Seeking our next $100,000 winner

FOR RELEASE ON October 9, 2019

Calling all nature-inspired innovators! Do you have a product, service, or technology that helps create a sustainable, resilient future? The Ray of Hope Prize® competition, offering the world’s premiere biomimicry prize, is awarded annually to a nature-inspired startup solution that is leveraging business as a force for good. The application for the 2019-2020 season is now open.

The Ray of Hope Prize competition provides select biomimicry startups with the opportunity to participate in high-level pitch and biomimicry training, showcase their work to industry leaders, and compete for a $100,000 equity-free prize.

“Our belief is that biomimicry drastically reduces a technology’s time to market, because the technology has already been proven to work in nature in a cost-effective, sustainable way,” says Jared Yarnall-Schane, the Biomimicry Institute’s Entrepreneurship Director, “ As we strive to reach the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by the year 2030, it is important that we recognize and support the entrepreneurs addressing the SDGs, along with the organisms and ecosystems that inspire them.”

Competitors have the potential for media exposure to major press outlets: past Ray of Hope Prize winners have had their stories shared on CBS, the BBC, and PBS.  Participants also gain access to a growing community of biomimicry designers and entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and potential investors.

The 2019 Ray of Hope Prize winner, Boston-based Watchtower Robotics, developed a patented soft-bodied robot that mimics elements of octopuses, jellyfish, and the lateral line system in fish. The tiny robots are capable of detecting leaks in pipes of any material and in any structure — including pipes with small diameters — unlike current technologies available on the market. Watchtower has completed pilots in Saudi Arabia, the United States, and the United Kingdom, including with two of the largest water utility companies in the world.

Other past winners have included 2018 Ray of Hope Prize winner Nucleário, a biomimetic company that offers a smarter, cheaper, and faster approach for large-scale forest restoration by reducing seedling maintenance. Inspired by winged seeds, bromeliads, and forest leaf litter, the Nucleário Planting System eliminates the need for irrigation, herbicides, and pesticides. 2017 Ray of Hope Prize winner NexLoop designs products and systems to collect and integrate in situ atmospheric water sources into sustainable and affordable urban food production, inspired by spiders, ice plants, and mycorrhizal fungi.

“These past prize winners demonstrate exactly why our foundation is proud to support this program,” says John A. Lanier, Executive Director of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. “When entrepreneurs turn to nature as their teacher, they remind us of life’s brilliance and how much more we have to learn. These startups prove that biomimicry offers a better pathway to success.”

Applications are now open to join a community of entrepreneurs around the world in building successful biomimicry businesses, accelerating the development and commercialization of biomimicry innovations, and becoming the next generation of sustainability entrepreneurs. Entries will be accepted from now until December 31, 2019.

Learn more and apply at innovation.biomimicry.org/rayofhopeprize.

About the Ray C. Anderson Foundation

The Ray C. Anderson Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that seeks to promote a sustainable society by supporting and funding educational and project-based initiatives that advance knowledge and innovation in sustainability.

About the Biomimicry Institute

The Biomimicry Institute is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that empowers people to seek nature-inspired solutions for a healthy planet. 

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We believe that the widespread adoption of nature-inspired solutions will catalyze a new era in design and business that benefits both people and the planet. Let’s make the act of asking nature’s advice a normal part of everyday inventing. We hope you will join us.

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