- The enterprise from the Basque Country is in Phase II of SME Instrument and has just presented a LIFE project with support of the Finnova Foundation
- Bunt Planet is being supported by startup Europe Accelerator, the Finnova’s business accelerator
In a period marked by environmental awareness, SMEs like Bunt Planet are more necessary than ever. Since 2013 this company has created software capable of reducing water losses in drinking water distribution networks through Big Data and Artificial Intelligence. They have now signed a distribution contract with Siemens, whereby the German multinational will be responsible for marketing this software worldwide, thereby improving the sustainable water supply worldwide. It is essential for countries like Chile, Panama and Mexico.
Bunt Planet thus responds to one of the main objectives of the UN’s European environmental action and sustainable development for the 2018-2028 decade: resource efficiency, in this case, water efficiency. It is done by using the BuntBrain software, which has two modules: WaterMeters, to control water losses consumed but not billed for reading errors, and LeakFinder, that detects water leaks in pipes.
This innovative idea has led Bunt Planet to the 2nd stage of SME Instrument, in which innovation projects for SMEs with high potential are supported and product research, development and demonstration activities are financed. The company already received a Stamp of Excellence from the European Commission in 2015 for Phase I and another Stamp of Excellence in 2016 for Phase II, indicators of quality and the great potential of the project. The founder, Ainhoa Lete, emphasises the importance of European funds as the SME Instrument: “it has been a key aid for us. It has allowed us to demonstrate the advantages of applying artificial intelligence to reduce water losses in different regions of the world,” she said.
In addition, Bunt Planet has recently submitted a LIFE proposal with the support of the Finnova Foundation. The LIFE programme is the only financial instrument in the European Union devoted entirely to the environment. Its overall objective is to fulfil the environmental commitments adopted by the European Union in the Paris Agreement, as well as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, promoting innovative environmental and climate change policies and technologies. The current budget for 2014-2020 is 3.4 billion euros.
Juan Manuel Revuelta, Director of the Finnova Foundation, considers that the company has many possibilities to be scaled worldwide. “In addition to the SME Instrument and the LIFE Programme, they would be perfectly eligible for Fast Track to Innovation, the European Commission’s new pilot action under EIC Pilot Horizon 2020,” he said. The programme aims to reduce the time taken by an innovative idea to reach the market, stimulating the participation of applicants in EU funding programmes and increasing private sector investment in research and innovation. Non-repayable grants may vary from EUR 1-2 million up to EUR 3 million, if justified.