Climate Action

Inspirational pitches by Amsterdam startups give hope for clean cities

How would you like to light up your home with plants that can also charge your phone, using clean energy stored in an iconic unused water tower? Or produce energy from your own house by covering it with beautiful solar visuals? Or go out to enjoy a lazy Sunday in town, by using an app to call for a portable full battery for your electric boat? Or take your bike to a café and pay for your soy latte with a currency battery, charged by your cycling efforts?

Is this how our city will look like in the future? No! These are real and tangible solutions from startups in Amsterdam. They are all winners from the What Design Can Do Clean Energy Challenge that called on designers and startups to come up with design ideas for solving cities’ energy issues. Twenty winning startups from four different cities (São Paulo, Nairobi, Mexico City and Amsterdam) have just finished an intense accelerator workshop to turn their clean energy ideas into reality.

Last week, the Dutch winners pitched their ideas to investors at Amsterdam’s #wemakethecity festival, an initiative to help make cities clean, liveable and climate-friendly. The five energising pitches of Living Light (Ermi van Oers) , Iconic Energy Storage (Rosanne Bouw), Voltogo (Job Veltman), Solar Visuals (Thijs Sepers) and Block E (Karlijn Welsma) each had 180 seconds to pitch. They shared the stage with Kate Raworth (author of Doughnut Economics) and inspired the audience in CIRCL in Amsterdam with their innovations.

Although this was the final phase of the What Design Can Do programme, the winners’ journey is only just beginning. We hope that after this, investors and local governments will take their promising solutions a step further, so we can all enjoy clean and liveable cities very soon.

IKEA Foundation and What Design Can Do
The IKEA Foundation supported the What Design Can Do Clean Energy Challenge to help families cope with the effects of climate change. The challenge called on designers and creative entrepreneurs to submit innovative solutions to combat the impacts of climate change.
Read about all 20 winners