Water Council welcomes latest BREW startups

Milwaukee’s Water Council is welcoming the latest group of water tech-focused startups to its BREW Accelerator program.

“From a gel filtering technology to giant bubbles, we are eager to get to work with this new batch of startups,” said Dean Amhaus, president and CEO of The Water Council.

Every year, companies participating in the seed accelerator program get access to a host of benefits that can mean the difference between failure and success. They each receive up to a $50,000 equity investment, work space in the Global Water Center in Milwaukee and training through the UW-Whitewater Institute for Water Business.

On top of this assistance, they also get access to the Water Council’s global network, through which they can connect to world leaders in water stewardship and big-name companies.

The council’s global member directory includes companies like Rockwell Automation, Johnson Controls, Findorff, Michael Best, Baird, MillerCoors and many more.

Five companies will be taking part this time around in what will be the fifth installment of the program. Two hail from outside the United States, while the other three are based in Wisconsin.

Ecoli-Sense is a biotech startup from Ontario. It has a monitoring platform designed for water quality and agriculture, and is prototyping a magnetic bio-ink for flagging the presence of E. coli — a bacterium that can cause serious health issues.

Hydrate Gel Filtration, a Brisbane, Australia-based company, is working on a method for running water through a specialized gel structure to separate unwanted contaminants. This would make it easier and less costly to produce filtered water, according to a release.

Milwaukee-based Plasma Environmental is using reactive ions — molecules with a positive or negative charge — to clean wastewater, which it claims will save businesses money.

Pulse Burst Systems, from Richfield, has a patented mixer for introducing bubbles of varying sizes into systems for the water and wastewater industry.

And Lancaster-based Water Resources Monitoring Group is seeking to improve water run-off monitoring efforts. WRM has a water monitoring program for farmers that it claims will lead to better decision-making through higher quality data.

Previous graduates of the BREW Accelerator have applied unique technologies and ideas to water-related issues. While some have worked with specially enhanced materials for water purification, others focused on data and information relating to water systems.

One Canadian graduate, Smart Waters, figured out a way to capture and retain rainwater to use as backup for cities’ water reserves. Smart Waters is currently looking into establishing an office in Milwaukee.

Since it started in 2013, the BREW program has graduated 25 water tech startups. Of those, 14 have patents that are already granted or are pending. Graduates have raised $2.6 million in follow-on capital.

–By Alex Moe