Updated: Apr 8
This post was written by Adam Tank, our Director of Software Solutions, who has spent 10+ years in the water industry in innovation roles.
Uber. Airbnb. Pinterest. Snapchat. Slack. Square. Stripe… it feels like we’re bombarded by news of a newly minted ‘unicorn’ almost every single day. And it's frustrating as hell. For those unfamiliar, a unicorn is a technology startup (typically hailing from Silicon Valley) that is valued at over $1B. Over the years I’ve watched these tiny upstart companies aiming to ‘change the world’ go on to become behemoths and create billions of dollars in value for their investors and employees. But are they really changing the world? How do these billion-dollar headlines translate into a better planet? I can’t help but feel like something has always been missing from the unicorn equation, especially as it relates to actually making the world a better place. But the equation finally changed on February 24th, 2021, when Innovzye was acquired by Autodesk for $1B. The Innovyze announcement went unnoticed by 99% of people. But it means everything to 100% of people - including you. You need to know about it. Way more than you need to know about any of those ‘sexy’ startups that grab all the headlines. Why? Imagine three days in a big city without Uber. You’re alive. Maybe annoyed, but alive. Imagine three days without Snapchat or TikTok. Gen Z may feel like it’s life or death, but life will go on. Now imagine three days without any water. Your organs start to shut down, and you’re dead within a week. For context, I’ve spent about ten years in the water industry in technology & innovation facing roles. I led General Electric’s venture capital work in water. I then founded and built a water robotics company in silicon valley that was bought by a publicly-traded water company. I’m now an operator and advisor of water startups aiming to make a dent in the massive liability to humanity that is the crisis of our failing public water systems.
And this is the first time, EVER, that a software company specifically built for water was acquired for a billion dollars. So I get a little worked up about these things :) It’s the first time in my life I’ve been proud of a unicorn headline. A headline that means big companies and investors are finally taking note of the financial and societal benefits of startups building solutions to solve the world’s most challenging problems related to fundamental human needs - needs like energy, transportation, and food.
In other words - cleantech is finally getting unicorns!
The water unicorn, Innovyze, aims to solve the world’s toughest challenges related to water accessibility and affordability with software. Autodesk is #1 market leader, by far, for people that design our infrastructure. Autodesk’s market reach coupled with Innovyze’s water software brings sustainable water solutions to the masses - doing good and creating massive economic value at the same time; a truly world-changing outcome.