Organization links startups to growth opportunities via international innovation pipeline
SAN FRANCISCO, Mar. 23, 2015 -- As aging water infrastructure systems place a growing need on upgrades and new investments, Imagine H2O, a global nonprofit organization catalyzing entrepreneurial solutions to water challenges, today announced the winners of its 6th annual Business Innovations Competition. The winning startups receive a total of $200,000 in cash and in-kind services as well as access to a pipeline of municipal and industrial customers.
Water customer sales data and risk modeling startup Valor Water Analytics won the early-stage track of the competition. OxyMem, a startup developing energy efficient and oxygen permeable wastewater treatment membranes, won the growth-stage track. Startups from Israel, India, North Carolina, and Georgia were named runners up. These teams were chosen from an international field of over 100 startups from 20 different countries.
"Imagine H2O continues to play a major role in stimulating innovation around water, through its well-structured competition and through the advice and guidance that the judges give water inventors and entrepreneurs about their inventions and business models," said Peter Williams, CTO of IBM's Big Green Innovations "Given the unfolding stress on global water resources, Imagine H2O's contribution is of enormous value to society globally. I am proud to be part of it."
Imagine H2O's judges represent many of the industry's major utilities, venture capital firms, and corporations, including American Water, True North Venture Partners, and LG Nano H2O. The judging panel based its selection of the winners and runners up on their commercial viability, customer value proposition, go-to market strategy, and financial plan.
Imagine H2O's approach to technology innovation connects startups with international market leaders, including municipalities at the innovation forefront via its Utilities Partnership Program, which counts DC Water and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California among its members. Since its founding in 2007, Imagine H2O has become the platform through which those needed business innovations reach water customers.
"Water infrastructure represents a significant market opportunity for innovators and opportunities" said Scott Bryan, Imagine H2O COO. "Yet, successfully entering a fragmented market remains a challenge for most startups. Our platform allows us to connect award-winning startups with a growing network of utility partners, beta customers and investors."
Imagine H2O's portfolio represents 1 in every 10 dollars of investment into new water companies. Over 500 startups have participated in this program. The program's major financial supporters include Wells Fargo, Grundfos, Morrison Foerster, Tetra Tech, the California Water Foundation, and network of donors and private foundations.