Site Logo

From Crisis to Opportunity: Calling All Water Innovators

Imagine H2O’s Accelerator is the leading entrepreneurial development program for founders in the water sector. Since 2009, we have supported 150+ startups building sustainable solutions to global water challenges. Our entrepreneurs have deployed 100+ solutions in 50+ countries and have raised more than $575 million in early-stage investment. Our notable alumni exits include Valor Water (Xylem), Oxymem (DuPont), Flo Technologies (Moen), WaterSmart (VertexOne), and Emagin (Innovyze).

In 2020 alone, our 13 companies raised $17.7M, completed 80+ deployments across 20 countries, and created 30+ jobs.

Imagine H2O’s 2020 water entrepreneurs

Water is at the intersection of economics, health, climate change, and social justice — themes that are particularly top of mind given the events of 2020. For our 12th annual cohort, we will seek entrepreneurial solutions spanning the municipal, industrial, and agricultural sectors. We strongly encourage applications with ties to COVID-19, climate resilience, social justice, and economic recovery, but we will consider all types of water technologies.


As a nonprofit organization, we offer a zero-equity program that selects, accelerates, and deploys the world’s most promising solutions. This model allows us to be a neutral convener of entrepreneurs, investors, customers, and industry partners. The water sector is complex, but our track record proves we have the resources, insight, and visibility companies need to succeed in this industry.

“Being an IH2O company gives you an unfair advantage in the water industry.”
Aaron Tartakovsky (CEO & Co-Founder, Epic Cleantec, Accel ‘20)

“The support afforded by the exceptionally dedicated, astute and well-connected Imagine H2O team has been transformative for our business.”
– Suhayl Zulfiquar (COO, Datatecnics, Accel ‘20)

“The Imagine H2O team is committed to its portfolio companies and their programming is second to none.”
– Jamail Carter (CRO & Co-Founder, Varuna, Accel ‘20)

Even if you are not accepted into the program, you will receive feedback on your application from industry experts. These insights will help you improve your business model and will put you in a better position to develop your technology, raise capital, or apply to future programs.

“If we had known that we would receive such detailed feedback, we would have paid much more for the opportunity to apply. We now have many valuable points to work on.”
– Mulundu Sichone (Founder, PYDRO, Applicant ‘20)

“The IH2O application helped me solidify my thoughts on my business objectives and strategy, and helped me clarify my messaging to investors.”
Derrick Du (CEO & Co-Founder, IoTank, Accel ‘20)


Over the past 11 years, we have built an unparalleled network of industry experts and partners. Your startup will have unlimited access to our network of 300+ investors, 80+ Beta Partners, 70+ mentors, and 150+ alumni. In addition, you will be featured on the IH2O Hub, the leading networking platform for investors, customers, and entrepreneurs in the water sector.

“IH2O has been one of the most valuable experiences we have had as a company. They bring incredible knowledge and connections that are actionable immediately.”
– Matthew Rosenthal (CEO, SewerAI)

“IH2O helped us grow our network within the industry at an unprecedented pace.”
– Dragan Tutic (CEO, Oneka)


We’ve been at this virtual thing, before it was a thing. Since our founding, we have prioritized an entrepreneur’s ability to participate in our program while remaining in their home market. As a participant in our 2021 Accelerator, you will access our virtual program that we have built over the past 11 years. In 2020, we held 25 training sessions, provided 280+ mentoring hours, made 220+ customer and investor connections, and showcased our companies in front of a global audience of 1400+ at IH2O events alone.

In-person events still have their place. That’s why we host our own bootcamp and Water Innovation Week in San Francisco, and partner with the industry’s largest conferences. We’ll see what 2021 has in store, but you can count on participating in these events virtually at the very least! Despite the reshuffling of calendars last year, virtual events allowed us to reach larger audiences in more geographies. We really didn’t think that an EU startup would find a new partner in Mexico via our event app, but that’s what happened in 2020!

“The quality of work, engagement, and user experience had to be completely digital this year, and IH2O executed.”
– Bill Gilmartin (CRO & Co-Founder, SewerAI)

“Demo day was exceptionally well done, and I was super impressed with the engagement of the virtual audience.”
– Erin Rothman (CEO, StormSensor)

“Even in a virtual setting IH2O was able to deliver a mix of innovation, relevant content, new themes and energy.”
– Ralph Exton (Chief Marketing Officer, Suez)


We help entrepreneurs build successful businesses across all industries, stages, and geographies. From helping early-stage companies formulate their business plans to accelerating the growth of more experienced founders, we are equipped to do it all! We also understand the value of different perspectives and are always looking for talent from outside the sector. So whether you have a background in software, finance, or energy, you can count on us to make you an expert in the water industry.

As long as you are structured as a for-profit entity, were incorporated after January 1, 2016, have less than $5 million in annual revenue, and have raised less than $10 million in investment, you are a fit for the program.

“We were brand new to the water industry when we joined the 2020 cohort, but we felt like “insiders” by the time we were finished.”
Tyler Henke (CEO & Co-Founder, Ziptility)

“Our involvement with the IH2O program was key to funding our investment. I highly recommend that both new startups and experienced founders get involved.”
– Craig Beckman (CEO, Aqua Membranes)


Our alumni become some of our best ambassadors, often representing us at events and mentoring current startups. We also provide additional startup lifecycle opportunities through our Imagine H2O Asia and Urban Water Challenge programs. Oftentimes, our alumni circle back to the Imagine H2O ecosystem when raising an investment round, finding customers, or making new hires.


Applications will be open until March 1, and we will notify applicants by April 14. Click here to learn more and click here to apply today!


Leigh Madeira (Vice President, Accelerator) is Imagine H2O’s dog mom, excel nerd, pit master, and aspiring Great British Bake Off contestant (no, she’s not even British).

Ellie Barker (Program Manager, Accelerator) is Imagine H2O’s resident joke teller, snacker, margarita maker, golfer, and breakdancer (seriously).