On the road to the AquaHacking Lake Winnipeg Final

Spread the Word

On June 17th, the AquaHacking 2020 Lake Winnipeg Challenge Semi-Final event took place. Given the impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Challenge events had to be adapted and delivered via virtual platforms. In the virtual Semi-Final event,  9 motivated teams pitched their innovative solutions. Five teams were selected to continue on to Phase 2 of the Challenge to compete for the $50,000 total in seed funding. Throughout Phase 2 of the Challenge, the 5 Finalist teams have been refining their solutions and developing their business plan with the support o a $2,000 bursary and access to a community of mentors. They are preparing to pitch their innovative solutions to a panel of 5 judges at the upcoming Lake Winnipeg 2020 AquaHacking Challenge Final event on October 20th.

Who from teams Typha, Winnipeg Wizards/Particuleye, Water Secure, LasIR Nutrient Technology, and Abbatek will win the top prize of $20,000? Join us on IISD’s Facebook page on October 20th, 4 pm CDT to find out!

Meanwhile, we invite you to learn more about these brilliant Finalist teams!


Alec Massé and Julien Koga are based in Winnipeg, MB. They have founded Typha Co to tackle the water issue related to watershed investment of the Lake Winnipeg 2020 AquaHacking Challenge. The team members’ skills complement one another perfectly: Alec studies commerce and entrepreneurship and has a passion for sustainability and Julien’s background is in biology, focusing on plant science. They will combine their expertise to use business as a force for good. Typha Co. is doing so by manufacturing eco-packaging products made from fibers extracted from cattail plants. Their innovative packaging product will offer an alternative to plastic packaging while also contributing to the fight against eutrophication in Lake Winnipeg, as cattails contain phosphorus and nitrogen that contribute to this phenomenon. This is a very audacious and ambitious project for these 2 friends who are also Franco-Canadians.

Learn more about Typha Co. through their website and watch this video!

Check out also some additional media coverage about them!

Winnipeg Wizards- Particuleye

The majority of the team members of the Winnipeg Wizards team are located in Winnipeg, MB. They are a diverse team of students, academics, and young professionals in the fields of engineering, computer science, and business. They have a shared desire to make a positive impact on environmental issues that affect Lake Winnipeg and other water bodies in Canada. Given their unique combined skill set, they are confident that they can develop a product to combat microplastic pollution. This is why they have developed “Particuleye”: a portable automated detection device that uses machine learning to classify and quantify microplastics for use in commercial, academic, and citizen science contexts. We can already see great opportunities for the application of this tool and potential collaboration with some members of the AquaHacking Alumni community!

Learn more about Winnipeg Wizards and their Particuleye technology in this video.

Follow them on LinkedIn.

Water Secure

Based in Regina, SK, Water Secure team members Arslan Azeem, Tinsae Alemu, and Noor Tajik are students dedicated to building healthy communities, a sustainable future, and supporting the universal right to clean drinking water. With their respective backgrounds, they are working towards solving issues encompassing water quality control, national water security, population health in remote communities, open watershed investment data, and stronger communications for activists. This is the foundation upon which their tech solution, Water Secure, was developed. Water Secure helps address water quality testing issues thanks to a series of localized testing hubs that affordably track water quality and upload results to a live water map. Given the team’s experience as members of Enactus Regina, team Water Secure is well supported to move forward with their project.

Learn more about Water Secure through this video.

Visit their website.

LasIR Nutrient Technology

Meet Bentley Turner and Meagan Smith from team LasIR Nutrient Technology, both students in the Faculty of Science at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB. As the youngest Finalist team of this cohort, they are combining their passion for environmental science and technology to create a tech solution and startup business that will ultimately help protect Lake Winnipeg and support Manitoba farmers. Their solution, LasIR Nutrient Technology, is an agronomic decision-making tool using ATR infrared spectroscopy techniques for onsite soil analysis. They are bringing precision to farming techniques with their tech innovation.

Learn more about LasIR Nutrient Technology through this video & this article, and follow them on Instagram!


Meet this interdisciplinary team of grad students and young professionals who met during the challenge. Combined, they have expertise in environmental sciences, hydrology, business development, and policies. AbbaTek is developing a tech solution to fight microplastic pollution with their innovation called “Compound Connect”.  Compound Connect is a complete suite software as a service (SaaS) package that will revolutionize microplastics research by leveraging state-of-the-art machine learning and artificial intelligence for researchers to quickly, accurately, and cost-effectively identify microplastics in water samples to support improved water management and policy.

Learn more about them through this video. Discover the profile of one of the team members here and follow them on Twitter!

Meet the Final event judges!

Thank you to our esteemed panel of judges. Bringing their business, tech, science, and environmental expertise, they have the ultimate role to rank the Lake Winnipeg 2020 AquaHacking Challenge Finalist teams and their solutions based on the:

  • Technical functionality;
  • Business model strategy;
  • Product market fit;
  • the value of the solution on end-users and environment, and;
  • Quality of their presentation

We wish the best of luck to all the teams in the lead up to the Lake Winnipeg 2020  AquaHacking Challenge Final event. We look forward to seeing them pitch, receive their awards, and jumpstart their startup development adventure alongside the AquaHacking Alumni Program and their incubation process.

Join us on October 20 on IISD’s Facebook page at 4 pm CDT to meet and support them.