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Imagine H2O Creates Landing Pad in Vietnam for its Watertech Startups

As part of the organization’s growing market access program in Southeast Asia, Imagine H2O Asia participated in the inaugural Vietnam Water Week. Current portfolio companies, along with successful applicants to Imagine H2O’s 2024 programs, will benefit from new, on-the-ground resources to navigate this fast-growing and dynamic market.

In the last week of September, Imagine H2O (IH2O) hosted its first water innovation program in Vietnam in partnership with Vietnam Water Supply & Sewerage Association (VWSA), Enterprise Singapore and PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency. 

Over the course of three days, IH2O Asia worked with 6 portfolio startups to learn about Vietnam’s water and wastewater challenges, identify new customers and test market assumptions. The startups include 5 Singapore-based companies (Hydroleap, PureActive Water, EnvironSens, Teredo Analytics, Mempure) and 1 India-based company (Indra Water).

Starting in 2020, IH2O lay the groundwork in Vietnam by helping 4 startups secure pilots in the country. Vietnam Water Week marked a new chapter in building pathways to more project opportunities with the right partners.  

IH2O’s role as a trusted market access advisor is being replicated across other underserved markets in South and Southeast Asia with new funded pilot projects underway in Singapore, the Philippines, India and Bangladesh.

How did IH2O Asia startups benefit at Vietnam Water Week? 

💡 Uncovered new problem statements across both municipal and industrial water users 

With dedicated booths and pitch opportunities, startups managed to raise their industry visibility, learn about competing technologies, and evaluate the market potential of their solution in Vietnam. 

  • Tested existing market assumptions through interactions with end-users at IH2O Asia’s Innovation Pavilion
  • Established initial local presence through Vietnamese-translated pitch videos at Startup Demo Day and media features across 23 local news outlets  
  • Gathered primary data at potential deployment sites through customer field visits

💬 “[Imagine H2O Asia’s Startup Demo Day] takes place at a crucial time when Vietnam’s water sector faces numerous challenges.” — Dr. Tran Anh Tuan, Vice Chairman and Head of the Development Policy Committee of VWSA

🤝 Generated new customer leads with local utilities and businesses  

Startups participated in a full day of curated 1-1 meetings by IH2O Asia and its on-the-ground advisors to identify potential pilot or commercial opportunities with relevant end-users. 

  • 30 customer meetings scheduled with private and public utilities as well as EPCs.
  • 10+ leads identified across various applications including municipal, pulp & paper, textile and cooling towers

📈 Explored scale-up opportunities for ongoing pilot projects 

Startups with ongoing pilots in Vietnam also received support to visit with their customer in-person to discuss post-pilot opportunities. 

  • Initiated discussions on scaling up an existing IH2O-supported pilot of two water toxicity monitoring systems with the city’s main utility (Learn more about EnvironSens’ pilot with SAWACO here
  • Discovered new value propositions from interactions with the utility’s operators 

💬 “This technology allows us to save up to three years of research and evaluation when it comes to detecting the specific characteristics of pollution in our water sources.” — Mr. Tran Kim Thach, Head of the Water Quality Management Department at SAWACO

Unlock IH2O’s Market Access Resources in 2024 Accelerator Programs 

IH2O’s work at Vietnam Water Week underscored the organization’s commitment to partnering with Vietnam’s end-users to co-create more pilot opportunities for our startups in the coming months. As a key pillar in IH2O’s 2024 programs, startups can expect to benefit from additional market access resources to deploy across Asia-Pacific. 

Applications are now live for IH2O’s 2024 accelerator programs. Learn more and apply to be a part of our next cohort here.