The three winners of the 2023 SEIF awards are developing solutions to reduce waste in the beer production sector, decode plant language to boost yield and empower sustainable actions through gamification. The audience award went to energy startup Voltiris, making the winning team well-gender balanced.
Startups from 31 countries applied for this year’s SEIF Tech for Impact Awards, Europe’s leading competition for impact-led startups that address one or more of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The ten finalists who presented their solutions to the audience are mainly in their early-stage phase, with some having a proof of concept and ready to enter the market, while others are already operational with numerous customers worldwide.
The winning startups convinced the jury with their approach to problems facing the food and agriculture industry and their efforts to empower individuals to take sustainable actions in their daily lives. Each winner received a cash prize of 10’000 CHF and non-financial support.
The winner of the categories UBS Award for Social Innovation is YeastUp, a Brugg-based startup developing a patent-pending process to upcycle yeast by-products from the brewing industry. Incorporated in 2020, the startup has developed two products Yeastin and UpFiber, that can be used by the food industry to increase protein content and produce dietary and pet food supplements. The products also act as active ingredients in cosmetic products. Following the pre-production phase in Bern, YeastUp is ready to scale production and market entry in 2024.
Lausanne-based startup Vivent, led by Carrol Plummer, won the Julius Bär Award for Future Impact Trend. The BCorp-certified company developed an IoT real-time diagnostic tool to decode the plant language to help growers understand their plants’ health for better yield. Growers receive automated crop alerts and actionable insights to support their decision-making. Early adopters are already using the solution.
New award category recognizes women in Tech
This year SEIF launched a new award category, the SEIF Award for Women in Tech for Impact, to promote diversity in the startup ecosystem by giving more visibility to women impact entrepreneurs. This year, 35 percent of the applicants had mixed co-founding teams – corresponding to an increase of 11 percent compared to last year. more than 15 percent were solely female-led startups.
The first winner in this category is a Swedish startup Deedstar led by Monika Martinsson. Deedstar developed a platform to create sustainability awareness and action among individuals through gamification. The platform provides personalized challenges ‘deeds’ and tips for more sustainable lifestyles. Through its app, users can track their progress, earn points and compete with colleagues. The startup works with more than 80 corporate companies in 50 countries, and its app is used by over 150’000 people that have saved 5000 tons of CO2.
Voltiris wins the Audience Award
The startup that impresses the audience with its pitch wins the Audience Award and receives coaching and support from the SEIF team and experts. Voltiris emerged as the winner. The startup develops and commercialises solar modules that allow greenhouse growers to harvest green energy while growing crops.