Green Stop’s express hydration station takes top spot at AquaHacking 2019
MONTREAL, CANADA – September 30, 2019 (TNKR Media): An innovative water station that was a hit among Montreal concert-goers this past summer took top prize in the fifth annual AquaHacking Challenge green tech startup competition.
A thrilling evening of innovative clean water presentations culminated in the Green Stop’s victory. The team will take home $20,000 for their outdoor festival bottle filling station. The Green Stop is made up of Rachel Labbé-Bellas, Bode Agagu, Brendan Carberry, and Oliver Yshii-Landry.
“It’s really satisfying to win. That’s five months of really hard work paid for,” Labbé-Bellas said. “I was really proud. And I was just happy to have any type of financial support at the beginning, it’s so hard for startups to get any type of support.”
The Green Stop has created a solution for large outdoor events to reduce dependence on single-use water bottles. Purpose-built fountains designed to quickly fill bottles that require only a connection to the municipal water system.
The team has designed the water stations to allow for minimal lineups to make it the preferable option for concert-goers looking to keep hydrated and tested their prototype at the 2019 Osheaga Music Festival in Montreal.
Winning the $20,000 grand prize means The Green Stop has financial stability to continue building on their 2019 successes, Labbé-Bellas said.
“I have more wiggle room to reinvest into building more units,” Labbé-Bellas said, eyeing national expansion.
Clean Nature and CLIN were runners-up in the 2019 edition of the AquaHacking water solutions competition.
Second-place Clean Nature has created a plan to reduce salt pollution using computer modelling to control salt application by municipal road plows and salt spreaders. Third-place finishers CLIN are looking to reduce microplastics in the water supply by going after them in the dryer. Thirty-five percent of the microplastics released into the world come from clothes, making them the largest single source of microplastic pollution.
In fourth place was Salt Ed, followed by Bello Solutions in fifth, and Droplets in sixth.
AquaHacking founder Nan-b de Gaspé Beaubien said the presentations of all the finalists have given her great hope for a future with clean water. The variety of ideas to solve a number of pressing water issues shows the energy and possibility in a new generation of innovators.
“I think the fact that they can use all kinds of solutions, the innovative approach that they have is very encouraging. It gives me great hope,” de Gaspé Beaubien said. “What an exciting time. 500,000 people are marching today and here we are, offering solutions. You can’t say to everybody ‘get rid of plastic bottles’ if you don’t have solutions.”
AquaHacking has put forward a petition calling for the end of single-use plastic bottles. To get politicians on board, it’s necessary to show them the wide-spread support for this initiative throughout the country.”
Marc Schaal of Bello Solutions, one of the six final teams, said the competition showed the way forward to cleaner waterways. “Having clean water won’t happen in one step,” Schaal said. “It will require a collective effort to make progress.”
“I think that’s all the teams doing something different,” he added. “All our work together, it’s not a global solution. It’s literally a solution by solution to go and make something better.”
Labbé-Bellas said the presentations were exciting to be a part of because of the energy it showed is out there for finding clean water solutions.
“It’s exciting to be on that tipping point. It’s not just hardware, it’s social change and social mindset. It’s an idea thing,” she said.
“What I’m hopeful is that governments and cities are listening now to it and seeking us out for partnerships. Before it felt like it was just like an Indiegogo thing or a Kickstarter thing. Now, it’s gotten much more attention, and people are looking at blue solutions or cleantech or green tech,” she said. “There is hope. We have people listening. That’s good.”
Frederick Dufresne of Salt Ed said the final presentation was the culmination of months of hard work.
“We worked until late at night yesterday to really put the final touches on it, and it really felt great that it was the best presentation we’ve done so far,” Dufresne said.
The competition is more than about winning and launching their business, but solving a serious real-world problem, he said. “It’s also it also means that with our solution implemented, we can keep up to 1.3 million tons of salt off the roads a year — out of 7 million tons,” Dufresne said. “It’s a big percentage.”
Alum Making a Splash
Since 2012, AquaHacking has produced 12 tech stars among its Challenge startups alum, including media darlings CANN Forecast, recently making the news for their AI-powered tool helping Quebec municipalities monitor water contamination following flooding, and Water Rangers, helping to improve the democratization of water quality testing and empowering citizens everywhere to be part of the data collection process.
For further information and interview opportunities: firstname.lastname@example.org
The AquaHacking Challenge is a water tech incubator supported by the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation and the RBC Foundation as well as by major sponsors IBM Canada, GHD, Keurig Dr Pepper, Ovivo, Sanexen, City of Montreal, Ontario Power Generation and others. The platform supports participants throughout the seven-month competition with workshops, mentoring and financial support for the finalists.