IEEE Power and Energy Society IEEE Power and Energy Society SDGE | San Diego Gas & Electric

Startup Showcase & Innovation Challenge

Accelerating the development and deployment of new grid edge technologies is critical to delivering a more flexible, sustainable, and reliable electricity grid. 

The IEEE PES Grid Edge Technologies Conference and Exposition is set to ignite this transformation by spotlighting innovative startups with the second year of Lightning Speed Pitches on the exhibit floor featuring utility leaders as judges. This year marks the launch of the inaugural Grid Edge Innovation Challenge, Wednesday 22 January 2025, 1 – 3pm.

The Grid Edge Innovation Challenge, led by utilities, private/public leaders and investors/funders, aims to foster groundbreaking solutions by connecting 180 leaders at 18 roundtables, inclusive of 6 – 7 selected startups each, to develop a potential funded engagement within 24 months that solves for a critical grid edge challenge.




We are currently welcoming submissions from the following:

  • Investors/Funders (dilutive and non dilutive) looking to invest in startups solving critical problems at the Grid Edge 
  • Potential Project Sponsors (Utility, Government, Corporate) looking to host or support an innovative pilot in next 24 months
  • Startups with up to $50M USD equity raised

Applicants should have a specific problem/solution of interest related to the Grid Edge Technologies Conference theme. Examples include:

  • Connected Utilities & Infrastructure
  • Fleet electrification
  • Energy Storage
  • Virtual Power Plants (VPP)
  • Policy & Regulatory Framework
  • Smart Cities & IoT
  • Microgrids
  • Distributed Energy Resources (DERs)
  • Electric Vehicles
  • Cyber Security & Data Privacy
  • Energy Efficiency

Application GUIDELINES

STARTUPS: Apply Here

Applications must include a 3-minute max recorded video. Applications will also be used to select startups to present at 3 minute Lightning Pitch Rounds on the exhibit floor at the Startup and Innovation Showcase Stage.

The format of the video should include:

  • Yourself: the participant should be included in the video recording.
  • Slides: maximum of 5 presentation slides
    • Explain the problem you are trying to solve. Grid Edge-related problems only.
    • Market
    • Solution
    • Path to Scale
  • Video submissions should be considered public and available to IEEE to use as marketing.

Investors/FUNDERS: Register Here

The cost for selected investors/funders to participate is $250 per participant in addition to the required full conference registration.


The cost for selected potential project/pilot sponsors to participate is $250 per participant in addition to the required full conference registration. 

Selected Nonprofits, NGOs and Government leaders can participate at no cost. 


  • All submissions are due by 15 July 2024
  • Selected participants will be informed by September 2024 and invited to participate in the Lightning Round Pitch and/or Grid Edge Innovation Challenge on 22 January 2025 at the San Diego Convention Center from 1:00-3:00 PM. No remote participation is allowed.
  • A one-day complimentary registration will be provided to all selected startups to attend the conference.  

BEcome a STARTUP STAGE, INNOVATION Challenge Sponsor

Don’t miss this opportunity to support innovative solutions shaping the future of the grid.

Startup Stage – Premium Sponsor (1 Available)


Premium Sponsor Receive:

  • 6 seats to Innovation Challenge
  • Firm Name on conference Brochure & Website
  • Access to ALL Startup Applications
  • Firm Name & Logo on Stage and Banner at Innovation Stage Area
  • 30-min Stage Presentation for Day 1 and Day 2
  • VIP Dinner & Reception with Utility/Industry Executives



Premium Table Sponsors Receive:

  • 2 Featured tables with organization logo for 10 leaders comprised of (6 – 7) startups, utility leaders, venture leaders, private/public leaders
  • 2 Featured discussion leaders at the table and opportunity to select start ups from vetted submissions
  • 1 Featured speaking opportunity (8 mins) during Innovation Challenge
  • Firm Name and Logo on conference brochure, website, app & Innovation Challenge Banner
  • Access to ALL Startup Applications



Table Sponsors Receive:

  • Featured table with organization logo for 10 leaders comprised of (6 – 7) startups, utility leaders, venture leaders, private/public leaders
  • 1 seat as featured discussion leader at the table and opportunity to select start ups (6 – 7) from vetted submissions
  • Firm Name on conference brochure, website & app
  • Access to ALL Startup Applications

Investor/FUNDER & UTILITY Benefits

  • Networking: This event provides an interactive platform to connect with 100+ promising startups and entrepreneurs in the Grid Edge Technologies space, as well as industry experts and utility executives who are setting the foundation for future business ventures.
  • Access to Cutting-Edge Technologies: Participating startups are on the forefront of Grid Edge Technologies, giving you exclusive access to the latest and most innovative solutions, their path to commercialization, and their fundraising timeline and targets.
  • Investment Opportunities: You’ll have the chance to discover and evaluate new investment opportunities in this exciting field, providing the opportunity to identify potential new partners with complimentary technologies and solutions.
  • Competitive Advantage: You’ll have the chance to stay ahead of the competition by keeping up-to-date with the latest developments and innovations in the Grid Edge Technologies sector and discover the latest trends and challenges facing the industry.


Selected startups will receive the following benefits:

  1. Opportunity to present on the Startup Stage located at the center of the Exhibit Hall during a “3-minute Lightning Speed Pitch” in front of hundreds of VCs, utilities and attendees.
  2. Opportunity to participate in the Grid Edge Innovation Challenge with utility, investor/funder and public/private leaders
  3. Opportunity to secure a showcase booth space (limited to 35 spaces) in the “Startup Alley Area” of the Exhibit Hall for a discounted price of $2,500 (regular price $3,500+) which includes:
    • 10′ x 10′ Exhibit space for all two days of exhibition, including carpet, 6’ table and two chairs (21-23 January 2025)
    • 2 Full access registrations (21-23 January 2025)
    • Online company listing to include company logo, description, and product categories
    • Unlimited guest discounted registration passes at 30% off to invite clients and guests
    • Access to the Press List
    • Access to the VC List