March 7, 2017

The UC Berkeley campus has a new innovation hub that is the result of a partnership between Enel, a multinational power company, and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Banatao Institute.

CITRIS director Costas Spanos CITRIS director Costas Spanos speaks to a crowd gathered for the Enel Innovation Hub ribbon-cutting at Sutardja Dai Hall. (Photo by Adriel Olmos, CITRIS and the Banatao Institute)

The Enel Innovation Hub will join the CITRIS Foundry, an on-campus startup accelerator focused on deep technology companies from the University of California. The partnership will allow closer collaboration between Enel and promising Berkeley-affiliated startups. Enel is the first corporation to establish a unique partnership with CITRIS that leverages both startup innovation through the CITRIS Foundry Accelerator and world-class academic research at UC Berkeley.

“Together with these public and private partners, we are shaping the future of technology transfer in ways that cross traditional boundaries,” said Costas Spanos, the director of CITRIS and the Banatao Institute.

 Enel Innovation HubInside the Enel Innovation Hub at the CITRIS Foundry. (Photo by Adriel Olmos, CITRIS and the Banatao Institute)

The innovation hub’s ribbon-cutting ceremony took place today at CITRIS’s Sutardja Dai Hall. In addition to Spanos, at the ceremony were Ernesto Ciorra, the Enel Group’s head of innovation and sustainability; Francesco Venturini, head of Enel’s global renewable energies division, Enel Green Power; and Henry Chesbrough, a professor at the Haas School of Business and executive director of the Center for Open Innovation.

“The launch of our innovation hub in a place with such a high concentration of companies looking to disrupt and innovate is the next stage of an exciting journey for Enel,” Ciorra said. “The group has long been pushing collaboration with forward-looking startups, not only as a way of exposing the group to cutting-edge technology and ideas, but also by bringing our own technology and engineering expertise to help these companies develop ways to integrate their tech innovations into the fabric of our business.”

Henry ChesbroughHenry Chesbrough, professor at the Haas School of Business and executive director of the Center for Open Innovation, speaks at the ceremony. (Photo by Adriel Olmos, CITRIS and the Banatao Institute)

The Enel Innovation Hub will scout startups to work with the Enel Group, developing business projects with the fledgling companies both in the United States and internationally, while also providing them with access to a potential market of more than 30 countries. One of the aims of the hub is to provide U.S. customers with energy management and storage solutions that maintain the country’s grid stability and make it less prone to outages.