Companies from around the world come to develop their water-based technology startups.
Water is one of the most vital substances on Earth. It’s a fundamental part of our everyday lives, powering some of our most basic human needs, like hydrating, bathing and cooking. But water is not automatically usable in all forms—throughout history we have made adaptations, such as treating water to rid it of contaminants for our consumption or harnessing its power for electricity. Water remains one of the most crucial components of our everyday lives, which is why Pipeline H2O in Hamilton is fostering the next generation of water technologies.
“Southwest Ohio is home to some of the best water resources and municipal water in the nation”, said Antony Seppi, Program Director at Pipeline H2O. “There is a tremendous need for continued adaptation and development of technologies around water, so we saw an opportunity to carve out our spot in the space and make a name for ourselves. We’re very excited about the technologies we’re accelerating—technologies that improve our quality of drinking water, boost the energy efficiency of bottling water, improve water filtration—you name it.”
The Pipeline H2O program was launched in September 2016 to identify innovative water-based startup technologies and accelerate their path to market. Pipeline H2O is managed by The Hamilton Mill, a small business incubator and southwest regional partner of Ohio Third Frontier that focuses on clean energy and advanced manufacturing technologies. The Hamilton Mill’s unique “City as a Lab” approach leverages relationships with civic institutions and municipal resources to allow companies to quickly test their products.
The program is thriving due in part to the strength of their neighboring civic partners. Cincinnati is home to one of the largest EPA labs in the nation and has long been a strong strategic partner of The Hamilton Mill’s initiatives. Additionally, Hamilton, Ohio’s water treatment facilities are top notch, boasting the “world’s best tasting tap water.” That designation was officially bestowed upon the Cincinnati suburb in 2010 and 2015. In addition, the strength of the University of Cincinnati resources and research are helping move Pipeline companies forward.
Pipeline H2O’s reputation is quickly gaining global attention following the success of its inaugural class. Last year, the program’s inaugural class, featured mostly Ohio companies. This year’s class features companies from Australia and England, with others traveling from California, Maine and Virginia. Seppi said it was difficult to narrow the class down from the dozens of impressive applications they received.
Cincinnati believes the Pipeline H2O program can establish the region as the “Silicon Valley for water technology,” according to Seppi. They envision their companies addressing water-related issues on a worldwide scale.
“Water’s a fundamental part of our everyday lives, and that isn’t going to change. There’s no shortage of issues to address in this space, from water scarcity, water reuse, water infrastructure, consumer innovations around water—you name it,” said Seppi. “With the success of this program and the strength of this startup community, we think we’re more than capable of making a big splash in water technology, pun intended.”