Water is everywhere. We know that it makes up 55% to 60%% of our adult bodies and 71% of the earth’s surface. But we don’t always realize how central water is to major industries — and I’m not only talking about agriculture.
The mining, chemical, painting, dye, textile, and paper industries all rely heavily on water. And they pollute it, too — badly. Industries released 193.6 million pounds of chemicals in water in 2020. Many times, the water is not treated properly. So the chemicals stay in the environment, where they can harm wildlife and humans.
Some of these chemicals are called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). They’re ridiculously small molecules, but the more I learn about them, the more afraid I am.
Scientific studies indicate that PFAS from chemical origin can be carcinogenic, reduce fertility, or even affect a baby’s weight. They never deteriorate in the environment and are now present literally everywhere. Yes, everywhere, including in our blood. The effects are already there. In Europe, the medical cost of diseases caused by PFAS amounts to more than $53 billion.
One key to solving this problem is startup innovation. Startups must develop better water treatment technologies and lower prices to incentivize industries to adopt them. As investors, we need to invest more into water tech. In 2021, only 0.8% of climate tech investments went to water. That’s not enough to tackle this costly and dangerous problem.
Thankfully, a few startups recently started raising online and are offering solutions to increase water quality.
Avivid Water Technology, raising on Republic, developed an innovative and complete water treatment solution that can remove PFAS from water, according to founder and CEO Lockett Wood. The system’s cost is competitive to current wastewater treatment solutions, doesn’t use chemicals, and is low maintenance. It produces a smaller sludge than chemical treatment solutions. Avivid Water Technology wants to sell its water treatment product to polluting companies and already has a contract with the U.S. Navy.
Avivid’s technology can separate PFAS from the water, but these toxic chemicals are still present in the leftover sludge. PFAS stay intact in the environment. Aquagga, raising on Wefunder, has a one of the only solutions in the world specifically designed to destroy PFAS from any liquid stream. It can remove PFAS from contaminated water or operate at the end of water treatment cycle to destroy PFAS from wastewater treatment sludges. The product is receiving interest from both public and private entities.
Chemical pollution is a global and pressing problem. It reassures me to know that startups are working on it. Keep reading to learn about more impact investing opportunities from January 2023 and get a shot of optimism.
Top Impact Investing Companies
Maritime transportation is sustaining the world’s economy, but it comes with negative impacts, too. On top of emitting millions of tons of carbon dioxide, large boats also pollute the air, endangering harbor populations. Fortunately, Greener Process Systems has developed a cutting-edge system called SETH that captures air pollution from oceangoing ships docked in ports, improves air quality, and prevents health complications. Greener Process Systems has already received a $10 million order to install SETH systems in Italy over the next 18 to 24 months.
Industry pollution has a global impact on the environment and human health. The most affordable water treatment solutions available use chemicals and produce a considerable amount of sludge. To solve the problem, Avivid Water Technology has improved a technology more than a century old — electrocoagulation — by making it cheaper and lower maintenance. Avivid Water Technology provides chemical-free water treatment and reduces sludge and landfill contamination. The company has three patents and has proven its technology with several pilots.
PFAS molecules are chemicals that are harmful to the human body. They do not break down easily due to their strong chemical bonds. Aquagga has developed award-winning patented technology that can break PFAS molecules’ bonds, destroy them, and protect humans and the environment. The company is already signing contracts with both public and private clients.
Other Impact Investing Companies
Food and Agriculture
Hooray Foods makes delicious, plant-based bacon that sizzles like the real thing. It uses simple ingredients, including rice, pea starch, tapioca, coconut oil, purple potato powder, and beet juice. Hooray Foods’ technology for making plant-based meats is patented.
Geoship creates zero-carbon ceramic homes that are non-toxic, fireproof, resistant to natural calamities, and recyclable. Geoship’s houses can be constructed in a number of configurations and are estimated to be 50% more affordable than traditional housing.
Ourobio turns industrial byproducts into biodegradable plastic additives. The aim of the company is to lower the cost, environmental footprint, and difficulty of making bio-based products and packaging.
Fast Bags Corp makes biodegradable trash bags called BagUps that break down into harmless molecules within two years. BagUps are patented, convenient, and environmentally friendly.
Med-X has developed many all-natural and plant-based brands that aim to solve everyday issues. The products are sold through major retail and healthcare distributors. Med-X’s product lines include Nature-Cide, a brand of insecticide, and Thermal-Aid, a brand of hot and cold packs.
Durable is offering a full-service solution to help car dealerships adopt electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The company provides site evaluation, custom designs, infrastructure installation, and system monitoring.
Alpha Motor Corporation is an automobile and mobility company focused on manufacturing sport, utility, and adventure electric vehicles. It’s able to design and manufacture a variety of electric vehicles using a patented modular vehicle system.
AEV Charging is developing highly efficient electric vehicle charging stations and compatible software solutions. Its patented technology uses artificial intelligence to speed up the charging process.
Vroom Solar makes do-it-yourself, portable solar energy kits. The kits are expected to produce five to 10 times the output of traditional battery-based portable energy systems. Vroom Solar’s product is currently in development and has a working prototype.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Coils to Locs makes textured and coily-haired wigs for women. The company caters specifically to Black women who lose their hair but cannot find wigs matching their hair type.
Assetcoin Capital Fund is a venture capital fund that invests in urban communities across America. The fund concentrates on real estate development, mortgage lending, construction projects, and qualified early stage companies. Its alternative for collateralized loan obligations product is designed to give underserved communities opportunities for homeownership and asset acquisition.
SampleServe is a software company that offers tools for environmental sample collection, analysis, imaging, and report production, particularly in sewer testing and water testing. The company’s system can help users save 40% to 60% in time and expenditures.
Bowr offers a digital marketplace for sustainable, customizable furniture that eliminates the middlemen between furniture makers and customers. It is a B corporation, donates at least 1% of its revenue to environmental causes, and plants one tree for every product sold. The company is aiming for fair trade and carbon-neutral certifications by the end of 2024.
Wall Street has Morningstar, S&P, and Bloomberg
The equity crowdfunding market has KingsCrowd.
About: Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau
Léa is passionate about impact investing and sustainability. Prior to KingsCrowd, she worked for Stanford’s accelerator, StartX, helping to select the most promising entrepreneurs. She also led the first award-winning study on the Malawian startup ecosystem. In her free-time, she volunteers to help entrepreneurs in Cameroon, Brazil and Colombia. Léa holds a degree in Anthropology from France and is currently enrolled in the UC Davis MBA program.