Urban Water Scarcity Innovation Challenge Opens to Startups

11th Hour Racing has teamed up with Bluewater and Imagine H2O to create the Urban Drinking Water Challenge ’18 – this new initiative will deploy drinking water innovation for tomorrow’s megacities.

Imagine H2O, the water innovation accelerator, opened its 2018 Urban Water Scarcity Challenge to water startups advancing resilient drinking water solutions in fast-growing cities globally. The Challenge’s Founding Partners, 11th Hour Racing and Bluewater Group, collectively committed up to $1,000,000 in cash awards and investment to three overall winners. The Challenge aligns with U.N. Sustainable Development Goal 6, or SDG6, which calls for universal access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030. Three winning startups will be honored at a special event held during Stockholm World Water Week on August 26-31.

Eligible startups will be invited to submit complete applications by July 2, 2018. Teams with scalable drinking water solutions in the following areas will be eligible to compete:

  • Alternative Supply – Decentralized, capital efficient and sustainable solutions to develop and augment urban drinking water supplies
  • Distributed Access and Delivery – Scaled technologies and innovative business models supporting decentralized drinking water purification and distribution systems
  • Ecosystem Health – Solutions empowering cities to monitor and manage environmental health of waterways and ecosystems affected by water contamination 

“Entrepreneurs are pioneering new solutions and innovative business models to tackle urban water scarcity. Yet the resources required to deploy and scale these ideas are often lacking.” explained Scott Bryan, Imagine H2O’s President. “This program unlocks financial and technical support to prove the benefits of smarter urban water management.” 

The Founding Challenge Partners have committed $250,000 in deployment awards to be evenly distributed amongst three winners with market-ready drinking water innovations in urban centers globally. Additionally, the winners will be eligible for $750,000 in seed investment provided by Founding Challenge Partner Bluewater Group as well as introductions to investors and customers in Imagine H2O’s global ecosystem.

“The Challenge will drive direct and scalable impact for water-scarce cities, inspire community awareness and public action, promote innovation and entrepreneurship, and facilitate the deployment of real solutions to an existing problem,” said Anders Jacobson, President of Bluewater. “We believe human ingenuity can evolve, refine and develop technologies that create sustainable solutions to urban water scarcity issues.”

“11th Hour Racing’s strategic partnerships drive innovation that tackles the challenges impacting our oceans and planet,” said Jeremy Pochman, Co-founder and Strategic Director of 11th Hour Racing. “Imagine H2O’s Urban Drinking Water Challenge is an exciting opportunity to address the global and critical issue of potable water scarcity, while supporting communities and cities to build water resiliency.”

Innovators pursuing opportunities to demonstrate technology in Southeast Asia may be eligible for additional grant funding as well as receive industry visibility at Slingshot@SWITCH, a startup pitch competition supported by Enterprise Singapore. Imagine H2O expects to announce additional partners and opportunities associated with the Challenge.