08 Nov 2016

Pollution battling moss startup wins Green Alley Awards

By Anna Hyde

From a bio-dynamic light that comes directly from nature, to a wall of moss that reduces city pollution – these were just some of the exciting products I saw at last week’s final of the Green Alley Awards in Berlin.

BGV is a partner of the Green Alley Award, Europe’s first competition for entrepreneurs working on green businesses within the circular economy. I went along to the finals in Berlin, to help with judging.

There were six finalists up for the award – all incredibly ambitious startups, tackling some of the most challenging problems in waste and recycling, and pushing the agenda of the circular economy.

The finalist were:

  • Das Tiffin Projekt: Introducing a sustainable way to package takeaway food
  • Bump Mark from Design by Sol: A food freshness checker to replace best before dates
  • Glowee: Bio-organic lighting
  • Green City Solutions: A moss installation for reducing city pollution
  • ResQ Club: An app for selling surplus food from restaurants
  • Restado: A marketplace for construction waste

It was Green City Solutions who took home the trophy – with a flawless pitch which championed a unique solution to one of the toughest, most topical challenges faced today.  The team from Dresden creates installations which combine the natural purification techniques of moss cultures, with IoT technology to identify optimal conditions for the moss to make the installations efficient and resilient in urban settings.

…the day which the consumption of ecological resources exceeds what earth can regenerate that year, fell this year on 8 August. This terrifying statistic should put waste, recycling and the circular economy at the top of the world’s agenda.

The tone of the evening was appropriately set in the opening speech of Jan Patrick Schulz, the CEO of Landbell, the organisation that set up Green Alley. He drew attention to one of the most depressing realities of the way we currently use the earth’s resources.  Earth “overshoot day”, which marks the day which the consumption of ecological resources exceeds what earth can regenerate that year, fell this year on 8 August.  This terrifying statistic should put waste, recycling and the circular economy at the top of the world’s agenda.  Judging by the number of applications for the Green Alley Award (191) and the variety of countries they originated from (52), the startup world is chomping at the bit to tackle these challenges.

The evening saw each of the finalists pitch and answer some questions from the judging panel.  The quality of pitching was extremely high and I was lucky to join a panel of fantastic judges, who asked some probing questions.  It was a lengthy deliberation in the judging room, and it was incredibly hard to choose a winner, especially when the entrants were so diverse, in sector as well as stage.  However, the Green Alley Award ensures that all the runners up benefit from the experience – having laid on a day of coaching from expert mentors and an opportunity to network with an audience that are excited by the circular economy.

I hope that BGV will see a number of applications from startups working in the circular economy when we open applications on the 15th of November.