UC's 1819 Innovation Hub to host international water event

Startups will seek investment opportunities at EPA-sponsored forum

The preservation and sustainable management of water has arguably never been more critical. Solving society’s water challenges requires innovation — and there is no innovation without innovators.

The stage is set at the University of Cincinnati’s 1819 Innovation Hub for the “Water Startup Matching Extravaganza,” created by WaterCitizen, Watervent and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of Cincinnati Water Innovation Week.  

The international forum on Oct. 10 will showcase pioneering water Innovators, providing them with opportunities to pitch and exhibit their innovations and to connect with investors, federal funding and contracting agencies, water and industrial sector leaders, and other supporters. There also will be opportunities for audience participation (voting for their favorite startups) and for UC students and researchers to volunteer for the event.

“At the Water Startup Matching Extravaganza, we recognize that water startups are the heroes of water, bravely setting out to take on society’s greatest water challenges,” said WaterCitizen’s Cat Shrier, co-chair and producer of the event.

Patrick A. Limbach, PhD, vice president of research at UC, will deliver opening remarks. Startups will come from across the United States and six other countries to present on topics including water and wastewater treatment and management, industrial water and environmental remediation, water for food and energy including aquaculture and hydropower, intelligent water systems and apps, plumbing fixtures and consumer products, and products for developing countries.

A fast-paced program of pitches and reverse pitches

The event will be structured around Watervent’s model of alternating between pitches by water startups and reverse pitches by organizations looking to invest in, purchase products and services from, or provide grants or other support to water startups.

For the reverse pitches, investors and organization representatives will provide a short overview of their greatest water challenges, what solutions they are looking for, and how water startups can work with them. This year’s expanded program has doubled the number of sessions, with two presentation rooms, as well as space for exhibits. 

Networking opportunities

Extensive meals and break times have been included to encourage startups, presenters and attendees to interact and find opportunities to work together — using the many huddle rooms and other spaces available at the 1819 Innovation Hub.

“The commitment to startups also extends to meals and breaks as we are also arranging with local food incubators to showcase food and beverage startups — especially those founded by women and people of color — to provide refreshments, pending sponsorships,” Shrier said.

Startups and presenters also will benefit from additional pitch prep and practice sessions virtually, presentation coaching onsite, and the distribution of a compendium of each of the pitching startups to reach as large an audience as possible of prospective investors and clients. Attendees will get to participate in the process as well, voting for their favorite pitch in each startup session.

Registration details

Low-cost registration options are available for UC students and local startups to attend or pitch at watercitizen.org/watervent-epa. UC students and researchers are also welcome to volunteer at the event; contact Shrier at cat@watercitizen.org.

Featured image at top: A banner in Cincinnati. Photo provided

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