With the reality of the climate crisis upon us, and in the midst of all that 2020 has brought, it’s easy to feel a bit hopeless sometimes. Yet, climate entrepreneurs, advocates, and activists alike continue to push forward, tirelessly working toward a better future. Sometimes, it helps to step back and recognize the progress being made.
So for the 150 attendees that tuned in, our Earth Tech Demo Night in the evening of October 28, 2020, wasn’t just about the pitches and prize money. It served as a reminder that the grit, ingenuity and solutions we need to address the climate and environmental crisis are out there, and now more than ever those leading the charge need our support.
During the Earth Tech accelerator, these early-stage ventures earned & raised over $4,000,000 (a 115% increase compared to prior to Earth Tech), supported 76 full-time jobs (a 31% increase), gained 263 industry customers, established 116 partnerships, and ran 47 pilots! Overall, early-stage ventures have earned & raised nearly $32M during our climate programs while supporting 376 jobs.
Our Demo Night kicked off with an introduction from cleantech pioneer Nick Parker, followed by 90-second elevator pitches from 14 of our Earth Tech ventures (you can see the full 2020 cohort here). The audience voted live on their five favourite ventures, and the top five moved on to a final round of pitching.
Their full four-minute pitches were so inspiring that an anonymous donor threw in an extra $5,000 to the pot – bringing the total to $15,000! The audience then voted again, ranking the five finalists in order of 1st to 5th. All five finalists got to take prize money home: a heartwarming, hopeful way to wrap up our 2020 Earth Tech cohort. (Are you an early-stage cleantech venture? We’re recruiting for our next cohort right now!)
FIRST PLACE: WATER RANGERS
Led by Executive Director Kat Kavanagh, Water Rangers is a non-profit social enterprise that aims to empower people to become stewards of their waterways. With a free open-data platform, water testing kits, and online course, anyone can learn about and protect our lakes, rivers, and oceans. They took home the $5,000 the grand prize!
SECOND PLACE: FLASH FOREST
With only 15% of the world’s original forests still intact, the Flash Forest founding team – Bryce Jones, Angelique Ahlstrom, Cameron Jones, and Andrew Lauder – decided to create a scalable reforestation solution. Their proprietary drone technology fires rapidly-germinating seed pods into the earth, and can plant up to 20,000 pods in a day. In second place, Flash Forest received $4,000 in prize money.
THIRD PLACE: RAINSTICK SHOWER
Alisha and Sean McFetridge co-founded Rainstick Shower, a high-flow, recirculating shower that saves 80% in water usage and as much as $700 a year in water and energy costs. In third place, they were awarded $3,000, funds that will support their marketing efforts as they prepare to go to market in 2021.
FOURTH PLACE: JUST VERTICAL
Conner Tidd and Kevin Jakiela co-founded Just Vertical to make sustainable, hyper-local produce more affordable and accessible. Their AEVA is a vertical indoor garden that can grow up to 10 lbs of produce per month, and it’s made to fit right in at home. Coming in fourth place, Just Vertical was awarded $2,000.
FIFTH PLACE: SPRINGBAY STUDIO
Climate work doesn’t end with our generation. That’s why Jane Ji founded Springbay Studio, an educational game developer dedicated solely to environmental science. Their iBiome games allow kids aged 8-14 to explore wetland, ocean, and arctic ecosystems, and the impacts of climate change on nature. As our fifth-place finalist, Springbay took home $1,000.
Thank you to everyone who helped us wrap up our 2020 Earth Tech cohort! If you missed it, you learn more about our Earth Tech accelerator and read about all 16 ventures here.
Are you our next Earth Tech Demo Night prize winner? We’re recruiting for our 2021 Earth Tech cohort! If you’re a water or climate technology venture, we’d love to hear from you. Learn more and apply here.