We had rented cycles and cycled an hour to reach the venue of the Grand EU Final. We actually got a little lost on the morning so we arrived a little flustered but having seen a different side of Valencia and learned the Valencian rules of cycle lanes (not easy with a Dutchman!). We were excited to present in front of the judges and to share our work. Before our pitches we put a pinch of salt into each of the judges water so that they could immediately understand that we are in the solar desalination business!
We had been working very hard for over a year on this project and it took a lot of effort to get this far. What has helped us is a shared vision to benefit people and planet and an unwillingness to accept nonviable status quos when it comes to a billion people accessing clean drinking water.
Nevertheless, we were really surprised and happy when we heard that we won the 2nd Prize. Also a feeling of gratitude and humility came over us as there were a lot of other great competitors. And we are really excited about our access to Climate-KIC’s accelerator. We see it as a fantastic opportunity to streamline our process, accelerate the product development, gain access to mentors and access funding to ensure success.
During Climate-KIC’s Innovation Festival we met many interesting folks from across the spectrum and it was great to connect with likeminded folks from all over Europe. Talking with folks from Cyprus, Spain and other countries who all have major challenges with water really brought home the proximity to the water crisis that we have in Europe. The various juries in particular were very helpful with advice, support and ideas for how we can advance Desolenator.
Now party time is over. We are just about to kick off a crowdfunding program and we are developing the technology for market readiness. We need to accelerate as Desolenator aims to serve 1 billion people by 2030.
Author: Alexei Levene, Start-up Desolenator, 2nd Prize Winner CleanLaunchpad 2014