electrification Startup Challenge combines ABB’s sector-specific expertise and global reach in over 100 countries with the disruptive thinking being driven by start-ups.

Digital startups are invited to put their ingenuity and speed to the test, with just 10 days to work with ABB, SynerLeap and Microsoft to solve one of three energy challenges:

  • Today, buildings are the world’s biggest single source of emissions.  The first challenge is to reduce emissions in the office or at home via a digital tool that prompts people to make eco-friendly choices about using electricity, from turning off PCs to turning down the AC.
  • Challenge two is for virtual engineers to develop an online simulation tool that shows factory and commercial building owners how to build sustainable behind-the-meter electrical systems. With a few site parameters and KPIs, the simulator should provide an energy blueprint that uses digital energy management and automation to generate, store and consume energy sustainably.
  • The third challenge is to keep critical services going in hospitals, utilities and data centers. Rising electricity demand, greater complexity from integrating renewable power and extreme weather can cause electrical faults, but it can be laborious for experts to reverse-engineer complex faults and pinpoint the causes. ABB is looking for a digital tool that uses data mining, AI and machine learning to compress the expert work of months into hours.

Pre-selection takes place virtually on May 4. Nine finalists will go on to compete live on May 13, at a pitching final in Berlin, and will also be invited to join ABB executives at the Berlin Formula E-Prix. Three winners, one for each challenge, will get $30,000 each for a proof-of-concept project with ABB.

“For digital startups, this is an opportunity to reach customers in virtually every sector and country around the world, and to have enormous positive impact,” says Anton Kotov, Chief Digital Officer at ABB Electrification. “For ABB, working with start-ups helps us open up another dimension of innovation. By engaging with the brightest minds and sharing our expertise and industry know-how, we can work together to new solutions for the world’s energy and climate challenges.”

APPLICATION DEADLINE IS MARCH 31, 2022. To apply as a digital challenger or learn more about this year’s ABB Electrification Startup Challenge, visit: