Water Executive Summit


Summary of Summit

Water, as a precious and finite resource, is arguably a more intense problem than energy and yet, despite evidence of much interest and activity around water innovation, investors await a clear, indisputable, track record of successful returns, and the rest of us await a cohort of truly disruptive players and business models. As more than one corporation has put it to us, “where is the Airbnb of water?”

In a mini-Summit format – fast-paced, discussion-based, and intimate – we set out to identify what the current and emerging opportunities might be; whether water can be a beneficiary of the new US administration’s commitment to infrastructure spend and a push for jobs; and whether water can shake off its “red-headed stepchild” status in the “cleantech” portfolio and emerge in the 2020s as a star performer, by making positive impact in planetary terms and in realized investor returns.

In our search for opportunities, the commonality across our sessions is in the idea of looking for opportunities where water has intersect-points – with other pain points or drivers, with other technology types, with other resources (like energy) and with finance.

We believe these may be where the best opportunities exist, and where innovation can build momentum. Come see if our “conversation starters” and our participants agree.

In this Summit-style format, hosted within the larger Cleantech Forum San Francisco, our “conversation starters” are speakers/panelists who help spark the discussions. We actively encourage people not just to come and listen, but to contribute and participate. All can speak. The Summit is deliberately sized and intimately-formatted to encourage interaction, informality, and collaborative idea-sharing.

Seats can be requested by registered Forum attendees, with a set number of places to be available for those who wish to attend only this part of our Forum. Contact us at forums@cleantech.com today for more information.


Summit Agenda

9:45 AM – 10:00 AM Welcome & Opening Words from the Co-Hosts

CTG’s CEO Richard Youngman, along with our co-hosts, FATHOM and Veolia, will welcome guests and provide some opening context.


10:00 AM – 10:15 AM Thoughts for 2017+: Opportunities & Challenges in Water Infrastructure

We will open the Summit with some scene-setting macro-thoughts. In particular, we will focus on providing some thoughts on flashpoints impacting water opportunities: a Trump presidency, the infrastructure gap, climate stress and emerging solutions and business models to address critical needs.

Conversation Starter:

  • Reese Tisdale, President, Bluefield Research


10:15 AM – 11:15 AM The Power of Data to Unlock Opportunity 

This session will be seeded with some of the latest thinking from various innovation companies that are using the power of data and analytics to solve customer issues. We will hear from our cohost, FATHOM, on their use of data to unlock capital in cash-starved utilities, including imagining what the future holds for innovation and disruptions within their sector. We will also hear from Apana, an innovation company using data to reduce water usage in the C&I space. Additionally, we will hear about how Mapistry is using data to help companies comply with industrial stormwater regulations and other challenges relating to stormwater. All of our conversation starters are unlocking new opportunities with the power of data, and will speak to how data can be applied to solve real customer issues relating to water.


  • Tom Ferguson, VP Programming, Imagine H2O

Conversation Starters:

  • Trevor Hill, CEO, FATHOM
  • Allie Janoch, CEO, Mapistry
  • Matt Rose, CEO, Apana


11:15 AM – 11:30 AM Break


11:30 AM – 12:15 PM Identifying Global Opportunities at the Intersects of Water & Industrial Pain Points

Industries’ fortunes can wax and wane, and with it – historically anyways – commitment to its innovation and sustainability initiatives. The issues of water are intense for the extractive industries (Oil and Gas, Mining, etc.) but with profitability of these industries at very low ebbs (and no change likely in the foreseeable future), perhaps there are more lucrative and more open doors for providers of water solutions? Within the pharmaceuticals and chemicals companies, for example? Or perhaps better, to focus on serving those with consumer-facing brands (e.g. food and beverage, clothing, electronics companies). Or maybe leverage the risks the insurance world faces around water to develop different business models and alternatives ways to get paid?

Our “conversation starters” are chosen for being innovators of solutions that do or could serve multiple industrial verticals. What are they seeing as the most promising industrial intersect points with water today, and how might that change in the coming years?


  • Richard Youngman, CEO, CTG

Conversation Starters:

  • Johann Clere, Open Innovation Director, Veolia
  • Jonathan Rhone, CEO, Axine Water Technologies
  • Abhishek Shrivastava, Sn R&D Manager, Dow Water and Process Solution, The Dow Chemical Company


12:15 PM – 1:15 PM Lunch


1:15 PM – 2:15 PM Water Resilience in 21st Century Operations Strategy: Urban Water Re-Use

As water supplies dwindle, urban water infrastructure crumbles and severe weather becomes a factor in today’s operations, businesses and communities are deploying technologies that can ensure 24/7 uptime. A growing group of cities and businesses are leading the development of highly differentiated and distributed models for future urban water systems. This session will look at the example of on-site water re-use in urban centers, showcasing San Francisco’s new policy demands for on-site water re-use for large new buildings in the city and its implications for solution providers, as well as looking further afield at the international opportunities, especially in the densely populated and ever-growing cities of Asia.


  • Laura Shenkar, Principal, Artemis Water Strategy

Conversation Starters:

  • Attila Bodnar, Co-Founder & EVP of Business Development, Organica Water
  • Eytan Levy, Co-Founder, Managing Director & CEO, Emefcy
  • Nicole Neeman Brady, President, Edison Water Resources
  • Bill Worthen, Founding Principal, Urban Fabrick


2:15 PM – 3:15 PM Emerging Opportunities: Investor Viewpoints

A range of different investor types have kindly agreed to share with us how they view the emerging opportunity sets around water. They will be asked to both react to, and pick up on, what they have heard in the prior sessions of this Summit. What have they agreed and disagreed with so far, and why?

And beyond the prior subjects of this Summit, the moderator will tease out from them (and hopefully other investors in the room, too) additional viewpoints on some fundamental questions.

  • Does water scarcity genuinely represent an unprecedented technology investment opportunity – and if so, how much longer do we have to wait (and for what)?! Or are greater opportunities in water centered on energy efficiency and resiliency?
  • Is there even an opportunity-set fit for the traditional venture capital model, or are investors better off (for now, at least) focusing on the infrastructure play, and financing scale-up via M&A and project finance?
  • What kind of financial innovations are going on – are investors adapting third-party finance vehicles from solar to distributed water projects, for example? Where in the world are the strongest investment opportunities – geographically and sub-sectorally?


  • Laura Shenkar, Principal, Artemis Water Strategy

Conversation Starters:

  • Bill Brennan, Managing Director, Ultra Capital
  • David Henderson, Managing Partner, XPV Water Partners
  • Peter Kennedy, Managing Director, CLSA Capital Partners
  • Chris Larson, President & CEO, New Island Capital


3:15 PM+ Closing Words and Wrap

Once the formal agenda has finished, participants will have plenty of time for milling and mixing, to develop conversations further informally, and to meet and swap cards. Beyond the Water Summit, you are welcome to join the closing of the Cleantech Forum San Francisco:

  • 3:15-5:00 Closing Plenary, entitled “Policies and Politics, Probabilities and Possibilities: What issues should we pay attention to, what can we change?”
  • 5:00-6:00 Closing Reception



Thank you to our Co-Host:

FATHOMLogo_RGB_Large Applications


Thank you to our Community Partners: