Antü Energía Takes First Place in “More Lithium, Less Footprint” Innovation Competition

Antü Energía Takes First Place in “More Lithium, Less Footprint” Innovation Competition


The startup dazzled the jury and was awarded US$50,000 for its project for a mobile energy generation and storage offering for users in isolated communities with energy problems and/or who are electro-dependent.

As part of its corporate sustainability and innovation plan, SQM launched the “More Lithium, Less Footprint” innovation competition a few weeks ago. The competition concluded on Wednesday, November 10th, at an event hosted by journalist María Elena Dressel at the TVN television studio to present 10 proposals selected from a total of 52 participating in the competition.  The three winners were Antü Energía, Movener and rECOnnect, which were awarded US$50,000, US$30,000 and US$20,000, respectively. In addition to this funding, SQM executives committed to provide mentoring.

Pablo Altimiras, Vice-President of Sales, Lithium and Iodine at SQM, commented, “This initiative is very important because it brings together three elements that are key for SQM: sustainability, the lithium business and innovation. These elements achieve the triple impact of supporting Chilean entrepreneurship, aiming to solve environmental challenges and making a significant social impact.  Lithium batteries are positively changing the world and we see that impact also potentially benefiting Chileans through this competition. We are cognizant of what our country and our planet need today and we do not want to hold back from the fight to reduce the carbon footprint. Rather, we want to be active role models and contribute our expertise. We are very pleased with the results of the competition and definitely plan to hold others in the future.”

“More Lithium, Less Footprint” was supported by INNSPIRAL—a corporate innovation accelerator—and was open to R&D centers, universities, SMEs, startups, among other organizations. It sought proposals that contributed to and positively impacted initiatives related to electromobility and storage systems. INNSPIRAL president and founder Iván Vera remarked: “We have achieved something very important by connecting companies like SQM with startups with the potential to scale up in Chile and abroad. The support is not only financial, but includes know-how regarding large-scale business and the key players in the ecosystem.”


Noteworthy Finalists

Of the 52 proposals participating in the contest, 48 were from throughout Chile, while the other four were from other Latin American countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia and Mexico), demonstrating the scope and market existing around the topic.

Highest honors went to Antü Energía, with its lithium-ion battery-powered device with the ability to connect to photovoltaic panels and, therefore, take electricity to the country’s most remote areas. According to Manuel Mata, the founding partner and CEO of Antü: “it was an “opportunity to show the world what we do, demonstrating to the public that innovation and technological development can be done locally, while caring for the environment and positively impacting those who need it most.”

Second place went to Movener, a startup specialized in training mechanic shops all over Chile to give them the tools they need to convert combustion engines to electric in order to strengthen electromobility in Chile. “We attack the problem of climate change and carbon footprint not only from the standpoint of operating a vehicle but also that of creation. By making it an electric car, we are producing one less new vehicle and, therefore, we have reduced emissions from manufacturing,” explained Gonzalo Pacheco, founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Movener.

Finally, third place was awarded to an initiative that delivers bulk cleaning products in reusable containers within 48 hours, offering a platform that allows it to predict the demand of each household and plan logistics for the electric vehicles carrying the products. Antonio Irarrázabal, founding partner and CEO of rECOnnect, touched on the importance of the competition, “It meant a lot. It has been quite a learning process, where we have been able to validate each of the stages we have developed. It has been fun, challenging and extremely encouraging.”

More than 50 proposals participated in “More Lithium, Less Footprint”. First, second and third place went to Antü energía, Movener and rECOnnect, respectively.

The closing ceremony was attended by the jury, made up of industry leaders and experts from the world of innovation: Pablo Altimiras, Beatriz Oelckers, Carlos Díaz, Iván Vera, Ángeles Romo, Sebastián Gilbert and Felipe Matta.