Take green energies, add a zest of blockchain technology, shake well, and you will get Bovlabs, the most promising start-up around today! Jaikrishnan Radhakrishna Pillai is bursting with energy. After living in India and London, he founded Bovlabs in San Francisco and Zurich in 2017, with the aim of creating a peer-to-peer green energy trading platform based on smart electricity microgrids and blockchain technology. A year later, with the help of Provence Promotion and Euroméditerranée, he is established in Provence. Bovlabs was selected by thecamp to join the acceleration program and lead an experiment at Aix High Speed Train Station. Convinced of the potential of the French market in the energy trading sphere, and impressed by the dynamism and multiculturalism of Southern France, Bovlabs has definitively taken root in Aix-en-Provence.
“I am passionate for green energy and I dreamt of becoming an entrepreneur”
“When I realized that blockchain technology could facilitate energy distribution, I founded Bovlabs to create a community. I started in July 2017 in the United States with a first experiment based on smart electricity microgrids capable of storing energy for supermarkets and hospitals”, explains Jaikrishnan Radhakrishna Pillai.
Very soon his start-up began spreading around the world: in Kerala in India, at the heart of Silicon Valley in San Francisco, and in Zug in Switzerland where the co-founder Martin Lesner is established. France and more specifically thecamp now houses the head office of the parent company.
From San Francisco to Aix-en-Provence
The founder of Bovlabs is already a big fan of the region. “I love the vibe of Marseille, the football, and the mix of cultures. In San Francisco I met the representative of Provence Promotion who introduced me to Euroméditerranée. Late 2017, I participated in a symposium on smartcity in Marseille”, recalls Jaikrishnan Radhakrishna Pillai. And he has never left the city since. Provence Promotion was on hand to help with the practical details of bringing his company and his family to Provence, and discovering thecamp was decisive in his choice.
“We were on the lookout for growth opportunities in Europe. We discovered the SolarCamp project which was being developed at thecamp by Vinci Energies, Accenture, and SNCF Gares&Connexions”, explains the CEO of Bovlabs. The Aix TGV railway station is aiming to achieve energy autonomy within three years by producing its own photovoltaic and hydrogen power. For the past year, solar panels have been assembled at the entrance to the station as part of this experiment.
“In the future the vehicles parked in the car park will store the energy that is supplied to the station. Via a mobile appli which will function as the interface with the power grid, the passengers who leave their vehicle in the car park will indicate their return date and the charge that they need. In exchange they will receive digital tokens which they can use to pay their car park fee, hire a car in Paris, or any other service. The SNCF will be a model of auto-consumption”, adds Jaikrishnan Radhakrishna Pillai, who is currently in talks with RTE and Sagemcom.
Bovlabs is seeking to develop partnerships with operators of smart electricity microgrids, and with vehicle manufacturers. The start-up employs seven people and intends to recruit five more staff members in 2019, mainly at thecamp.