iWin wins CHF 150,000 to turn skyscrapers into sustainable power plants

(L to R) Paolo Corti, Diego Porzio, Dr. Francesco Frontini and Dr. Ruben Roldan Molinero (image: Venture Kick)
(L to R) Paolo Corti, Diego Porzio, Dr. Francesco Frontini and Dr. Ruben Roldan Molinero (image: Venture Kick)

Institutional Communication Service

29 September 2020

Ticino-based iWin develops a patent-pending solution, based on photovoltaic venetian blinds, that transforms building facades—from passive elements that ensure insulation and waterproofing into active surfaces that produce renewable energy. iWin will use the Venture Kick funding to finalize a minimum viable product.

Buildings are one of the largest energy consumers in Europe, responsible for approximately 40% of energy consumption and 36% of the CO2 emissions. Traditional rooftop photovoltaic solutions do not meet the energy requirements of multi-story buildings. The use of transparent facades in highly glazed buildings usually comes with a higher operational cost, as the incoming solar radiation is not properly managed and causes overheating. The typical internal blinds improve the visual comfort but keep the solar heat in the indoor space and require additional cooling.

iWin co-founders Dr. Ruben Roldan Molinero (CEO), Dr. Francesco Frontini (COO), Paolo Corti (CPO), and Diego Porzio (CSO) are tackling a CHF 9 billion opportunity to make the global real estate market more sustainable. The team develops the only product in the market for turning multi-story and highly glazed buildings into power plants and preserve their aesthetic standard. With its patent-pending solution—consisting of a smart photovoltaic venetian blind sealed inside an insulating glass unit—iWin combines renewable energy production, light and solar control, and a high-quality window in one single component. The device is maintenance-free and ensures total protection against dirt, dust, or weather conditions. iWin final customers are real estate developers, building owners, and public authorities.

The Manno-based startup, which won the first Boldbrain Startup Challenge in 2018, and which is currently incubated at CP Start-up USI, filed its first international patent in 2018, and the first working prototype has been measured and validated at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI). iWin will use the CHF 150,000 Venture Kick funding to finalize a minimum viable product that allows the startup to enter the market. “The boost received by Venture Kick was incredible. It is not just about the excellent network or the financial support but also the personal and professional growth during the acceleration program,” said Paolo Corti, co-founder and CPO.

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The philanthropic initiative Venture Kick provides up to CHF 150,000 in seed funding to Swiss startups. In addition, it offers a well-structured entrepreneurial path towards building a winning business. Startups pitch to expert juries at three stages to obtain funding, gaining direct feedback, and access to an international network of successful entrepreneurs and investors. Since its launch in 2007, Venture Kick has supported 700 Swiss startup projects with CHF 30 million. The program of financial support, training, and network has led to the creation of 519 companies and 7,000 jobs. Venture Kick alumni companies have attracted a total of CHF 3.5 billion and represent 54 companies ranked in the TOP 100 Swiss Startups 2020. >>