Urban Water Challenge Winners Announced

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The second annual program awards $250k in deployment funding to startups

Tyler Mantel - CEO & Co-Founder of WatchTower Robotics

The 2019 Imagine H2O Urban Water Challenge, founded by water tech innovator Bluewater and by 11th Hour Racing, honored three winners from India, Colombia and the United States at an awards ceremony during World Water Week in Stockholm, the Swedish capital, Monday evening.

The winning entries are WatchTower Robotics (USA), Indra Water (India) and Zilper Trenchless (Colombia). Additionally, the Challenge showcased three startups as finalists -- each of which received deployment award funding. Finalists include: SmarterHomes (India), StormSensor and (USA) Upepo (Kenya).

The 2019 Challenge attracted 226 startups from 38 countries. The winning startups will use Imagine H2O’s funding to deploy solutions in cities in three continents. WaterTower Robotics will map water pipe networks in 3D and detect leaks with its small-scale robots in Da Nang, Vietnam. Indra Water will deploy its modular, decentralized wastewater treatment systems in colleges and schools in Mumbai, India. Zilper Trenchless will install and replace water pipes using its trenchless technology in the greater Bogota, Colombia region.

“The planet faces a great many environmental threats, not least growing water scarcity and ocean pollution, which requires human ingenuity be harnessed globally to avoid potentially cataclysmic consequences,” said Anders Jacobson, Co-founder and CEO of Blue, the impact led investment company owning Bluewater. “Each of the three winners of the 2019 Imagine H2O Urban Water Challenge provides an innovative solution to solving urban water challenges.”

“This is our second year supporting the Urban Water Challenge in part because, like Bluewater, 11th Hour Racing believes strongly that there is an urgent need for solutions to help communities globally tackle water quality and scarcity issues -- whether related to the impacts of climate change, plastic pollution, or polluted runoff,” commented Michelle Carnevale, Grant Program Director of 11th Hour Racing. “We look forward to seeing the finalists deploy and test their technologies to create meaningful impact and inspire the next generation of water-focused entrepreneurs.”

The Challenge’s inaugural winners in 2018 used the awards to unlock pilot projects in Bangladesh, India and Denver, Colorado. In Chittagong, Bangladesh’s second largest city, DrinkWell is installing its first four water ATM systems that will then be scaled to 200 in collaboration with local government. In Denver, Spout is preparing for the deployment of rapid lead testing kits to improve the city’s response and planning. In Warangal, a city in the Indian state of Telangana, SmartTerra is progressing in its first pilot to digitize the utility’s operations as a model for other fast-growing second-tier cities.

About Imagine H2O

Imagine H2O (IH2O) is a nonprofit organization that empowers people to develop and deploy innovation to solve water challenges globally. Since 2009, the organization’s water innovation accelerator has helped over 100 startups with the resources, insight and visibility to launch and scale their businesses. In 2017 and 2018, IH2O portfolio companies received 30% of early-stage investment in the water sector. In 2019, IH2O will launch its first hub outside the United States. IH2O Asia will be a Singapore-based, regional accelerator program that bridges global innovation to cities and communities across Southeast Asia. https://www.imagineh2o.org/urban-water-challenge

About the Challenge’s Founding Partners

11th Hour Racing establishes strategic partnerships within the sailing and maritime communities to promote collaborative, systemic change benefitting the health of our ocean. Since 2010, 11th Hour Racing has been harnessing the power of sport with an innovative and comprehensive approach through three primary areas of engagement: sponsorships, grantees, and ambassadors. Please visit us at http://www.11thhourracing.org.

Bluewater is a world leader in innovating, manufacturing, and commercializing water purification technologies and solutions for residential, business and public use that harness the company’s patented second-generation reverse osmosis technology to remove virtually all pollutants from water, including micro plastic fibers, lead, bacteria, pesticides, medical residues, chlorine, and lime-scale. Bluewater is wholly owned by Blue, a Stockholm-based global investment company that serves as a catalyst for innovations that can solve some of the major challenges facing our planet and all living on it. Please visit us at http://www.bluewatergroup.com or http://www.blueab.se

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For more information and updates about the Urban Challenge, please visit https://www.imagineh2o.org/urban-water-challenge, or contact us at connect@imagineh2o.org

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