20 international Start-ups participated in the pitch on the 21st of February 2018 during the 4th Green Innovation and Investment Forum (GIIF) in Stuttgart. An audience of almost 150 guests joined the teams’ pitches for capital, cooperation partners and awards. Twipes from England received the Advanced Stage award, while SeedForward from Germany was honored in the Early Stage category and Nanoscreen from Denmark won the Scientific Support Award.
Stuttgart. The invention of wet wipes can be seen as both a blessing and a curse – depending on who you ask. Users of the wipes call them a convenient and more hygienic alternative to conventional toilet paper or tissues. For sewage systems and treatment plant operators however, they are the pest of modern times. Unlike dry toilet paper, wet wipes do not dissolve on their way through the canalization. If anything, they cause pipe blockings and mountains of solid waste that gets stuck in the rakes of the treatment plants and has to be disposed. In Germany alone, more than 200 million packs of wet wipes were sold in 2015. Annual growth rates reach double digits. Based on the assumption that wet wipes are not going to disappear from the market and will be continuously disposed through the sewage system, a solution comes from a Start-up founded in London – a city known for severe sewage blockings. Twipes work just as conventional wet wipes. There is no change for the customer. Contact with water and movement, just as in the canalization, are sufficient to completely dissolve the wipes in a short amount of time. The solution to the current issue of sewage blockings is market-ready and, with the right partners, also quickly scalable. Therefore the jury selected Twipes as the winner of the Best Green Tech Idea Award in the Advanced Stage category. “Even though Twipes is the winner, it all came down to a tight race between four of the ten competing Start-ups” explained Dr.-Ing. Hannes Spieth from the Co-organizer Umwelttechnik BW GmbH, who also mentioned the high quality of the presented solutions of this year’s edition.
“Best Green Tech Idea Award” of the Early Stage stays in Germany
Out of the ten Early Stage Start-ups, the young company SeedForward from Germany was honored for their product OrganiseedFix. In order to protect seeds and seedlings from diseases, a coating of fertilizers and pesticides is applied to the seeds. In comparison with conventional farming techniques, there are far less options for organic farmers. Harvest shortfalls caused by diseases are even more severe with regard to overall lower productivity. OrganiseedFix is an innovative coating that reduces water demand during germination, continuously supplies ingredients to the rhizosphere, protects the seedling against soil-bound germs and has a sustained positive effect on the plant vitality. The coatings can be modified to match the characteristics of the climate, soil and plant. The first experimental results are promising. Germination was increased by more than 50%, while root development grew by over 80%. The excellent understanding for product, process and market conditions as well as the global scalability of the innovation convinced the judges, as Ulrike Steinbrenner, representative of the jury and the GIIF-Supporter foundation for energy and climate protection Baden-Württemberg (Stiftung Energie und Klimaschutz Baden-Württemberg), justifies the decision.
“Scientific Support Award” awarded to Nanoscreen from Denmark
As in previous years, the INEC of the University Pforzheim provided the Scientific Support Award. The University offers intensive scientific support during the course of a semester to one selected Start-up. “We look for a Start-up with a convincing solution, and where we see the potential substantially progress with regard to critical issues through our support”, says Prof. Claus Lang-Koetz from the University Pforzheim. This year’s winner was the Danish Start-up Nanoscreen. The proposed solution is based on a polymeric screen for big glass surfaces. The integrated nanoparticles reflect heat energy without reducing light penetration. This technical innovation aims at reducing energy consumption for acclimatization, especially at high temperatures. “The idea of Nanoscreen is technically challenging and still at an early stage, but there is a huge potential of reducing energy use in buildings through a very simple application. This is what convinced us”, explains Lang-Koetz.
Green Innovation and Investment Forum experiences sustained growth
“Once again we witnessed an astonishing number of green solutions”, summarizes Dr. Jürgen Jähnert from Co-organizer bwcon GmbH. During the course of the four editions of the GIIF the number of applications doubled. The share of international submissions rose from 25 to over 50 percent. “This is even more pleasing with regard to the consolidation of the Start-up scene in recent years”, states Jähnert. If Start-ups decide to participate in the GIIF despite other events taking place in parallel, the concept of offering a Training Day with intensive coaching preceding the actual Pitching Day has proven successful. “We did not win the Award”, says Torsten Becker from the participating company Carbonauten. “But we received valuable input from the coaches. And what’s even more important to us: Through the possibility to network with other Start-ups we are sure that we will be able to establish at least two interesting cooperation projects.”
Also this year, the Green Innovation and Investment Forum was supported by Innoenergy.
„Green Innovation and Investment Forum was a wonderful event filled with brilliant entrepreneurs, inspiring lectures and amazing coaches. It was a source of many great ideas on how we can improve our business. To everybody considering participation in the next edition we can say “do it! It is worth it and you will not have any regrets.“
(Konrad Dabrowski, NanoScreen)
„I have participated in several pitches, at universities or places like this one, and there are higher quality and lower quality events -
but as always, the Swabians are doing it in a way that has a lot of potential, because you really have the investor side included,
you really have high technology and high tech solutions here.“
(Benjamin Adrion, Viva con Agua de St. Pauli)
„When you're in the office every single day and you're working on a big project, a big problem, it can be hard to stay particularly inspired -
but coming to a conference like this one is really inspiring. Having discussions here helps you come up with a lot of different ideas,
just talking to people - not only entrepreneurs, but the investors and all of the staff.“
(Alanna Pardee, CityTaps)