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Updates From Imagine H2O: Our 2024 Priorities and Expanding Advisory Network

Imagine H2O’s continued evolution and program expansion is increasing access to solutions in underserved markets. Since 2018, we have deployed over $2 million to water solutions projects in 20 countries; and we continue to grow our reach. 2024 will be a landmark year as we launch a new pilot funding structure to design and fund more solutions aligning with our four impact pillars; climate, health, equity, and circularity. We will also expand our technical assistance facility and accelerator program offerings to de-risk solutions faster and scale our efforts to make water solutions more accessible. 

Our Pilot Funding Principles

Imagine H2O unlocks catalytic capital and technical support for pilot projects to help communities test and adopt innovation. Our approach is rooted in three priorities: 

Bridging the water innovation funding gap: 

Many water entrepreneurs lack the financial resources required to validate their ideas in the market. Meanwhile, municipal water agencies and utilities often lack the funding to test new solutions. Imagine H2O changes the equation by providing catalytic funding and technical assistance to entrepreneurs.
Expanding access to water innovation: 

Our work exists in two realities. First, we support innovation in communities that can be first adopters and lighthouse customers that other smaller markets can learn from. Second, we actively support solutions targeting the needs of small or underserved markets that have large challenges to tackle.

Creating measurable outcomes in climate, equity, health, and circularity:

Water is a theme, not a sector. At Imagine H2O, we actively seek and support water solutions that create outcomes in these four areas. And through our pilot funding programs, we seed ideas that make a difference to communities creating resilient and equitable water systems that benefit ecosystems and people. 

Learn more about our approach and follow our pilot funding work in 2024.

Scaling Our Approach

Earlier this month, we announced a series of new projects that underscore our ability to fund new and novel projects in markets and geographies where a lack of innovation financing constricts access to water innovation. Examples include: 

  • Smartterra’s AI-powered data analytics tool in five utilities in Indonesia
  • Solinas Integrity’s robotic cleaning system inspected 100 septic tanks and service covers in Maharashtra.
  • BlueConduit’s machine learning and predictive modeling solution in a Mississippi community seeking to safeguard and replace its aging water infrastructure.
Solinas Integrity

In 2024, we will double our funding and program capacity to support such pilots. Working through a new pilot fund structure, we will offer a technical assistance facility and funding mechanism to help solutions make an impact in the communities that need it the most. This blended finance model will be a unique resource to entrepreneurs and communities alike.  

New Advisors Expand Our Capacity and Insights

Talented people with a passion for our mission are essential to IH2O’s success. Every day, our team, advisors, and partners help us discover, accelerate, and deploy the best entrepreneurial innovations in the world. We are excited to excited to announce the addition of four advisors to our growing team;

Executive in Residence, Chris Morrison

Chris joins us as our Executive in Residence where he will provide hands-on support to entrepreneurs in our 2024 Accelerator cohort. Chris has a long history with our organization and has served as a judge in our application process since our inaugural program in 2009. He has subsequently joined the boards of multiple IH2O startup alumni where he brings insights from his 25+ years of experience at leading companies like Nalco/Ecolab and Suez. 

Entrepreneur in Residence, Wayne Byrne

As Entrepreneur in Residence, Wayne will support the Portfolio – our support platform for the IH2O startup alumni network. We first met Wayne in 2015 when his startup, Oxymen, participated in the Accelerator. Wayne has since sold Oxymem to DuPont and remains active in the water innovation sector through his work at Burnt Island Ventures and his own firm, Method Capital. He is also a Board Member for several IH2O portfolio companies.

Global Advisors, Stuthi Vijayaraghavan and Rodney Chapin 

Stuthi and Rodney are joining us as Global Advisors to help us deepen our work in regions with great potential. 

Stuthi currently runs the Bangalore-based Urban Ventures Lab, an innovation accelerator for the built environment. She is actively supporting many of our entrepreneurs in South Asia to access financing while building Imagine H2O’s presence in local markets.

Rodney, a startup mentor and active Imagine H2O Asia program advisor, has helped 5 cohorts of startups navigate market entry in Central and Southeast Asia. He is currently working closely with our team in Singapore to oversee pilots in the Philippines, Vietnam and Uzbekistan. Before launching his advisory firm, Singapore-based Ardurra International, Rodney spent over 20 years at CDM Smith.

Stay in touch as we’ll be announcing future advisors and positing opportunities with Imagine H2O on our Water Tech Jobs Board

More to Come in 2024

This is an exciting time at Imagine H2O. We’ve just announced Imagine H2O Asia’s newest cohort and we are currently working with our evaluation committee to select our Accelerator cohort. Nearly 400 startups registered with us last year, and a network of 75+ experts has helped us select the best startups to participate in our 2024 programs. We invite you to engage with us at upcoming events and to follow the stories of our entrepreneurs in the coming months.