Mangaluru, June 24 As many as 25 water-tech startups have been selected as semi-finalists for ‘The/Nudge Prize | Ashirvad Water Challenge’ by The/Nudge Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) and Ashirvad Pipes, in partnership with the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government.
A statement from The/Nudge said the challenge, to provide clean drinking water for all, was opened for applications in February. Out of a total of 140 applicants, these 25 startups will now compete for a total prize money of ₹2.5 crore. This comprises a grand prize of ₹1.75 crore for the winning solution, and runner-up and milestone grants for five finalists.
Of the 25 water-tech innovators, four work in the areas of water leakage and distribution, five in waste-water treatment, nine in water purification, three in atmospheric generation of water, and four towards enabling water ecosystems.
It said many of the semi-finalists use deep-tech interventions such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. Some are working on efficient ways for rainwater harvesting, watershed management, or membrane filtration for purification.
All the proposed solutions exhibit a promise to be cost-effective and can be scaled equitably. Six of the 25 shortlisted organizations are founded by women in the contest to reach clean drinking water to 13 crore underprivileged households.
For the next six months, each semi-finalist will pilot its project and begin user-testing or expand their solution presence across various locations, to understand scalability potential and impact.
It said the selection was spread across three stages. In the first stage, the solutions proposed by the applicants were assessed for their relevance towards clean water enablement.
Of the 140 applicants, 102 made it to the second stage. Factors such as applicants’ depth and team credentials; research and proof of concept in their proposed solution and innovation; operations and maintenance requirements; adaptability of the solution; and scalability (market, tech enablement, pricing/revenue models, and sustainability) were assessed.
In the third stage, 35 start-ups faced another round of rigorous assessments on their scalability, proof of concept, and demographic focus and reach, which helped the panel narrow down the 25 semi-finalists, the statement said.
Sudha Srinivasan, Chief Executive Officer of The/Nudge Centre for Social Innovation, said it is very encouraging to see that these 25 semi-finalists have innovated and developed potentially scalable solutions that address the most pressing water issues in the country.
Deepak Mehrotra, Managing Director of Ashirvad Pipes, said The/Nudge Prize | Ashirvad Water Challenge aims to nurture technology-based innovations that improve water cycle management.
June 24, 2022