water leak detection
system by Watchtower
Robotics wins the
2019 $100,000
Ray of Hope Prize®

The Biomimicry Launchpad is an accelerator program that helps early-stage entrepreneurs bring nature-inspired solutions to market.


Why Apply?

The Launchpad provides entrepreneurs and changemakers with the resources they need to launch and grow successful biomimicry businesses, accelerates the development and commercialization of biomimicry innovations, and helps create the next generation of sustainability entrepreneurs. Each year, Launchpad teams are eligible to compete for the $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize®, sponsored by the Ray C. Anderson Foundation, a $25,000 second prize, and additional cash prizes.

This program is currently closed to applications, but sign up below to be notified when a new application round opens.

2019 Ray of Hope Prize®

At the end of each Launchpad cycle, one team is awarded the $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize, endowed by the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. This prize is awarded to the most viable Launchpad prototype that embodies the radical sustainability principles of biomimicry and Ray’s name.

2019 winner

WatchTower Robotics

Boston, Massachusetts


You Wu, Tyler Mantel

Watchtower uses a next-generation, flexible robot to inspect water pipes, locating leaks for utilities to easily fix. The strategy is to build a robot that is like a squid or gecko; it leaves behind a piece at every leak it finds in an underground water pipe. This piece has a beacon effect that allows maintenance crews to locate it with wireless scanners from above ground, pinpoint the location of the leaks, and know where to dig and fix them.

Launchpad Mentors

Greg Horowitt

Co-founder, T2 Venture Creation, Kauffman Fellow, co-founder of Global Connect, UC San Diego

Puja Batra, PhD

Principal, Batra Ecological Strategies

Lindsay James

Principal, Chrysalis Strategies

Brian Jessup

Brian Jessup

Director of Partnerships, Startup San Diego

Funders & Partners

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