Wisconsin Accelerator Enrolls Second Class of Water Tech Startups

Wisconsin Accelerator Enrolls Second Class of Water Tech Startups

The Water Council today revealed the second group of startups that will participate in its accelerator, as the Milwaukee-based organization continues its quest to create a water tech hub built around large local companies, university researchers, and up-and-coming ventures.

Gov. Scott Walker was on hand to congratulate the graduates of last year’s pilot water tech accelerator, housed in The Water Council’s Global Water Center near downtown Milwaukee. The program—dubbed “Business. Research. Entrepreneurship. In Wisconsin.,” or the BREW—offers each participant office space in the center, access to industry mentors and expertise, and a $50,000 grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

The accelerator’s next class, which will move into the center in September, was announced during the council’s seventh annual Water Summit. The companies are:

—Cadens: This Wisconsin company helps design, manufacture, install, and operate small hydropower systems.

—Hydrolight: The startup has developed a water treatment device that uses ultraviolet light to kill bacteria and viruses.

—Pellucid Water: Born on University of Wisconsin-Madison’s campus, the company has created a method for removing dissolved chemicals from contaminated water.

—Phinding Solutions: This Madison-based company is developing technology that more efficiently measures liquid samples in laboratories.

WatrHub: The Toronto, Canada-based company provides water data analytics for municipal, industrial, and agricultural customers.

Wellntel: The Milwaukee-area company is developing a cloud-enabled device that uses sonar to provide real-time measurements of water wells in order to understand the surrounding water table.

The accelerator program received double the number of applications for its second year, said Elizabeth Thelen, The Water Council’s director of entrepreneurship and talent, who began leading the BREW in March. (She wouldn’t share the exact number, but said it was fewer than 50 applications from around the world.) Because of the increased interest, the program also named three “honorable mention” companies that will get to collaborate with the accelerator, but won’t receive grant money or office space, she said. The runner-up companies were Milwaukee-based Chemtronix and two French companies, DSA Technologies and Ijinus.

Some of the graduates of the first annual program might stay in the Global Water Center, while others are looking for new office space in the area, Thelen said. The French parent company of Vegetal i.D., for example, is considering setting up a Midwest headquarters in Milwaukee, she said.

“It’s very exciting,” Thelen said. It’s an “entrepreneurial network that’s expanding and growing trust.”

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