Janina Benz

Meet the CODE_n13 finalists for: Urban Solutions

Intelligent networking of data and infrastructures gets more and more important especially in times of rising urbanization. Let’s welcome our finalists in the category of Urban Solutions: Optimale, panStamp and Lightbee.


Optimale - Peter Cheung

Optimale – Peter Cheung


panStamp - Daniel Berenguer

panStamp – Daniel Berenguer

Lightbee*: As soon as we receive the questionnaire of Lightbee it will be found here as well.

Janina Benz

Jennifer Indovina: “It takes more than just a strong personality to deal with the startup environment”

Jennifer Indovina is a cleantech entrepreneur, political energy advisor, and TED Fellow who is currently working to spread energy efficiency initiatives worldwide. Jennifer is the CEO and Co-Founder of Tenrehte Technologies, Inc., a cleantech company that produces wireless consumer electronics products. Tenrehte’s first product is the PICOwattTM Smart Plug, an energy-saving outlet adapter that gives you remote control over the power your devices consume. The PICOwattTM Smart Plug has received international recognition, winning the 2010 Best of CES Green Product Award, as well as being featured in the New York Times, Popular Science Magazine, Treehugger.com, and BusinessWeek. Jen’s latest TED talk, Eliminating Power Poverty, can be viewed online.

Janina Benz: Tell us about your company, Tenrehte.

Jennifer Indovina: Tenrehte is a cleantech electronics company. We make energy monitoring and control products that save buildings energy. We launched the company with our first product, the award winning PICOwatt Smart Plug, at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show, and we’ve been moving full steam ahead ever since.

JB: In 2010, you were selected as a finalist in the Best Young Entrepreneur category for the Stevie Awards for Women in Business. In your opinion, what is the most important characteristic to becoming a successful entrepreneur?

JI: Self-awareness. I think the reason why it is so rare for an entrepreneur to be part of the right team, have the right product, and find the right market at the same time, is because the leader is not self-aware. It takes more than just a strong personality to deal with the startup environment: you also have to be passionate, fair, loyal, hardworking, and honest—first and foremost, with yourself.

JB: Do you think that entrepreneurs are born or made?

JI: I think it’s both. My family has the entrepreneurial spirit; my grandfather and father were both self-starters who were a part of their own startup companies. However, I also feel that I have been made into the entrepreneur I am today by my experiences. I have experienced triumph, failure, being powerless, being powerful, and feeling truly grateful for certain customers. Only because of these experiences do I feel worthy enough to call myself an entrepreneur.

JB: When working as Director of Marketing for Vivace Semiconductor, you led international teams based in the US, South Korea, and China. How did working with an international team change your process?

JI: Working with international teams at such a young age taught me how to blend into environments, to respect differences, and how to communicate effectively—the ultimate entrepreneur’s toolbox, if you ask me.

JB: What are your big expectations for CeBIT?

JI: CeBIT is the most incredible mix of international businesses; I expect this show will introduce incredible new opportunities. I am just so excited to spread the PICOwatt love all over the world.

Editor’s Note: We’ll be featuring some of our finalists on the blog in the weeks leading up to CeBIT, but their participation has no bearing on the contest results

Janina Benz

Meet the CODE_n13 finalists for: Social Community & Crowdfunding

The Social Web enabled a lot of new technologies. Especially for the energy and IT sector there are many interesting solutions. It’s time to meet our finalists in our Social Community and Crowdfunding category: bettervest, FutureWatt, MilktheSun, Social energy behavioral networks and Sunnycrowd.






Janina Benz

CODE_n13 Jury: Interview Antonella Battaglini

Antonella Battaglini - CODE_n13 Juror

Antonella Battaglini – CODE_n13 Juror


Since 2001, CODE_n Juror Antonella Battaglini, a researcher for the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), has devoted herself to the area of renewable energy. She introduced her groundbreaking intelligent electricity network concept, called SuperSmart Grid, to the public in 2007. SuperSmart Grids connect transmission networks in order to distribute electricity from wind, bio mass or solar power around the globe – according to demand. Antonella Battaglini is also Programme Director of the Smart Energy for Europe Platform (SEFEP) and Co-founder of the climate organisation TheCompensators.

Janina Benz: Europe is theoretically able to fully generate its power from renewable energy resources. What is your ideal vision of an efficient and environmentally friendly power supply?

Antonella Battaglini: Europe has indeed large renewable resources, and it could even use 100% renewable sources to fuel its power sector. However, resources are not evenly distributed, and they are variable. To realize a power sector that is largely based on renewable sources, we need to become real Europeans by overcoming the national approaches to energy and developing a system which is good for the majority and not for a few. In this period of European crises, we need more Europe than ever, for energy security, price predictability, and for addressing the challenges of climate change and environmental degradation. My ideal vision is for us to become better citizens, be aware of our actions and make informed choices. My vision is to stop believing in black-and-white publicity, acknowledge that Earth is the only home we have, and quickly figure out how to share it and preserve it for future generations. Energy is one important piece of the puzzle. My vision is better and coherent policies to tackle the challenges in a coordinated and holistic way. More…

Janina Benz

Markus Schulz and Daniela Schiffer: “Everyone should know what kind of impact we have on our climate”

Markus Schulz and Daniela Schiffer are among the CODE_n13 finalists and founders of Changers, a solar charger and energy marketplace. Markus formerly ran an advertising agency where he worked for renown high tech companies in the field of renewable energy. Daniela has a background in media art and collaborated on several European and international projects before joining Markus at his agency.

Janina Benz: Congratulations on being among the 50 CODE_n finalists! What does Changers do, and what was your motivation to start it?

Markus Schulz & Daniela Schiffer: In order to be successful in our fight against climate change, awareness is indispensable. Everyone should know what kind of impact we have on our climate, how we can protect it, and how we can bring change about. That’s what Changers is about: motivating everybody to produce and use their own energy. And the best way to do this is to make that behavior measurable and reward people for doing so. So we developed a solar charger that can charge a wide range of mobile devices while counting the exact amount of energy produced and CO2 saved. The data is stored automatically and can be uploaded to our social network, Changers.com. There you can compare your achievements with your friends and the rest of the world.  And for each gram of CO2 saved, we reward our users with Changers Credits, which they can redeem for sustainable products and services. More…

Janina Benz

Meet the CODE_n13 finalists: category cloud computing

The 50 finalists are chosen and just some weeks are left until we all meet at CeBIT for the final showdown. Meeting 50 startups from all over the globe – wow! But who are the people behind the companies? What is the entrepreneurial spirit which is motivating them?

It’s the perfect timing to get to know our finalists a bit more. Please welcome GreenQloud and GREENCLOUDS which are finalists in the cloud computing category.


GreenQloud - Trygguvi Larusson

GreenQloud – Trygguvi Larusson


GREENCLOUDS - Peter Zonneveld

GREENCLOUDS – Peter Zonneveld

Janina Benz

Ridha Azaiz: “Get your idea checked from different angles”

Ridha Azaiz is one of the CODE_n finalists and the founder of Solarbrush. He started studying at RWTH Aachen University and transferred to Technical University Berlin in order to finish his Master’s in mechanical engineering. His research and development activities have led to many awards, such as the  Clean Tech Media Award and the start up award hy! Berlin

Janina Benz: Congratulations on being one of the 50 CODE_n finalists! Could you tell us about Solarbrush?
Ridha Azaiz: Solarbrush is a robotic cleaning system for solar panels. Cleaning is very important, especially in arid regions, as generators lose up to 35% in efficiency in a single month after a sand storm. The robot has a very lean and efficient drive that attaches to the inclined panels, which distinguishes the Solarbrush robot from others. It is also very light weight and can cross the solar panels, costing just a fraction of what competitors charge. We’re pioneers in the field and were first in shifting the focus from the cleaning and maintenance of photovoltaic (PV) cells in Europe to the sunbelt countries. Where there is lots of sun, PV produces the most output but also suffers from deposits. More…