Remember when water was turned into a scarce commodity by a greedy, big business in Quantum of Solace? Unfortunately, it’s not just a wild Hollywood plot - water may just be the oil of the future in terms of scarcity and price.
But it’s not just supranational corporations that are aggravating the problem. The average US household, for instance, can waste up to 9,400 gallons of water annually. In global terms, the agricultural industry uses around 70% of water consumed, 40% of which is wasted due to poor irrigation systems. In fact, farmers could use up to 80% less water if they were to implement more sustainable drip irrigation systems.
Luckily, it’s not all bad news. There are folks and companies out there that are not only aware of the problem and neglected importance of water but are also ready to put their money where their mouth is. That’s how we get to Grundfos - a long-standing pump manufacturing company that cares about sustainable water usage and water conservation.
Grundfos is an example of a conscientious company that knows that innovation is the key to solving some of the most pressing environmental issues we face today, and startups have emerged as hubs of innovation all around the world. But how does a company find valuable innovation funnels and sustainable partnerships?
In other words, how can it find the best startup to invest in and be inspired by? That’s where the Valuer platform proved to be a valuable contribution. So let’s unpack all of this.
Who is Grundfos?
Bjerringbro, Denmark-based Grundfos, is one of the largest pump manufacturers in the world that creates advanced, sustainable solutions for commercial and industrial use. This includes applications in water utility and treatment, buildings, and various industries. The company was established in 1945 and has since set down a road of sustainability and efficiency, growing into a global giant with over 19,250 employees and a presence in 60 countries.
Though we sometimes associate industry giants with the bad guys, Grundfos is an example of how there are Goliaths that are here to lead the way. According to the company's founder, Poul Due Jensen, “the world is full of problems that can be solved in a better way,” and this is evident in one of Grundfos’ main values: sustainability.
Grundfos has taken its responsibility as a leader in sustainable water management quite seriously. Their principal product - the pumps - that the company sold in 2020 allowed customers, i.e. end-users, to reuse more than 1.5 billion m³ of water annually. But that’s not where the global efforts regarding water shortage ends.
For starters, the company has worked on providing drinking water for villages. In fact, in 2020, the Grundfos SafeWater project and in collaboration with NGOs, humanitarian aid organizations, local governments, and partners, granted one million people access to safe drinking water. The team at Grundfos also works on treating wastewater and providing other sustainable water solutions.
As of November 10, 2021, Grundfos has become a member of the 50L Home Coalition, a global platform that aims to battle climate change and water security from a domestic point of view. As we witnessed earlier, households aren’t “innocent” actors when it comes to the cavalier approach to water. To improve the efficiency of domestic water consumption, Grundfos has joined the battle and will focus on the reuse and recycling of water in households.
And it’s not just in pump manufacturing and water efficiency technology that Grundfos stands out in, but also in energy efficiency. According to the company’s transparent sustainability report for 2020, they’ve reduced CO2 emissions by 45% since 2012 and energy consumption by 24% since 2008.
[Related Article - Innovating Sustainability: The Future of Wastewater Management]
The company also uses green buildings that are energy-efficient and utilize renewable energy for several of their offices around the world, including Dubai and Chennai. They are also working on decarbonizing their transportation.
Grundfos’ goals for 2025 and 2030 are aligned with some of the UN’s sustainable development goals for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. According to the sustainability report, these include:
- A company-wide water withdrawal in comparison to 2008
- Contributing to providing “safely managed drinking water” to 300 million people around the world
- Reducing the consumption by 500 billion m³ of freshwater
- Halving their CO2 emissions by 2025 in comparison to 2008
- Becoming climate-positive by 2030
More generally, Grundfos aims to accelerate water and digital solutions by developing strategic partnerships with tech companies that provide truly innovative, disruptive solutions. In fact, what’s always secured Grundfos’s role as an industry leader is their dedication to innovation and their desire to improve products according to the company’s goal to improve water and energy efficiency and their future-oriented attitude.
A company that values innovation and even upholds it as one of its cornerstones will always be in search of the next disruptive solution - remember the words of Grundfos’s founder? And where are better solutions to be found than startups?
After all, the collaboration between startups and corporations is integral to innovation and development. So how can Grundfos find innovative companies to accelerate the digital transformation? This is where the partnership between us and Grundfos helped them leverage innovation and find a solution to this challenge.
Grundfos was interested in discovering business models and innovative solutions in all sectors of the water cycle. Oftentimes, the problem for companies searching for such solutions is the sheer amount of data available. It’s not the sort of thing you can just Google. So, how could Grundfos find actionable insights regarding the global water sector? The answer was our AI-driven platform.
We scanned our database, containing over 500,000 startups, to come up with innovative solutions, business models, market developments, and industry/tech trends that satisfied Grundfos’s search requirements for investment opportunities - water. The platform’s features provided the company with insights that could help them find matches in that area of interest to broaden their technology and create better value. Let’s see how.
What Valuer features were used?
Using Valuer’s various features, Grundfos was able to identify more than 250 potential matches in more than 12 areas of interest related to water, including circular water solutions, sustainable food production, district utilities, and payment platforms in rural Africa.
Not only has this helped the company to find options for future partners, but also to identify industry trends in the market, in innovation, and in technology. Just as importantly, some of the main benefits of using our database for Grundfos were the fast discovery of solutions and the aggregated, insight-rich innovation data that the platform provides.
One of the main features that Grundfos used were Cluster Maps, and more specifically, industry clusters. Cluster Maps allows users to create cluster maps for different segments, companies, technologies, and markets, thus eliminating inefficient scouting processes and decreasing the overall time it takes to arrive at a solution.
Rather than going through mounds of data to find a decent match, Cluster Maps helps users find the best possible matches so that investors can just focus on choosing the right startup and then developing the strategy and resources for moving forward. You can use Cluster Maps to find solutions by industry, use case, or organization.
This feature is immensely useful in helping businesses identify innovative investment opportunities because it weeds out a lot of incompatible matches in the ever-growing playfield for startups and emerging companies. As we stated, one of the challenges for Grundfos had been tracking down the right startups for future investments and partnerships, which was out of thousands upon thousands of options. Using Cluster Maps, Grundfos was able to do just that - find relevant solutions and actionable insights.
Cluster Maps and Grundfos
So, how does this tie back in with Grundfos’ results of 250+ potential matches? Well, Grundfos was interested in emerging startups in all aspects of the water cycle.
That’s why, using cluster maps, they were able to identify startups and companies with wildly different products and models. These included payment platforms in rural Africa vs. circular water solutions, that are still relevant to the central, core concern of the company and key to the future development of their mission and business strategy for innovation, sustainability, and resource efficiency.
The 250+ matches allow the team at Grundfos to focus on truly promising, innovative, and relevant solutions. Don’t take our word for it - this is what Henrik Juul Nielsen, director of Technology & Innovation at Grundfos had to say:
“There are thousands of startups out there. Working with Valuer I’m confident that they can help us find exactly the startups that make sense for Grundfos to work with and be inspired from.”
There really are thousands upon thousands of startups popping up every day. And while many of them do offer value, they’re not all as efficient, forward-thinking, and simply put - promising. What’s more, certainly only a handful are truly relevant to an individual business, its technology, needs, and goals. This makes it difficult for companies and their scouts, tech & innovation, and R&D departments to sift through them all to find the startups that simply fit the best.
We’re fully aware of the short time and long list of requirements that companies and investors carry with them every day when they enter the market searching for new investment opportunities. That’s why our platform is designed to help in every single step of the scouting process. In addition to Cluster Maps, our platform offers other features that clients can take advantage of to improve their searches, find relevant, innovative solutions, get custom-made analytics reports, and even get notifications on industry news, trends, and market disruption.
To make things even easier, our “Valuer score” provides a numeric, quantitative value based on qualifiable data. In other words, based on qualities such as sustainability, innovation, growth, success, and maturity, we assign a score from 1 to 100 to each startup in our massive database.
Technology and innovation professionals are always looking to find sustainable partnerships with innovation value that could help drive their company forward. We saw that companies like Grundfos with great vision, potential, and resources choose to invest in innovation to help them evolve and become the businesses they aspire to be.
When searching for investment opportunities and partners, there’s no better place to look than startups. It’s well known that one of the biggest challenges for large, long-standing companies is growth, as after they reach a certain point, the main focus falls on maintenance. But to truly refresh a mature company’s vision and take it into the future, to shake up the status quo and remain relevant, looking for innovation among emerging startups is a must. And our platform is here to help companies like Grundfos do just that.