Water-Tech Investment Predictions for 2023 - World WaterTech LondonWhat does the investment landscape look like for the water-tech industry in 2...Water-Tech Investment Predictions for 2023 - World WaterTech London
What does the investment landscape look like for the water-tech industry in 2023?
As water scarcity, energy and climate change continue to dominate headlines, how can more funding transform the start-up ecosystem and accelerate growth from pilots to scale-up?
Ahead of the World Water-Tech Innovation Summit in London (February 21-22), we asked eight investors, accelerators and utilities for their investment predictions for the year ahead.
CURRENT INVESTMENT TRENDS:
Tom Ferguson, Managing Partner, BURNT ISLAND VENTURES, USA: “Risk capital follows returns so the best thing we can do is help emergent companies be successful. But more than that, we need to tell water’s story far better than we do. We must show the $60bn of existing unused climate tech capital that climate change is water change, and there are enormous companies to be built in the sector.”
Sarah Cone, Founder & Managing Partner, SOCIAL IMPACT CAPITAL, USA: “From the perspective of an early-stage investor, we are especially excited about advancements within the water technology space. Whether it is artificial intelligence and 3-D printing or new process and simulation technologies, start-ups are pushing beyond the water industry’s conventional business models. This allows more private capital to flow into a sector that has often been the realm of development and structured finance. Combined with demand side impacts for water treatment, and the industry stands at the precipice of a major inflection point.”
Ezechi Britton, Co-Founder & CEO, CODE UNTAPPED & Founding Member, Principal & CTO, IMPACT X CAPITAL PARTNERS, UK: “The main trends driving global water investment are environmental protection, climate change, water scarcity and urbanisation, with a particular focus on zero carbon water, leakage detection, and wastewater management. Ultimately how do we make water more sustainable, available, and affordable for all? Resource sustainability is one of the biggest challenges that the human race faces and water is at the forefront of that.”
Jeroen Tielman, Founding Partner, QSTONE CAPITAL, NETHERLANDS: “Investors still seem to be hesitant to walk their talk. Becoming an active partner in the development of scalable industrial water projects involving innovative cost-reducing technologies is the way forward. The imminent market-driven migration of industries towards full circular water treatment (Zero liquid discharge) provides engaged investors with very attractive investment opportunities not only in terms of solid returns but also in terms of unambiguous environmental impact. There is no excuse that single projects would be too small for institutional investors as we are facing an era of industry-wide conversion requiring institutional scale funding.”
INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY:
Reinhard Hübner, CEO, SKION WATER, GERMANY: “Most water technology SMEs offer products for certain treatment steps. Creating a network with other SMEs that offer adjacent products and solutions would enable them to provide a more compelling offer to their customers and broaden their sales channel. In such a collaborative approach, interfaces between the different SMEs both on the technical and commercial side can be managed better, leading to a more efficient execution of projects and better customer service. A challenge to overcome will be that many utilities prefer to have only one or as few as possible contract partners in each project.”
Robert Bornhofen, Director of Innovation, DC WATER, USA: “As we look at the current landscape and the investments that are being made in the water utility industry, we are very pleased with the recent legislation that’s been passed in the States that has made billions of dollars available to the industry for cleaner energy, water and wastewater treatment. At DC Water, we take that investment and factor that into our five-year strategic roadmap and our ESG plan. We make the smart investments, we execute and work with others to deliver goals that help us to enable those plans to become more resilient, sustainable, and reliable. We also take a look at the impact that the effects of global warming are having on our region and we’re doing all we can possibly do with investments and our strategy to help protect our repairs, community and employees.”
Fredrik Ostbye, Head of Aliaxis Next, ALIAXIS, BELGIUM: “Required solutions are more and more complex, combining physical and digital components from several providers, which calls for ´the ecosystem approach´ to innovation; where multiple players are working together to bring a better solution to the customer than they could do individually. Where 1+1=11. Focusing on simplicity for the customer and the customer experience through the entire user journey. Wrapped into a business model that stimulates the relationship between the ecosystem and the customer over time. Done well, the winning ecosystems grow their businesses exponentially, and the weak ones die.”
David Balsar, General Manager, Innovation & Ventures, MEKOROT, ISRAEL: “Our approach at the innovation hub of Mekorot is to support early-stage technologies around three main areas: proof of concept, equity investment and purchase order. This enables us to accelerate the technology TRL relatively fast. As a design partner, strategic investor, and strategic customer, we aim to shorten the technology time to market – given it the validation needed and large-scale implementation. The barriers to innovation in water are lack of sound business models, the challenges of identifying the client and its pain points and the lack of targeted sales and partnerships strategies and execution.”
We look forward to hearing more from our experts on their panel sessions at the summit, book your place now to join them.