Noria Sustainable Innovators: Combatting Plastic Pollution
Every year, tons of plastic waste find their way into waterways, posing a grave threat to aquatic life and ecosystems. Rivers are crucial conduits, transporting plastic from inland areas to the open sea. In this light, Noria Sustainable Innovators is a startup that develops methods and techniques to deal with plastic waste close to the source of pollution. They believe that by catching the plastic as early as possible, they stop plastic from ending up in the sea, thereby having less chance of harming animals, the environment, and our health.
A steady start
Co-founders Rinze de Vries and Arnoud van der Vaart met at their full-time job. They connected and had many conversations during the weekly Friday afternoon drinks. After a year, they asked their employer to work part-time, so they could attribute the other half of the week, their evenings and weekends, to validating their idea, with the help of the YES!Delft Validation program. During that period, they immediately found some customers, which soon enabled them to work full-time in their startup.
“During my studies, I wanted to find an impactful job to improve the world. So when I met Rinze and his idea to clean domestic waterways, I deeply felt that this was a cause I fully wanted to commit to.” – Arnoud van der Vaart, co-founder of Noria Sustainable Innovators.
Monitoring and cleaning waterways
Noria Sustainable Innovators is an environmental service that helps clean water and nature from plastic. They work for the governmental institutions: Rijkswaterstaat, water authorities, municipalities, and provinces. Noria’s unique approach is to clean up the water as close to the source of the pollution as possible. They believe it is the most cost-effective and scalable way to remove plastic from the water. At the same time, they provide insight into where plastic enters the water and how it transports. Noria installs cameras, then uses AI to analyze that data, which gives great insight into the origin of the pollution. That is important because the problem can be dealt with quickly.
“We don’t think of other companies as competitors. Rather, the plastic in the water is our competitor. It’s quite an idealistic aspiration, and we all have the same goal. However, Noria has a unique approach we believe is most effective.” – Arnoud van der Vaart, co-founder of Noria Sustainable Innovators.
Business operations and future steps
During the validation lab, co-founders Rinze and Arnoud learned to focus on the problem first to determine how to optimize their solution. They did so by speaking to many potential customers so that they could come up with the needed techniques. After the validation lab, co-founders Rinze and Arnoud continued with the Accelerator program, where they learned how to lead a business. They also had an office in the YES!Delft building for 1,5 years, which was valuable for their network and business.
Because Noria Sustainable Innovators found customers quite early in their journey, thanks to the outcome of the YES!Delft Validation lab, they started without any financing. However, though their complete solution is affordable, they use hardware to monitor the waterways. That means an initial investment is needed to get started. So, to provide the hardware, they got funded by the Water Innovation Fund. So, to provide the hardware, they got funded by the Water Innovation Fund, which is a fund that Hoogheemraadschap Hollands Noorderkwartier finances.
Noria Sustainable Innovators is ready to scale up. They have six proven techniques in both monitoring and removal of plastic litter. In the Netherlands, they aim to monitor the entire Wadden coast and then want to expand to the Danish and German Wadden shores. They are also working on two big European projects as one of the partners, where they can use their monitoring techniques. Meanwhile, they are exploring opportunities to expand to more countries. In conclusion, Noria Sustainable Innovators takes steps daily to clean up our waterways and improve the world for humans and animals.
Your dream can become a reality too. As long as you want to make a change, don’t miss the opportunity to boost your start-up by joining the YES!Delft Validation Lab or Accelerator Program. However, if working for a start-up resonates more with your ambition, we got you! Check out the vacancies on our YES!Talents page!