The judges for the first-ever Imagine H2O Prize have chosen ten finalists of the global competition.
Created to help find sustainable solutions to global water problems through entrepreneurship, the competition offers prizes of $70,000 in cash, business and legal support, and access to a network of partners, customers and financiers to help bring their ideas for efficient use and supply of water to market.
“Only a small number of water start-ups receive angel and venture investment each year. Our team did an extensive search to find an impressive number of promising water start-ups looking for support,” says Tamin Pechet, Imagine H2O’s chair. “More importantly, the prize actually inspired some water start-ups to put together their teams and business plans that might not have done so otherwise.”
Entries were submitted from the United States, India, Europe, Canada and Australia. Teams included CEOs of publicly traded companies, consultants in the water business as well as MBA students. The finalists:
• The Eco Products Group has developed proprietary products that will enable a consumer to reduce the use of potable water, create a sanitary sink environment and reclaim gray water.
• EcoBeta is an online dashboard that gives investors and managers actionable data on the risk that they face from changes in global watersheds.
• Envirocern delivers ultrapure water to semiconductor foundries using proprietary distillation technology that provides large quantities of water at extremely low cost.
• Fruition Sciences is a technology-enabled information business that offers a solution for winemakers and vineyard managers who want to produce top quality, sustainably (optimized irrigation and management practices) farmed wines, year after year.
• Intelligent Irrigation Solutions uses in-ground soil moisture sensors and advanced forecasting models that enable irrigation to be more efficient, ultimately reducing water consumption for irrigation by 20-40 per cent.
• Puralytics uses the latest advances in semiconductor and nanotechnology to solve the world’s emerging water purification problems, with 100% water utilization, low energy, and environmentally sound products.
• Quantaic employs a patented technology to recover clean water from oil and natural gas production processes, creating new water supplies while efficiently treating the industry’s largest waste product—produced water.
• Rainwater HOG offers innovative rainwater storage.
• The Soil Information System delivers the information essential to solving the problem of feeding the world in a truly sustainable manner.
• WaterSmart partners with water utilities to optimize their water conservation programs, more quickly and cost-effectively meet their water efficiency objectives and help their customers save water, save money and get rewarded for their actions.
If all of the finalists’ proposed businesses were realized, over one trillion gallons of water could be saved annually.
Entries were accepted starting in September 2009 and winners will be announced at a showcase event in March 2010. Future years’ competitions will have different prize topics addressing other critical water problems.
Imagine H2O has financial backing from RBC, the Full Circle Fund, Cooley Godward Kronish LLP, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and other private foundations. Its growing list of partners includes the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, the National Water Research Institute, Babson College, the Stanford University Conservation Program, and others.