Water Innovation Accelerator Highlights Digital Solutions to Global Water Challenges

Imagine H2O announces new programming and partnerships at WaterGala '17

SAN FRANCISCO, March 16, 2017 -- Imagine H2O, the water innovation accelerator, showcased the winners and finalists of its 8th annual innovation program at WaterGala ‘17, an event yesterday evening featuring over 350 industry executives, investors, utility managers, government officials and sustainability experts. Twelve promising water data startups were selected from a global field of 180 applicants in 30 countries.

Utilis won top honors with its cost-competitive satellite imagery solution to detect leaks in water distribution systems. Over the past 12 months, Utilis has surveyed over 75,000 miles of buried pipe infrastructure and identified over 8,000 suspected leaks. Arable Labs, a crop and weather sensor, and Triple Bottom Line Enterprises, a data solution for designing affordable piped-water systems, were recognized as the runners-up.

Utilis wins the 2017 Water Data Challenge

Utilis wins the 2017 Water Data Challenge

"We are honored to be part of Imagine H2O's program this year and be recognized for our work to improve resilience of drinking water infrastructure around the world," said Lauren Guy, Founder & CTO of Utilis. "The resources, insights and network of advisors that Imagine H2O offers will be instrumental in helping us develop and scale the impact of our business this year,” added Elly Perets, CEO of Utilis.

These three companies, along with the remaining finalists, advance to Imagine H2O’s 2017 Accelerator Program and will benefit from cash awards, mentorship, industry exposure as well as introductions to customers and investors. Imagine H2O’s 2016 portfolio companies are on the path to raise over $30 million in financing and secured a host of customer deployments with the organization’s Beta Partners, a network of over 50 municipal, agricultural and industrial end-users.

“Data innovation is fundamental to improve how we manage water,” said Chris Morrison, Asst. Vice President, Ecolab (Water) Global Technology Partnerships who served on the judging panel. “The twelve companies advancing to Imagine H2O's 2017 accelerator represent the kind of business innovation, visionary talent and technological know-how required to advance resource sustainability.”

Imagine H2O also announced a new three-year sponsorship with American Water, enabling the organization to provide customer validation opportunities with the nation’s largest investor-owned utility. Partnerships such as these further expand Imagine H2O’s capability to support the deployment of innovation to solve water challenges globally.

Imagine H2O’s other partners include Wells Fargo (Headline Sponsor), Suez, Tetra Tech, American Water, Morrison Foerster and a network of private family foundations. GE Water & Process Technologies and the Water Environment Federation were primary sponsors of WaterGala ‘17.

The twelve finalists showcased at WaterGala '17 and selected to participate in Imagine H2O's 2017 accelerator include:

  • Acoustic Sensing Technology (UK): Acoustic signaling hardware and analytical tools to measure and monitor the serviceability of sewers and pipes in real-time. With faster and cheaper performance than CCTV surveys, SewerBatt’s high-accuracy assessments generate actionable data for intervention and maintenance scheduling.
  • AquaSeca (USA): High-performance, non-invasive leak detection and remote monitoring system for plumbing infrastructure in high-rise commercial buildings. Easy-to-install acoustic sensors are strapped onto water pipes to manage water consumption data, generate alerts and trigger automatic shut-off valves.
  • Arable Labs (USA): Proprietary in-field monitors and predictive analytics tools measure real-time microclimate weather data and plant growth drivers to generate actionable insights on yield, harvest timing, and crop quality. Initial focus on US specialty crops including strawberries, grapes and tomatoes.
  • EMAGIN (Canada): Cloud-based, Artificial Intelligence platform to help water utilities proactively manage infrastructure operations. HARVI, the company’s flagship product, provides system-wide monitoring, generates alerts for anomalies, and creates GIS-based visualization of system KPIs.
  • Flo Technologies (USA): Water monitoring and control system for homes that proactively identifies water risks and abnormalities, learns water consumption habits and triggers alerts via wifi to a user's smartphone. 
  • FREDsense (Canada): Portable, cost-effective biosensor and testing platform that can detect chemicals down to one part per billion in under one hour. The hand-held detector and single-use cartridge system transmits data and analytics to decision makers and can be customized for a range of different contaminants. 
  • Hydromodel Host (Spain): Groundwater management solution delivers real-time visibility and accurate predictability to water engineers, city planners and other users. Field data and numerical models are integrated to provide a suite of planning, management and collaboration tools to manage groundwater sustainably. 
  • Lotic Labs (USA): Financial risk management for industrial businesses facing the threat of volatile environmental conditions. Initial products help water and wastewater utilities manage financial stresses due to droughts, extended wet periods, and unplanned maintenance. 
  • Pluto AI (USA): Analytics platform for water resource management. Pluto AI extracts wisdom from unstructured data in real-time using Artificial Intelligence algorithms. This enables water facilities to prevent water wastage, predict asset health, and minimize operating costs. 
  • Sutro (USA): Broad spectrum colorimetric sensor technology and analytics platform to measure real-time water quality and chemistry. The proprietary sensor is self-calibrating and does not require a human-testing interface. Broad application to a range of contaminants from nitrates to arsenic.
  • Triple Bottom Line Enterprises (Ethiopia): Smart-phone enabled tools for land surveying, pipeline design and network management to develop affordable piped water infrastructure in rural communities. Flowius, the company's latest product, combines analytics with a radically affordable design methodology to improve access to water for households and farms. 
  • Utilis (Israel/USA): Cost-competitive, high-accuracy remote sensing technology for leak detection in water distribution systems. Using spectral satellite imagery to monitor drinking water in the ground, proprietary algorithms identify leaks in user-friendly GIS reports and quantify the financial implications of non-revenue water loss.