Panel + Q&A (*Maximum 4 Panelists)

#H2Ogotsometalentbrewing – NextGen Impact in Water

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If you thought banking was bad, just look up “Pale, Male and Stale” in the dictionary and it really should just say “The Water Sector”. Following up on Imagine H2O’s standing-room-only panel on investing in water in 2019, meet the next generation of entrepreneurs putting capital to use in the water sector. This session will explore the challenges faced by entrepreneurs trying to have an impact in water, as well as providing context on the scale of the opportunity in protecting and increasing access to the fundamental molecule (particularly in a post-COVID world).


Prior to the session, IH2O will put out TikTok videos showing the biggest challenge each founder faces in achieving their impact (and on IH2O/SOCAP’s  other channels). Attendees will be invited to view the videos ahead of time to provide context to the conversation.


Water has been critical to our COVID response, and resilience of the water sector requires innovation, talent, and capital. Imagine H2O will set the scene with a brief summary of the data on how entrepreneurship in water has changed in the last ten years, and summarize the opportunity for impact investors as well as young founders seeking to have an impact in water.

The audience will then be invited to predict what they think the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs, and the biggest changes that need to happen in water, by voting for their top option from a list of 8-10 possibilities, (e.g. Access to capital, access to talent, long sales cycles, regulatory burdens, attitudes of customers, governance, public attitudes to water, water pricing, governmental price support)

Each invited NextGen founder (from Kenya, the US and the UK) will have four minutes to introduce themselves and their company, and present their video and one slide on the single biggest challenge they face in achieving their impact, and one slide on the biggest change they need to see to accelerate impact in water. We’ll see how it overlaps with what the audience thought! The IH2O moderator (Tom Ferguson, from last year’s opening session) will then select a theme from the opening comments and from audience comments to begin the conversation. 

At the close, the audience will then be invited to submit one way they can help the entrepreneurs (introductions, advice, insight, investment (!), deployment opportunities etc) in the last three minutes.


  • Introduction (Imagine H2O) – Providing the landscape on impact business creation in water in the last 10 years. (5 mins)
  • Audience Vote (2 mins)
  • Company intros, challenges and changes (12 mins)
  • Discussion (38 mins)
  • Audience Support Offers (3 mins)

Confirmed Panelists

Beth Koigi (CEO, Majik Water) – Beth Koigi is a Kenyan entrepreneur working to improve the access of water for off-grid communities. She is a co-founder of Majik Water, a company which aims to harvest drinking water from the air to serve communities across the world who are not able to access safe, clean drinking water. Beth was awarded the Young Water Fellowship in September, 2018, and was a shortlisted contender for the Royal Academy of Engineering Africa prize 2019.

Dr. Francesca O’Hanlon (Founder & CEO, Blue Tap) – Francesca is the founder of Blue Tap, a Cambridge, UK-based social enterprise that uses 3D printing to create accessible water purification technology.  Previous she was a water and sanitation engineer for Medecins sans Frontieres in India, Mexico, Central Africa Republic and South Sudan. She was a National Geographic Explorer Grantee 2018-2019. She holds a PhD from Cambridge University.

Seyi Fabode (CEO, Varuna) – Prior to founding Varuna, Seyi spent several years consulting with the leading utilities in the US and in emerging markets on their technology strategy and product development. This came after founding, raising venture capital, hiring an amazing team for and eventually selling Power2Switch, the leading retail energy marketplace technology company. Seyi has an MBA from the Booth School of Business at University of Chicago, and an MSc in Manufacturing Systems Engineering from Warwick University in the UK.

Tom Ferguson (VP, Imagine H2O) – Since 2015, Tom has run Imagine H2O’s global accelerator program, helping to build it in to the world’s foremost entrepreneurial program for founders in the water sector. Each year, more than 500 water entrepreneurs globally submit their business plans to the organization, with an acceptance rate of 5%. Accelerator companies are supported through entrepreneurial development, marketing & visibility support, and customer and investor introductions. Imagine H2O’s portfolio has received over $550m in investment, and improved the lives of millions of people worldwide since 2009.

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