Start-up programmes, pitching & funding

Recently, Clean Water Wave has been involved in two big pitching events for funding that’s specifically designated for low carbon/clean tech start-ups: Shell Springboard and Climate KIC Accelerator programme.

Both programmes offer money – without equity – for start-ups that have potential to deliver impact in a low-carbon economy, and the Climate-KIC also has a range of additional support (like office space at the ECCI and coaching support) included in the package too.

We pitched for both, and were enormously happy to reach the regional finals of the Shell Springboard event. Competition was so tough; there were eight other companies pitching, with products ranging from a fridge that can keep medicines & vaccines safe in rural, remote places using just water (SureChill, check them out!) to a company that upcycles disposable coffee cups into super-useful materials (Carbogenics, one of our fellow Edinburgh-based start-ups and who went on to win the Shell funding! Congrats!!!).


Although we weren’t successful with the Shell pitch, we learned some valuable lessons about pitching in a highly competitve environment, and:

  • Number 1 Top Tip is don’t expect your audience to just get it just cos you do!

We start-ups deal with the product and the business model day in, day out, and there is a danger that we assume that others will be on board with it… and that’s probably even more so the case if you’re a social enterprise like us, because soc-ents tend to a bit misunderstood.

Often, if you’ve been practicing the pitch in front of people that know you and your business, the feedback won’t quite be the same as it might be if you pitched in front of a total newbie. So:

  • Find some newbies to pitch to! Fresh eyes and ears are invaluable!

The vision is often what start-ups are told to focus on, and that (for us) is an easy sell – after all, who doesn’t think that getting clean, safe drinking water for all is a good idea? – but succinctly putting across a non-standard approach to business isn’t quite so easy. And the only way we’re found to do it well is to:

  • Practice, reflect, improve, and try again.

Improve & try again

So it was the very next day in fact, after a lot of reflecting and revisioning of the pitch, that we pitched for the Climate KIC Accelerator Stage 3 programme, run through those cool cats at ECCI.

And we won!

We’re now proud participants in the Stage 3 programme, along with MiAlgae, Boxergy & Industrial Nature – three very inspiring companies that we’re sure are well on their way to big things.

The funding and support from this programme is going to help us improve our product, our approach and develop our market reach. What a great opportunity!

We’re excited for our progress over the next few months… we’ll keep you posted!

CAFE and Stephanie