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The 4th Climate Adaptation StartUp Ranking


Rising waters, rising risks.

Imagine a city along a beautiful river.

Just like a rogue wave crashing over a seawall, floods can be sudden, destructive, and leave a lasting impact. They're a growing threat in our changing climate, with more frequent and intense downpours putting communities on edge. The threat of climate change and the poor European preparation, analysed by the European Environment Agency, even made it to the prime time news in Germany (Tagesschau on March 11th 8:45min onwards).

We're facing a formidable foe – rising sea levels, overflowing rivers, and overwhelmed drainage systems. The consequences of rising flood risks (see SwissRe report) are devastating for humans and the economy – displacement of ever more people settling in high-risk areas (see NATURE research) in parallel to property damages and infrastructure failures summing up to 7% of GDP in Europe (see Reuter article on March 13th ). 

This month's adaptation startup ranking, dives into solutions how to advance flood resilience

After heat and drought, this ranking´s edition is highlighting 5 innovative startups, that are developing ingenious solutions against flood. We showcase a diverse array of approaches, from cutting-edge data-powered flood modeling, over early-warning systems, to physical adaptation solutions - both for real estate and rural areas. These advancements are like life preservers, offering businesses, public institutions and communities alike a fighting chance against the deluge.

Based on the valuable feedback from many of our newsletter readers, I am eager to once again showcase the remarkable creativity featured in this edition! We are inspired by the potential for climate adaptation, which is why we'll revisit the riverside city towards the conclusion of this newsletter, bringing our journey full circle with renewed hope and insight.

1. Fathom

Bringing the opportunity to understand the very local risk of flood in every part of the world. That is the vision of a company based in the UK, called Fathom. The cornerstone of Fathom is a global flood map, which offers a remarkable resolution of 30 meters worldwide and enables a precise understanding of flood risks by using geodata. Its multi-peril approach covers flood risks from different water bodies and coasts. In addition, Fathom's models take into account existing flood protection structures and use computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to realistically simulate flow dynamics. Integrated climate scenarios make it possible to estimate future risks. Fathom's flood maps provide users with different levels of data such as flood depth and extent, facilitating informed decision-making and risk management strategies. Without knowing what is going to happen, there is no chance to adapt in the right way, so Fathom's innovation brings us the ability to answer right, on the right spots. 

2. Watr Tech

In addition to the direct innovations in flood adaptation, there are indirect players that play a crucial role: those that collect the data needed for all the deep tech solutions you have 

heard of. Watr Tech, based in the UK, manufactures measuring devices to detect sea level and wave patterns in coastal areas, as well as track water levels, precipitation, and weather conditions. The measurement results obtained here are significant for flood early warning systems and location-based flood models. Thus, you can call this sector the silent helper in the background, the one you don't see but without which the whole thing simply does not work. With Watr, we are mentioning another part of the whole chain of a finished solution, because all these data-based technologies need data from outside if there is no internal collection system. 

Fighting water with water, this is what Nofloods, a startup from Denmark, makes it possible. Nofloods offers a variety of flood barriers, with their inflatable barriers being the most popular one. This kind of system helped effectively during the Northern German floods in early 2024. Water is pumped into the tube, and it can reach a length of more than 1000 meters (3280 feet). Nofloods offers communities an easy and fast way to protect their properties and people. The company has proven its reliability in multiple showcases. Municipalities at risk shall take a look to protect farmers and hold the rivers in their beds.

The damage from floods can quickly rise up into billions (In February 2022, the Pakistan flood damage was estimated up to 30 billion dollars, calculated the World Bank). With these numbers in mind, we know we should make our houses, industrial properties, shops, or supermarket resilient. Savannah Trims, Inc provides everything you need to make your place safe. From flood doors, which look like normal doors, to flood barriers over flood-safe windows. With the products from Savannah Trims, Inc, you can make your business resilient or protect your home and your family against upcoming floods. In their 40year history, it was never more relevant, than now.

5. AEM

AEM, based in Maryland USA, empowers communities to overcome the forces of nature. Their AEM Elements Platform offers risk coordination, real-time monitoring (sensors, satellites), environmental change modelling, and adaptation strategies. AEM stands out with expert knowledge, innovative technologies (AI, Big Data), and tailored solutions. Their impact is felt worldwide: early warning systems for Bangladesh, infrastructure improvements in New York after the storm Sandy, and supporting numerous North American communities with climate adaptation. With the cost of climate change adaptation rising, the question is: Can we afford to remain inactive? AEM is a key contributor to a more resilient future. 

You remember the city from the beginning? Let´s try to rewrite the story of flood risks:

The sun slowly set over the city as residents prepared for a quiet evening. But suddenly, the warning app sounded, indicating extreme weather expected to wreak havoc in the surroundings. A heavy thunderstorm, accompanied by strong rainfall, causing the river to swell rapidly. The city's residents feared the worst, knowing that their community was vulnerable to flooding. Amidst these ominous signs, there is hope. A group of innovative startups have taken on the challenge of minimizing the impacts of floods and protecting the communities from the destructive forces of water. These startups focus on various aspects of flood control, from early warning systems (AEM) and modelling (Fathom) based on reliable data (Watr Tech). Eventually, the flood protection structures (Nofloods) kept the flood out of the city. And the affected houses in the outskirts were prepared individually (Savannah Trims, Inc). Have a save night.

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