In episode 46 of the Investing in Impact podcast, we speak with Tom Ferguson, Managing Partner at Burnt Island Ventures, on the future of water investments and water technologies.
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Tom brings a decade of experience in water investments and startups to lead BIV.
His start in water came as the lead author on the first CDP Water Disclosure Report in 2010, and he joined Imagine H2O in 2015 to build out the organization’s programming portfolio, which now encompasses 3 global programs vetting 500+ startups per year.
Companies selected under Tom’s tenure have raised $600m+ and achieved 5 exits. He holds an MA from the University of Edinburgh, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Current investments include:
Sprout – The company creates pure alkaline water from air. Their goal is to sustainably meet the consumption needs of every human being on earth enabling longer and healthier lives in the process.
SewerAI – SewerAI is the leading software & services provider for wastewater & stormwater condition assessment, providing Enterprise-scale AI & Cloud solutions more efficiently & cost-effectively than alternatives.
Clout to Street – Flood Tracking for Disasters and Insurance. Floods are the costliest natural disaster on Earth. Cloud to Street’s Flood Intelligence Platform provides critical insights to insure flood risk and save lives.
Why Water Investments and Water Technologies?
We are at a turning point. From the wildfires of the Western US to flooding in Niger, climate change is here. Water resources across the world will be under increasing stress as the world warms.
Water investments, products and services that allow individuals, governments and companies to navigate this change will see more and more demand.
Burnt Island Ventures looks a three specific themes to approach investments.
Industrialization has led to a fundamental change in how we think about water.
Once upon an era, it was enough for people’s needs be met by relying on local resources like lakes and springs; nowadays you need centralized sources that can provide clean drinking-water with little or no input from human hands – which means less pollution!
The shift towards more efficient water technologies will not only reduce costs but also make economic sense because these water techniques are incredibly EFFICIENT.
Cities across the world are struggling with a lack of clean water.
Pipeline infrastructure is expensive and unreliable, which makes it difficult for these communities to access affordable drinking-water resources that would improve their health.
The need is clear: we must find ways in which people can easily connect over large distances without having too much hassle from transportation concerns such has price fluctuations or availability issues at any given time.
The water utility industry does an unbelievable job of keeping us safe, but the list for contaminants they are dealing with is large and growing.
From lead to PFASs (polymer flame retardants), micro-plastics have been found in our drinking supplies!
Low-cost water technologies keep people healthy while helping utilities manage & optimize their systems, so we can all enjoy clean tap water at home or work without worry about what’s going into them.
About Burnt Island Ventures
Burnt Island Ventures is not a cleantech fund, because in cleantech water is a $900 billion afterthought. You can’t be good at water unless you only do water. Burnt Island Ventures funds the best entrepreneurs in water, worldwide.
That’s it. This is a giant, esoteric, and foundational market for the entire global economy.
Entrepreneurs are emerging with the skill and insight to meet that demand, developing solutions to water problems at scale.
Burnt Island Ventures exists to find, fund and support the best of these founders.
Causeartist is a multi media company spotlighting impact entrepreneurs, impact startups, and corporate social responsibility.