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Meet the SBIO Semi-Finalists

The Sustainable Brands Innovation Open was rewarded this year by a strong pool of entrants. Seven semi-finalists have been selected by our judges, together with an eighth voted in by the public through Good Maker. Our semi-finalists represent several areas of sustainable interests: energy conservation, an investment in organic processes, reusing and recycling, and internet technology.

Internet technology might not seem on the face of it to be a particularly sustainable interest, but what matters is in how it is put to work and we have several semi-finalists who do noteworthy efforts here. One is KeyWifi. KeyWifi promises a way to safely rent out your wifi to whom you want, when you want, enabling you to offset your costs as well as helping make the internet more accessible. Solar Mosaic is an online marketplace where through crowd sourcing, people and organizations can invest in solar projects. Solar Mosaic is a channel that also streamlines financing, underwriting and contracting, providing an infrastructure to support the construction of solar projects that in turn provide returns to their investors. The Mutual currently offers its social enterprise product in New York City. They connect individuals and corporations, and their intention to do the sustainable good, with real results. Subscribers are rewarded with perks from great brands for donating to environmental charities.

SBIO'13 will be launching in the Spring. Visit to read more about this year's event and sign up for SBIO updates.

The sustainable mainstays of reusing and recycling are represented by PlanetReuse Marketplace, powered by InvenQuery, and our Good Maker Winner, Sea Level. If you’ve ever wished you could re-purpose usable building materials that would otherwise be destined for a landfill, but you didn’t know where to find them, PlanetReuse Marketplace can help. They offer a single, cohesive location where listings for such goods can be inventoried, searched and purchased. Chicago’s Sea Level has developed the FlightFit – an in-flight plastic cup constructed from post-consumer plastic material. With a creative solution to offset the additional cost of using recycled materials, the organizers behind the FlightFit seek to eliminate 7 million plastic bottles from the waste stream per month that stem from the airline industry.

Improving and expanding the usability of organic products and processes are the companies Ecofiltro and Agrilab Technologies. Over 90% of Guatemala’s lakes, rivers and streams are contaminated by fecal bacteria, so that much of the population must either purchase bottled water or risk insufficiently purifying water from natural resources by boiling it. Ecofiltro offers an affordable clay-based filter that can be produced in every developing country, and it requires no electricity to purify contaminated drinking water. The technology Agrilab provides enables users to capture and divert the heat (putting it toward, for instance, heating water) produced during organic decay, yielding both valuable compost and a reduced dependence on fossil fuels or the energy grid.

Finally, we have three companies representing the interest of energy conservation – two that have been discussed before (Solar Mosaic and Agrilab Technologies) and a third, Bike and Park. With locations already in Cincinnati, Chicago, and Santa Monica, Bike and Park aims to provide tools and support in order that more people can commute by bicycle to work or for pleasure. Their outreach ranges from working with employers and municipalities to help them become more bicycle-friendly, to offering guided tours, bicycle storage, equipment rental and repairs, and even showers and lockers at their main facilities.

We thank all of the entrants for their creativity and hard work, and for taking the time to participate in our competition. Thanks also go to the community for supporting their favorite brands through Good Maker, and our judges for their time in selecting the other seven semi-finalists. Congratulations, and best of luck as you move forward!

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