The 2022 QBE AcceliCITY Resilience Challenge, hosted by Leading Cities in partnership with QBE North America, concluded today with the City Solution of the Year award and grand prize winnings of $100,000 presented to Automedi. Automedi is the world’s first decentralized circular microeconomy converting plastic waste into community products at the actual point of use. By capturing waste when it is discarded and turning it into functional products, Automedi is committed to shaping new standards of care through health science innovation and paving the way to a more sustainable future.
According to Greenpeace, U.S. households discarded 51 million tons of plastic waste in 2021, of which almost 95% ended up in landfills, oceans or scattered in the atmosphere. If this pattern continues, global plastic use and waste will nearly triple by 2060, with only a meager increase in plastic recycling, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
“Congratulations to Automedi! We are so impressed with your progress in tackling one of the world’s biggest environmental problems and look forward to following your future innovations and achievements,” said QBE North America CEO, Todd Jones. “Building more resilient and sustainable communities is at the heart of our company purpose, and we are proud to sponsor this challenge with Leading Cities for the fourth year in a row and hope to continue this important partnership for years to come.”
The $100,000 award was presented following a one-week intensive boot camp and panel evaluation from representatives of the QBE North America Board, Code for America, QBE Ventures and the National League of Cities. The champion startup also will be the feature of the upcoming AcceliGOV program, where cities from around the world compete to win a pre-paid pilot program of this treatment solution.
“Thank you to QBE North America for its inspiring leadership and focus on resilience and for once again supporting this challenge. Plastic stays in our environment for ages, spreading toxins and threatening our wildlife, the environment and humanity as a whole,” said Mike Lake, President and CEO of Leading Cities. “Recognizing the dismal future our world faces if this plastic waste and pollution crisis continues is crucial to taking the necessary steps to preserve our planet.”
Automedi is more than a manufacturing platform – it is a leading circular plastics economy. The company provides the technology and services to make functional products out of plastic waste via localized 3D printing, cutting out 98% of the CO2 of conventional manufacturing and supply chains by radically reducing the energy needed to manufacture and transport goods. Product orders from local businesses are fulfilled made-to-order through their e-commerce platform.
About QBE AcceliCITY Resilience Challenge
Automedi was one of 10 finalists representing the world’s foremost urban technology startups among more than 550 companies that applied from 70 countries. The finalists presented their pitches to a four-person panel made up of Kristen Dauphinais, Non-Executive Director of the QBE North America Board; Abhi Nemani of Code for America; James Orchard of QBE Ventures, and Stacey Richardson of the National League of Cities.
After a five-month vetting process, a two-month accelerator program and a virtual boot camp, QBE and Leading Cities announced the City Solution of the Year in a one-hour video production featuring the pitches and highlights of the 2022 QBE AcceliCITY finalists.
“Winning the AcceliCITY prize is a game changer, not only for the team who put in significant effort during challenging times for our country, but also for the cities we will work with,” said Ethar Alali, Managing Director of Automedi. “Funded trials allow partner cities to take on an innovative, step-change solution in Automedi. We mitigate the financial risks and deliver knowledge from research and innovation you simply cannot get from conventional market engagements or RFIs.”
Runners-up awards were also selected by QBE and Leading Cities with SAVRpak and Stormseal receiving a People’s Choice Award along with $25,000 of funding. SAVRpak helps double the shelf life of produce without chemicals while Stormseal developed a polyethylene film that heat-shrinks to securely wrap a damaged roof or structure.
The QBE AcceliCITY Resilience Challenge has quickly become one of the largest programs of its kind in the world and has demonstrated tremendous impact. AcceliCITY alumni have already raised upwards of $400 million, with many having since deployed their solutions in cities to improve the equity, resilience and safety of our urban centers.
At its core, QBE AcceliCITY lowers the cost of innovation for local governments, as well as startups and corporations, by streamlining the innovation and implementation cycles for smart and resilient city solutions. The QBE AcceliCITY program connects startups’ smart solutions directly with users and provides the proper channels and know-how to deploy in cities.
About the Other Finalists
- Plumis developed a fire suppression product – Automist – to improve fire safety and leverage technology to reduce damage caused by slow-growing fires or traditional sprinkler systems.
- EagleRidge Innovation uses a MicroPop high-pressure solution to break apart the cells of waste created by sewage. This allows more of the waste to be eliminated at a wastewater treatment facility rather than shipping it to dumping locations and creates more nutrients that can be used as fertilizer with technology add-ons.
- RunWithIt Synthetics helps communities prepare for a variety of scenarios from extreme weather to equity. This company’s 3D Synthetic City Simulations brings diverse stakeholders and experts together to produce decision support data.
- Project Plastic developed the Plastic Hunter, the world’s first affordable, portable and environmentally friendly microplastic sequestration device designed to work in active rivers.
- Zip Charge democratizes access to clean, low-cost energy wherever people need it – to charge an EV, to power the home or to access energy on the go. Their product GoHub is an innovative form of public infrastructure that combines charging, portable power and energy storage.
- Smart and Sustainable Built Environment provides a smart, simple and efficient planting technology to green indoor/outdoor surfaces where conventional planting is impossible.
- SDG Assessment’s web-based and mobile app helps small businesses and fast-growth companies report sustainability, ESG and corporate social responsibility performance.