Factor(E) Summary

Factor[E] supports early-stage entrepreneurs with a unique blend of risk capital and world class technical resources to accelerate access to energy in the developing world.

Market Need

Energy is critical to sustainable development, yet approximately one third of the world’s population lacks access to this fundamental resource. Every day, creative thinkers around the world are exploring business ideas to tackle this challenge but face an uphill struggle to bring these concepts to market as investing in new, unproven technologies carries high risk.

Entrepreneurs often cannot find the technical and commercial support they need to develop new ideas for emerging markets. As a result, there is a distinct shortage of viable technologies that possess the potential to benefit millions of people through increased energy access.

Business Model

In 2013 Shell Foundation and the Colorado State University’s world-renowned Energy Institute co-created Factor[E] to foster the development of low-cost modern energy solutions to serve low income communities in emerging markets.

Factor[E] takes a unique approach to the incubation model. In addition to making capital investments in high risk ventures, it provides a wide range of intensive technical and business resources to selected entrepreneurs (e.g. technology development, engineering design, financial planning, business planning and model validation).

By working alongside these entrepreneurs as co-developers, Factor[E] is able to highlight value and off-set risk for second-stage investors, enabling businesses to scale and fulfil their potential to deliver global impact.

Factor[E] focuses on disruptive technologies with the potential to improve at least 10 million lives in the platform areas of access to energy, waste to energy, sustainable mobility and energy in agriculture.


 Five Steps from Whiteboard to Board Room

1   Analyse: Factor[E] monitors market challenges and needs, evaluating potential barriers and risks to energy innovation in developing markets.

2   Seek: their team of energy scientists and business executives seeks out brilliant ideas and promising entrepreneurs that have the potential to solve global energy problems.

3   Fund: Factor[E] provides these entrepreneurs with risk capital ($200K to $500K in convertible debt) and resources to drive technology development.

4   Co-Develop: works collaboratively through an iterative process of development, testing and validation to reduce technology risk.

5   Connect: Factor(E) is able to leverage its networks and resources to connect entrepreneurs to potential funders and help build a strong investment case for growth capital.


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