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Recently, at the biggest tech festival in Amsterdam, the Netherlands – the TNW Conference 2019 – Chivas Venture 2019 was held. For the uninitiated, Chivas Ventures was launched in 2014 to build a more sustainable future for people and the planet.
Each and every year from then on, the company gives away $1 million in no-strings funding and expert coaching at the Chivas Venture Accelerator Programme. In the last 4 years, the Chivas Venture received over 8,000 applications and supported 100 startups with funding and coaching. Collectively the company has already enriched the lives of more than 1 million people in over 40 countries, across 6 continents.
Recently, the Avengers star Zoe Saldana announced the winner of the 2019 Chivas Venture. From 20 global finalists, Mexico’s Xilinat walked away with the largest amount of funding, receiving $310,000, following a live pitch at Europe’s leading tech festival, TNW Conference. The Global Final – hosted by BAFTA-winning actor and director, Richard Ayoade.
Reacting to his win, Javier Larragoiti, Co-Founder and CEO of Xilinat said: “This moment tastes pretty sweet! I’m super happy to have been crowned winner of the Chivas Venture 2019; with this funding, we can go ten times bigger – and that means helping so many more people around the world.”
This year’s competition featured 20 entrepreneurs from across the world. Through quarter and semi-final pitches, the 20 finalists were whittled down to five Grand Finalists, who had just three minutes to impress a panel of judges and an audience of global business leaders, tech professionals, investors and entrepreneurs.
The judging panel comprised of
- Zoe Saldana (Actress, entrepreneur and philanthropist)
- Alexandre Ricard (Chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard – parent company of Chivas Regal)
- Cemal Ezel (Founder of Change Please and global winner of the Chivas Venture 2018)
- Sonal Shah (Economist and founding Executive Director of the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University)
Each startup was assessed based on their ability to create sustainable change through a viable business model and potential to scale. Now let’s take a look at these 5 visionary startups in detail.
Prize money: $1 million
Xilinat transforms agricultural waste into a sugar substitute through a biotechnological, natural and patented process to avoid the burning of waste and provide a healthy alternative that combats obesity and diabetes. The company purchases agricultural waste from small scale farmers and transform it into a natural sweetener, which looks and tastes identical to sugar.
Talking about the benefits, the end product is low in calories, ideal for diabetics, and protects teeth against cavities. Having said that, it also generates revenue for low-income families and prevent burning, along with human exposure to the associated harmful pollutants. Till date, Xilinat has acquired 300 tonnes of waste and avoided 1.2 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Prize money: $250,000
This Polish startup is transforming used tyres and rubber into industrial products to evade waste and carbon emissions. Syntoil has developed and patented a method called continuous pyrolysis, meaning the thermal decomposition of tyres without oxygen.
According to the startup, this process reduces the emission of inorganic compounds which cause respiratory diseases and compounds causing climate change, by approximately 96%.
Prize money: $110,000
SPEAK is a linguistic and cultural program built to bring people closer together in an attempt to solve the social exclusion of migrants and refugees. Based out of Portugal, the company address two significant problems – the language barrier and the lack of an opportunity to meet the “other”—with a community-based solution.
In this case, the participants sign up to the program motivated by teaching their language or culture or learning a language and culture. In doing so, they communicate, break prejudices, create friendships and, ultimately, build an informal support network.
Prize money: $50,000
Furthermore, Tykn’s identity system allows public and private institutions to issue and verify digital identity credentials. Users are provided with an app, a digital identity wallet, that allows them to digitally access services from those institutions in a private and secure manner.
With this technology, the company aims to turn invisible people into invincible ones, breaking barriers around identification, and access to basic human rights.
Prize money: $50,000
This startup from the USA helps businesses track and manage their food waste, donate edible remaining food to those in need, and reap significant financial benefits from reducing waste. The company has developed an app, ‘Copia Connect’ to enhance the donation experience for our nonprofit partners.
When a donor inputs a donation, our algorithm matches the donation to a nonprofit that can accept it at that time, prioritising those that have requested on-demand donations. Copia aims to push conventional ways of thinking to inspire systemic changes to our food supply system.
Stay tuned to Silicon Canals for more updates in the tech startup world.