How Empowered Startups helped Square Solar grow into a high-impact startup making changes in the Vancouver alternative energy community.
Square Solar is a Vancouver-based startup designing and building modular solar tiles that enable customers to easily create solar panels that fit the dimensions of any area. Derek Yu, founder of Square Solar, explored this business opportunity while learning how to formulate and test business model assumptions in the Empowered Startups’ Global Startup Accelerator (GSA). Throughout the GSA, Derek learned how to use essential tools to track and measure success including the lean canvas, traction modeling, and conducting customer interviews.
In September 2020, Derek entered the Empowered Startups’ incubator to validate his business model in Canada. Empowered Startups connected Derek to several key partners, such as Mitacs, Riipen, and academic research labs , which enabled him to conduct R&D, build a digital presence, and develop a minimum viable product. By facilitating a partnership with Mitacs, Empowered Startups helped Derek secure $150,000 in research funding to further develop Square Solar’s panels and tiles in collaboration with UBC’s Okanagan Clean Energy Research Centre.
As Square Solar advanced its technology into a viable product, Empowered Startups connected Derek to funding sources and the Canadian venture capital community. Through the Empowered network he has been invited to present and pitch at events such as VANTEC Angel Network and Vancouver Economic Commission’s Angels For Climate Solutions. Most recently, Derek was invited to pitch to a local venture capital firm and is preparing to secure outside investment to fund additional hiring and manufacturing capacity.
“Empowered Startups provided me with valuable resources to help lay down a strong foundation for my start-up. My Startup Leader offered insight and guidance on where to focus our efforts at key points in our entrepreneurial journey to launch our product in the market and prepare for funding in the future.” -Derek Yu, CEO, Square Solar
Square Solar continues to receive positive feedback from customers and the market as it nears product launch. Derek is now preparing a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter for the latter half of 2022 to generate pre-sales and traction for his venture. Over the long term, Derek sees Square Solar growing to become a large company with a robust team, making solar panels accessible, customizable, and cost effective for all.
About Empowered Startups
Empowered Startups is an Innovative Startup Incubator and foundry headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. With offices in Canada, France, and Portugal, we train/mentor/ and network entrepreneurs to successfully launch new businesses in diverse markets. As a foundry we also conceive, build and launch our own products and solutions. Empowered Startups is recognized by the Canadian Government as a designated start-up business incubator and is known internationally for growing ideas into sustainable businesses using both a virtual and on-site model. Our training tools and mentorship are used and recognized by leading global university labs, Startup incubators, and innovation hubs.