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The Water Council welcomes startups to participate in water accelerator

The Water Council and Guest of Honor Wisconsin Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch announced the fifth round of winners of the BREW Accelerator and graduated the fourth round of startups during a special ceremony on July 21 at City Lights Brewing.

The BREW Accelerator is the world’s leading seed accelerator focused on innovation-driven startups with commercialization potential solving global water challenges. The accelerator pairs the water-focused startups with a community of credentialed experts, services and resources of Wisconsin’s historic world water hub to help entrepreneurs from around the world launch their businesses.

“Milwaukee, a City that brewed beer for decades, is internationally recognized for brewing water technology innovations to help solve our world’s water challenges,” said Dean Amhaus, president and CEO of The Water Council. “From a gel filtering technology to giant bubbles, we are eager to get to work with this new batch of startups.”

After a comprehensive application and judging process, the following startups were selected to participate in the fifth year of the program:

  • Using ink to detect E. coli – Ecoli-Sense from Ontario, Canada creates biosensor technology for a monitoring platform for water quality and agriculture, including a prototype of a magnetic bio-ink E. coli detection system.
  • Harnessing the power of giant bubbles – Pulsed Burst Systems LLC (PBS) from Richfield, Wisconsin is a patented low pressure large bubble provider for better mixing in the water and wastewater industry. The PBS mixer accumulates small bubbles over a period of time and rapidly releases a series of giant or Megabubbles.
  • Filtering water with a novel gel – Hydrate Gel Filtration from Brisbane, Australia develops a new ultrafiltration-range separation technology using a gelatinous layer of aluminum hydroxide hydrate that enables simple, high rate and cost-effective production of filtered water.
  • Monitoring agriculture water run-off – Water Resources Monitoring Group (WRM) from Lancaster, Wisconsin addresses deficiencies in current agriculture water run-off monitoring programs. WRM created an agricultural hydrology monitoring program that provides low-cost, high quality data that aids accurate decision making to help increase farm profits and improve water quality.
  • Generating reactive ions for practical clean up – Plasma Environmental from Milwaukee, Wisconsin has developed a new way in which to reliably generate reactive ions in sufficient quantity to be useful, and to mix these in the aqueous media to provide clean water.

Each year, BREW winners receive up to a $50,000 equity investment, work space in the Global Water Center in Milwaukee, business training through the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Institute for Water Business, research and talent connections, immersion into The Water Council’s global membership network, mentorship from water industry experts, and much more.

The following “class of 2017” BREW Accelerator startups graduated during the ceremony:

  • CORNCOB, Inc. from Waukesha, Wisconsin invented a dynamic disc membrane filter that uses less energy, requires minimal pretreatment and self-cleans during operation. Since participating in the BREW, they have conducted numerous pilots, conducted a successful technology showcase and have multiple orders pending.
  • DMR International from Woodstock, Illinois engineered the NOVEX-AMG™ family of additive systems that have demonstrated unique solutions for water filtration systems, with the added bonus of using environmentally responsible materials for a sustainable future. Since participating in the BREW, they are working with Stonehouse Water Technologies, another start-up in the Global Water Center, and are validating their filter medium in Kewaunee County, Wisconsin where there are serious groundwater contamination problems.
  • Energy Tech Innovations from Milwaukee, Wisconsin developed a low-cost, water-based gas treatment method that will convert biogas into renewable natural gas, a greenhouse gas neutral fuel. Since participating in the BREW, they are working to secure a local pilot site and are actively engaged in the new Wisconsin Bio-gas consortium.
  • MetaMateria from Columbus, Ohio cleans water using novel and nano-enhanced materials that creatively and economically address challenges in water purification, while also recovering phosphorous and other reusable contaminants. Since participating in the BREW, they have been awarded pilot funding with PaveDrain, a small business and tenant in the Global Water Center, to demonstrate their material’s joint ability to remove phosphorous.
  • Smart Waters from British Columbia, Canada increases city resilience by harvesting rainwater and holding it indefinitely in order to provide strategic reserves for all municipal water needs. Since participating in the BREW, they are working to secure a permanent US office in Milwaukee.
  • WISRAN from Sunnyvale, California provides real-time Business Intelligence Services for smart water grids to manage non-revenue water. The primary focus is on water-loss prediction by aggregating and federating sets of data collected from disparate data sources. Since participating in the BREW, they have completed a pilot, and have been selected to be part of University of California Davis’ AG Tech Showcase.

The BREW has worked with 25 water technology startups to date, 14 of which have patents granted or pending. Since 2013, participating startups have conducted 2,000+ customer interviews, raised $2.6 million in additional capital, provided 65+ full-time positions and 38 internships, facilitated 115 contracts, pilot sites or memorandums of understanding and made thousands of connections to mentors, partners, international delegates and practitioners in the water technology industry.

Supporting partners of the BREW Accelerator include GRAEF, International Water Association, Marquette University, Michael Best & Friedrich, Sage Water, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Institute for Water Business, WIPFLI and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

The graduate of the first round and winner of the second year of BREW Corporate Accelerator powered by A. O. Smith Corporation, an expansion of the BREW Accelerator that partners with global corporations, were also recognized at the ceremony.

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Lee Matz

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