Market Overview

Urban Drinking Water Challenge 2018 Announces Winners from USA, India and Bangladesh


Three winning startups from 160 applicants selected to reimagine
water solutions for tomorrow's megacities

The 2018 winners of the Urban
Drinking Water Challenge
, a global innovation competition to
deploy and scale decentralized drinking water solutions for
fast-growing, water-scarce cities, were announced by Imagine
 and Founding Partners Bluewater
 and 11th
Hour Racing
. Over 160 startups from 37 countries registered for the
Challenge. The three winning companies, Drinkwell (Dhaka,
Bangladesh), Microlyze (Denver,
CO) and SmartTerra (Bengaluru,
India), represent a diverse range of technologies and entrepreneurial
approaches to solve urban water scarcity and advance U.N. Sustainable
Development Goal 6.

The Challenge's Founding Partners have committed up to $1,000,000 in
cash prizes, pilot funding awards and investment. Each winner will be
showcased in Stockholm during World Water Week on August 26 - 31, 2018.

"Over the next three decades, projected demand for water in cities will
increase by 70% resulting in more scenarios similar to Cape Town, which
is suffering acute drinking water scarcity," says Anders Jacobson,
Bluewater President and Chief Strategy Officer. "This
competition unlocks the resources to validate and scale three promising
solutions that prove the benefits of smarter water management in the
face of rapid urbanization and looming drinking water shortages."

Evaluated on the basis of commercial viability, impact and market
readiness, the winning startups merge technology with innovative
business models to improve the reach and sustainability of drinking
water services:

  • Drinkwell is expanding its turnkey decentralized water
    purification systems across arsenic-contaminated communities in
  • Microlyze is deploying real-time water testing devices to
    empower households and provide cost-effective monitoring for US
  • SmartTerra is equipping second-tier Indian cities with the
    tools for data-driven decision making and operations to improve
    delivery and access for the underserved.

Imagine H2O's evaluation committee included a diverse group of experts
from institutions including the World Bank, Grundfos, The Schmidt Family
Foundation, Anaergia, Rotoplas, Xylem, Aquaya Institute and Water &
Sanitation for the Urban Poor.

"11th Hour Racing is committed to addressing the global water crisis
through innovation," says Todd McGuire, Program Director of 11th Hour
Racing. "By shining a spotlight on entrepreneurs confronting
problems shared by communities around the world, we can position them
for scale and bolster our collective efforts for a water-secure future."

Additionally, the Challenge's Evaluation Committee awarded an Honorable
Mention to Majik
, a Nairobi-based team developing an atmospheric water
generation device in partnership with local communities.

About the Founding Challenge 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: grantees, partners,
and ambassadors.

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
reverse osmosis technology to remove virtually all pollutants from
water, including micro plastic fibers, lead, bacteria, pesticides,
medical residues, chlorine, and lime-scale.

About Imagine H2O

Imagine H2O is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering people
to deploy and develop innovation to solve water challenges globally. The
organization's water innovation accelerator provides entrepreneurs with
the resources, insight and visibility to launch and scale water
solutions. By partnering with industry and policy experts and a global
network of customers and investors, Imagine H2O has become a proven path
to market for emerging water technology businesses. Since 2009, the
organization's program alumni have collectively raised more than 1 in
every 10 dollars of early-stage investment in the water industry.

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