Success stories

University of Queensland, Bilexys, Wins Award In $US200k Imagine H20 Prize: Funding

Brisbane start-up Bilexys wins award in global start-up comp

By Michelle Hammond
Thursday, 22 March 2012

Brisbane start-up Bilexys has won the Pre-Revenue Track award in the $US200,000 Imagine H20 prize for water start-ups, held in San Francisco, receiving cash and in-kind services.


Bilexys was formed by UniQuest – the commercial arm of the University of Queensland – to commercialise wastewater technology developed at the Advanced Water Management Centre.


The Bilexys technology converts wastewater into high-value chemical products, including sodium hydroxide and hydrogen peroxide.


It can be installed as an add-on to existing wastewater treatment sites, producing chemicals at the point of use, eliminating the need for shipping and handling of chemicals.


The chemicals produced are potentially less expensive and have a lower carbon footprint relative to traditional chemical manufacturing techniques.


Last month, Bilexys was named as a finalist in the $US200,000 Imagine H20 prize for water start-ups, run by non-profit group Imagine H20, which is based in San Francisco.


This is the third year Imagine H2O has offered the prize, designed to encourage entrepreneurs to develop business opportunities from water challenges.


As a finalist, Bilexys received technical and financial mentorship from Imagine H2O, prior to making a final presentation to the judging panel.


The winners, chosen from a shortlist of nine finalists, were announced at a showcase event on March 20.


Paul Barrett, UniQuest commercialisation manager and Bilexys business development manager, says the start-up was honoured to be acknowledged by key drivers in global water innovation.


“Bilexys has... translated an invention in the lab to a prototype installed on a customer’s site,” Dr Barrett says.


“And also, through partnering with potential customers, we have developed a sound understanding of the business model required to deliver strong commercial returns.”


The Pre-Revenue Track prize – which includes cash and in-kind services, such as mentoring and advisory services – will help Bilexys to springboard into its next phase of product development.


It will also accelerate the transfer of the technology into the hands of customers.


According to UniQuest managing director David Henderson, the award highlights how university inventions can flourish as commercial opportunities.


“Bilexys is a great example of a university technology that has been developed to an investable opportunity,” Henderson said in a statement.


“It is also credit to the team, as their approach to market engagement has attracted customers willing to run pilot plants on their sites.”


“The support of industry leaders like Visy Paper... has also boosted Bilexys’s prospects of making a real economic and environmental impact on the way chemicals can be manufactured.”

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