Water treatment Digital Solutions Europe

Calling all water start-ups! Techstars expands into Europe

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Techstars launches two new programmes in Europe as part of an expansion to its 2021 Sustainability Accelerator.

Accelerating Europe's start-ups

American seed accelerator Techstars has launched two new programmes in Paris and Stockholm to help select 36 start-ups, including in water.

The Paris Techstars Accelerator and Stockholm Techstars Accelerator will each accept 12 start-ups per class, who could benefit from up to $120,000 in funding.

“Paris and Stockholm are two of Europe’s most rapidly growing yet underserved tech hubs, and we know there is a huge amount of talent there ready to be harnessed.”

It comes as part of a bigger move from Techstars who also announced its plans to invest in more than 100 European start-ups in 2022.

“Paris and Stockholm are two of Europe’s most rapidly growing yet underserved tech hubs, and we know there is a huge amount of talent there ready to be harnessed,” said Maëlle Gavet, CEO of Techstars.

The programmes will be fully funded by Techstars who will also give the start-ups access to its network of mentors, investors, alumni and corporate partners.

An opportunity for Europe's water start-ups

In 2018, Techstars partnered with The Nature Conservancy to achieve four goals:

  • Recruit 30 start-ups focused on meaningful environmental impact
  • Unlock best practices for leveraging technology to solve environmental problems
  • Bring more entrepreneurs into the sustainability space
  • Drive more investor dollars into sustainability.

2NDNATURE, an American company that builds water resource management technology, participated in the Sustainability Accelerator programme for its cloud-based urban stormwater management software.

The company sought to solve one of the country’s biggest water challenges - digitising urban stormwater pollution data.

“2NDNATURE gained 800 new leads, $6 million in new deals, and have expanded into new states.”

Previously, cities had been tracking their pollution mitigation efforts of street sweeping, green infrastructure development, and trash-reduction programmes via pen and paper and non-standardised data collection.

In addition, cities must comply with The Clean Water Act and spend hundreds of hours gathering data from disparate regional offices, manually entering it into spreadsheets, and compiling compliance reports.

2NDNATURE launched a cloud-based platform for digitally managing urban stormwater programmes in 2017 and with the City of Salinas signed on as an early adopter.

Its platform gave the city a uniform process for collecting field data, enabling them to enter data through mobile apps, instantly synchronised data to the cloud, and digitally translated the data into insights on maps and standardized, colour-coded categories.

This meant that stormwater managers were easily able to see what was working to reduce pollution and share performance data with multiple stakeholders.

As a result of the Sustainability Accelerator, 2NDNATURE gained 800 new leads, $6 million in new deals, and have expanded into new states.

Solving environmental challenges

The Techstars programme is designed for entrepreneurs and start-ups that are focused on climate change and solving environmental challenges.

Companies from Nigeria, Spain, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and across the US will spend the next 13 weeks working with mentors and investors from the Techstars network as well as scientists from The Nature Conservancy.

Global water risk intelligence start-up, Influunt, is one of ten start-ups that will be taking part in this year’s sustainability accelerator.

The company provides water and flood risk intelligence to insurance, government, and asset owners using satellite data and artificial intelligence for reducing losses and building climate resilience.

It follows news of investment in water start-ups, after 17 companies in the desalination space received investment.

The Paris accelerator will run two classes per year, while Stockholm will run only once in 2022 before moving to twice per year from 2023. Applications for each of these programmes are now open and will close on 1 December 2021. Classes for both programmes will begin on 21 March 2022.

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