CricketOne and GAFT win S$1 million prize each at The Liveability Challenge 2024


CricketOne and GAFT have emerged as the top winners at The Liveability Challenge (TLC) from a record-breaking number of more than 1,000 entries across 100 countries.

They each win S$1 million in catalytic funding at the grand finale of the seventh edition of TLC 2024, held at Ecosperity Week on Wednesday.

CricketOne, from Vietnam, is working on scaling up edible insects as superfood with a carbon footprint 100 times lower than beef. GAFT, from the Netherlands, is developing a carbon-negative sustainable aviation fuel by producing a carbon dioxide-based substitute to used cooking oils.

Presented by Temasek Foundation and organised by Eco-Business, TLC is a global crowdsourcing platform that identifies and helps innovative solutions to scale sustainably.

This year, the two solutions clinched the top spots in the Climate Change and Food and Nutrition tracks for their potential in climate change mitigation, forays in underinvested sectors, and credibility of ideas through extensive testing and pilot projects.

Following a rigorous selection process, the seven teams pitched their innovative solutions live to a judging panel of established investors at the grand finale. Beyond the grand prize of S$2 million (S$1 million for each winner), other prizes worth a total of S$500,000 were also awarded to the finalists [Appendix A].

Our planet has reached the key halfway point for its climate goals since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015. Bold action must be taken across society to rapidly decarbonise cities to reach the global target of reducing global emissions by 43 per cent by 2030 as an interim step to net zero by 2050.

The Earth’s changing climate is threatening ecosystems responsible for much of our food and those that life on land and in water depend on.

In 2018, TLC was launched with the aim of sparking a global hunt for innovative and sustainable solutions to the challenges faced by urban cities.

Today, TLC is Asia’s largest sustainability solutions platform offering the largest prize money. Since its first edition, TLC has attracted thousands of applications globally, identified 45 finalists, distributed more than S$10 million in funding to help start-ups who have gone on to raise hundreds of millions more.

This year, TLC collaborated with more than 80 partner organisations to crowdsource disruptive climate start-ups and solutions from around the world. Steering committees comprising experts from the relevant fields and industries were convened to select the best start-ups in each track.

The seven shortlisted finalist teams – GAFT, Green COP, Nandina REM, CricketOne, Terra Bioindustries Inc, tHEMEatCompany Pte Ltd and bound4blue – represent various countries including Singapore, Canada, The Netherlands, Spain, and Vietnam, and were shortlisted for their innovative solutions on climate change, and food and nutrition. The finalists also underwent a month of incubation and coaching to refine their pitches.

The judging panel was impressed with the teams' remarkable efforts in pushing the boundaries of cutting-edge science, coming up with business models that effectively tap on Singapore's clean-tech ecosystem and beyond, demonstrating great potential for global scalability and impact.

TLC’s strategic partners this year include AeraVC, Enterprise Singapore, OCTAVE Well-being Economy Fund, and TRIREC. Amazon Web Services was the event’s technology partner.

“The judges had a pretty challenging time differentiating between all the pitches. A unifying feature among all finalists was that everyone had worked on verifying market demand and launch products,” said Mr Nick Winstone, Founder and Managing Partner, Aera VC, who was part of the judging panel.

“I hope we can explore and unlock the functionality and characteristics of crickets, to go from a niche market to a mainstream market. We want to make cricket protein more acceptable to consumers and increase its number of applications across the industry. We believe that to sell the idea of food sustainability, we need to provide the market with something very tasty, something that they can consume regularly. Thank you for your support and for believing in us,” said Ms Bicky Nguyen, Co-founder and Business Development Director, CricketOne.

“As a sustainable aviation fuel startup, the issue that we are trying to tackle is the emissions associated with aviation. We really hope to scale up certain processes that we have, and then connect with some of the excellent companies and technological infrastructure in Singapore to have an impact here as well. Thank you very much for having us here and it’s great to receive this recognition. This presents a great opportunity for us,” said Mr Martin Spencer, Vice President of Business Development, GAFT.

“GAFT’s proposal of a new, low-cost feedstock for conventional production of sustainable aviation fuel criaddresses the current bottleneck of feedstock availability globally. It will pave the way for greater adoption of sustainable aviation fuel and significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the aviation industry. We are also thrilled by CricketOne’s high-quality, low-cost cricket-based protein that will have a carbon footprint 100 times lower than beef. This will help improve the availability of nutritious and sustainable food products for the global market,” said Mr Lim Hock Chuan, Deputy CEO of Temasek Foundation.

“Temasek Foundation recognises the importance of catalysing support for deep-tech climate solutions as well as disruptive food solutions. Our catalytic funding underscores our commitment to help innovators produce operational prototypes that are ready for investment by our network of investors. This will help the innovators commercialise their products to benefit our planet and people for generations to come. Our heartiest congratulations to GAFT and CricketOne!” Lim added.

"We congratulate the two winners today and all the finalist teams who pitched their innovative solutions at this year's The Liveability Challenge. The Challenge has gone from strength to strength since it was first launched in 2018 — with this seventh edition having received the highest recorded number of entries so far, it is clear that momentum is accelerating in the climate science and technology fields. These solutions cannot scale without funding, and this is why TLC exists — to match capital to the best solutions and to urgently provide catalytic capital to address our existential sustainability solutions,” said Ms Jessica Cheam, Founder and Managing Director of Eco-Business.

“TLC is ground zero for how decisions are made on how capital is allocated, and where the most promising start-ups get this booster shot to make their innovations a reality. We hope initiatives like TLC serve as a beacon of hope and underline the urgency needed to solve our climate crisis,” Cheam added.

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