UT team won world’s largest cleantech business idea competition

On 8 October 2016 the ClimateLaunchpad finals took place in the Tallinn Creative Hub and the best European starting clean technology start-ups were awarded. The winner was the Estonian start-up Gleather which originates from UT and produces leather-like material from gelatine.

The winning team members are Kaido Siimon, who just defended his doctoral degree in materials sciences and is also the author of the idea, master’s student in Entrepreneurship and Technology Mari-Ann Meigo, bachelor’s student in Materials Sciences Märt-Erik Martens and master’s student in Materials Sciences Mart Salumäe.

The judges said that the decision was unanimous and praised Gleather’s clear stage presentation and solid business plan. The founder of Gleather Mari-Ann Meigo also believes that their victory came thanks to hard work and a detailed business idea. “Also, we are working on a subject which addresses everyone, therefore, compared to some more abstract solutions, our idea is easily understandable,” said Meigo. According to a member of the jury and director of Estonia’s most successful cleantech start-up Skeleton Technologies Taavi Madiberk, the competition this year was very strong and notably diverse. Some ideas stood out with their financial and environmental potential. Gleather is also among these: “The stakes are very high and taking the company to the next level is a great challenge but the presentation was excellent and their clearly defined market shows that Gleather’s real potential is one of the biggest among the companies that performed today,” commented Madiberk.

Among those striving for the nearly 20,000 euro prize fund and the desired access to the Climate-KIC Accelerator programme was another UT team which made it to the finals—WildAr who has developed a web platform that makes it easier to analyse environmental conditions and find clean solutions for planning of road construction. WildAr team includes Jaanus Remm and Maryna Pashchynska. UT Entrepreneurial Advisor and advisor of the winning teams Aivar Pere was very happy about the success of Gleather and WildAr and said that implementing knowledge-based know-how is what innovation is all about. “Once again we can say that the research and entrepreneurial ecosystem of our university produces solutions which matter to the world. Our entrepreneurial researchers and students are the assets of development for UT and Estonia as whole,” he added.

The European finals of ClimateLaunchpad brought 87 best start-up companies from 30 countries to Tallinn for two days. Second place went to Sponge (Turkey) and third place to Chrysalis (Great Britain). The top three receives a monetary prize and the ten best teams can join the Climate-KIC Accelerator where there are experienced mentors and investors who help them grow their idea into a real world-changing cleantech company.

ClimateLaunchpad is dedicated to creating a more environmentally friendly world and thanks to the international competition programme hundreds of teams from all over Europe join this mission. “It only takes 100,000 start-up companies to stop climate change and ClimateLaunchpad gives its small but significant contribution,” said founder and CEO of ClimateLaunchpad Frans Nauta at the opening ceremony of the finals.

The organisation of ClimateLaunchpad in Estonia was supported by Climate-KIC, the Estonian Ministry of Environment, the European Union, Tallink, Tehnopol, PAKRI Science and Industrial Park and others. The event’s main organiser in Estonia is Startup Estonia which is funded from the European Regional Development Fund.

Additional information:

Aivar Pere
UT Entrepreneurship Advisor
737 4810

Virge Tamme Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
Mobile: +372 5815 5392 E-mail: virge.tamme@ut.ee