Irish cleantech start-ups make it to final of EU’s ClimateLaunchpad

19 Oct 2017

From left: Aisling Byrne of The Nu Wardrobe, Paddy Healy of Size/U and Vincent Farrelly of AquaRoot. Image: Shane O’Neill Photography

Irish cleantech firms to battle 90 rivals selected from more than 1,000 entries across Europe.

Three Irish cleantech companies – The Nu Wardrobe, AquaRoot and Size/U – have made it to the 2017 final of the EU’s ClimateLaunchpad competition.

ClimateLaunchpad, the EU’s main climate innovation business initiative, was set up to specifically develop ideas that address sustainability and climate change.

‘I sleep better knowing how many great teams are working on 
technologies and businesses that tackle climate change’

The European ClimateLaunchpad final is a showcase for the cream of the continent’s cleantech talent.

The Irish companies were chosen from a national shortlist of 15, in a competition organised by Sustainable Nation, the body that promotes Ireland as a hub for sustainable business and investment. The three start-ups will pitch their idea and business plans before an international jury.

“We are building a new economy for the future based on long-term and sustained growth,” explained Aideen O’Hora, director of sustainable innovation with Sustainable Nation.

“This new economy is based on the global need to address climate change, which, historically, will be one of biggest global challenges. Lots of money needs to be invested globally – at least €1trn annually – and I believe Irish companies should be to the fore in providing solutions. “

The jury will award the top three winners of the European competition funding worth €10,000, €5,000 and €2,500, and the best 10 will take part in the Climate-KIC 18-month accelerator programme.

Who are the Irish cleantech trailblazers?

“ClimateLaunchpad is so much more than a green-business ideas competition,” said Sustainable Nation’s entrepreneur in residence, Ron Immink, who will be attending the final in Cyprus.

“It is a signal from the researchers, entrepreneurs, investors and Europe that we need to build an economy that addresses challenges such as climate change and sustainability. The sense of urgency to create a successful business from the 500 people in a room is palpable. This is a mainstream business and market opportunity.”

Among the Irish entries is The Nu Wardrobe, a website that allows fashionistas to share and swap clothes, targeted at universities and third-level students. By paying a service fee ranging from €2 to €5, users can borrow an outfit instead of buying an item that may be only worn once and made in a country with lax environmental and labour standards.

AquaRoot is the maker of a biodegradable polymer that can be extruded through 3D printing, becoming a low-cost method to irrigate crops in a more economical and efficient way.

Meanwhile, Size/U has developed a garment embedded with sensors that will digitally map the human body and provide a customer’s unique body measurements. It will be sold to online retailers, so that they can provide their customers with the correct fit, vastly reducing the enormous financial and carbon cost of returns across the industry.

“I sleep better knowing how many great teams are working on 
technologies and businesses that tackle climate change,” said Frans Nauta, founder of ClimateLaunchpad.

“There are 
great ideas out there, many of them from people with little business 
experience. Therefore, ClimateLaunchpad is so important. We provide 
innovators with the coaching to make their great ideas profitable 

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years