Innovative and disruptive concepts during Rockstart Answers Green Challenge edition

Growing trees in a desert, making milk without cows, edible water – innovative and disruptive concepts were pitched during Rockstart Answers Green Challenge edition on March 17th, 2016. Postcode Lottery Green Challenge finalists Muffri, Ooho, Land Life, Evrnu pitched their burning questions in front of circular economy influencers and renewable energy entrepreneurs.

For this event, Rockstart Answers teamed up with PL Green Challenge in order to help its finalists to disrupt the circular economy. Postcode Lottery Green Challenge is the biggest international green business plan competition. The winner gets 500,000 EUR to invest in his/her company and turn the business plan into reality. The runner-up receives 200,000 EUR. The competition was inspired by president Bill Clinton who visited the Postcode Lottery World Meeting at the Royal Palace Soestdijk on December 7th 2006. This year Green Challenge celebrates its 10th anniversary.

“The fundamental problem is an entrepreneurial, disorganised, undercapitalised opportunity competing against a highly organised, overcapitalized, old energy economy that still has many, many people in its grip.”

Bill Clinton

During the years, the PL Green Challenge has been supported by many influential entrepreneurs, including Richard Branson. He took part in the jury in 2007 and came back in 2013 to give the check to the finalist.

“I’ve been impressed by all the winners & finalists since the competition started”

Richard Branson

The event kicked off with a presentation by David van der Leij from Postcode Lottery. He presented the Green Challenge competition to the audience and expressed his belief that startups are the ones that will make the change by questioning the current order.

The first two speakers were Andy Ridley and Rasa Weber. Andy founded one of the largest mass participation movement in history – Earth Hour. The campaign has  engaging hundreds of millions of people in more than 7000 cities on every continent. Currently, he is a Managing Director of Circle Economy which has the ambitious mission to accelerate the transition from a linear to a circular economy, by supporting individuals, companies and organisations.

Andy Ridley helped to make the Netherlands the first global circular hotspot. He shared with the audience what this means and challenges that his organization has been facing.

Rasa is a designer and researcher. Her work is based upon material research in cooperation with scientific institutions ( Fraunhofer Institute and Schlafakademie Berlin / Charité). She came to Amsterdam to present a unique project Algaemy, in cooperation with designer Essi Johanna Glomb. Rasa talked about the beauty of living colors made from algae and their application on textile. If this method is used to produce on mass scale colored fabrics, Algaemy will reduce significantly the pollution made by the textile industry.

After Rasa and Andy, the audience was warmed up and ready to help the startups with their challenges. The stage was taken by the Green Challenge finalists who pitched to circular economy influencers and entrepreneurs:

Land Life Company (NL) – winner – The startup has developed a unique, fully functional product to grow trees in dryland environments. The biodegradable Cocoon incubator helps by providing seedlings with water and shelter and then decomposing into substrate. This method is 10x cheaper than the traditional tree planting and it doesn’t require additional maintenance.

Muufri (USA) – runner-up – The startup makes milk without using cows. The company has identified the proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals in milk and is developing a brewing process that could replace factory farming.

Fleet Cleaner’s (NL) robots remove slime, algae and barnacles from ships’ hulls in port without damaging antifouling coatings. Unlike competitors, they clean above and below the water line and collect the materials they remove, protecting local ecosystems. The company plans to use the fouling as biomass fuel.

Ooho! (UK) The startup has created a cheap, biodegradable packaging for water. The bubble is produced using the culinary technique of spherification; a double-skin concept keeps one layer clean.

Evrnu (USA) Evrnu’s technology recycles old cotton garments into premium material for making new fabrics. Its process cleans and breakdowns fibres, which are then extruded into custom fibres of the desired smoothness and durability. This cradle-to-cradle method would slash emissions in a huge industry.

Rockstart Answers Green Challenge was closed by Miquel Ballester who presented “a smartphone with social values” – Fairphone. The modular phone aims to create new relationship between people and their products. The most impressive moment for the audience was when he dropped the phone on the stage and he changed the broken screen within 10 seconds.

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