Water Council taps AmFam Institute to support relaunch of BREW accelerator

The Water Council launched its second Tech Challenge
The Global Water Center building in Walker’s Point.

Last updated on October 9th, 2020 at 01:04 pm

The Water Council is partnering with the American Family Institute for Corporate and Social Impact to launch its revamped accelerator program BREW 2.0.

Although The Water Council will be running the program, AmFam Institute is sponsoring BREW 2.0 and plans to work with startups as they progress through the accelerator, said John McIntyre, managing director of AmFam Institute’s Social Investment Fund.

Earlier this year, the Water Council postponed the BREW’s 7th cohort after seeing a significant drop in the quantity and quality of its applicants. The Water Council reviewed the program and chose to make several key changes, including the length and focus of BREW 2.0.

“What we’re targeting with this new program is really more later stage companies,” said Dean Amhaus, Water Council chief executive officer. “These are companies that have gone through your traditional accelerator, advanced themselves and that really need to take that next step forward to scale up.”

Rather than a 3-month program, BREW 2.0 will be a one-week program held twice a year with a total of 15 startups participating. Applications will become available later this month with the program launching in February.

Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, BREW 2.0 will be held virtually. However, The Water Council plans to return to an in-person format the following year, Amhaus added.

Amhaus says the Water Council and BREW 2.0’s primary asset that it can provide to startups is access to southeastern Wisconsin’s network of water tech companies and utilities. After surveying past BREW participants, startups said building these relationships were the most beneficial aspect of the accelerator, Amhaus said.

In addition to customer and investor introductions, startups participating in BREW 2.0 will experience sales and growth programs and pitch opportunities. Once startups complete the program, The Water Council will provide additional training and access to resources to help startups grow.

“A lot of it is networking but a lot of it is programmatic about how do you help these young startup companies fill niches that maybe the bigger companies don’t have products for, get to know them and of course, funding is always a conversation,” McIntyre said. “These are all the things (Water Council) does well and BREW 2.0 is more focused on.”

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