Disrupting Plastic Recycling

Automedi Named Solution of the Year

(Boston, MA – November 3, 2022) The 2022 QBE AcceliCITY Resilience Challenge, hosted by Leading Cities in partnership with QBE Insurance Group, concluded today with the City Solution of the Year awarded to Automedi, the world’s first decentralized circular microeconomy converting plastic waste into community products at the actual point of use.

According to Greenpeace, U.S. households discarded 51 million tons of plastic waste in 2021, of which almost 95% ended up in landfills, oceans or scattered in the atmosphere. If this pattern continues, global plastic use and waste will nearly triple by 2060 with a meager increase in plastic recycling, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

By capturing waste when it is thrown out and turning it into commodity products, Automedi is committed to shaping new standards of care through health science innovation and paving the way to a more sustainable future.

“Congratulations to Automedi! We are pleased with your progress thus far in tackling one of our world’s biggest environmental problems and look forward to following your future innovations and achievements,” said QBE North America CEO Todd Jones. “Building more resilient and sustainable communities is at the heart of our QBE DNA. We are proud to sponsor this challenge with Leading Cities for the fourth year in a row and hope to continue this fruitful partnership for years to come.”

The $100,000 award was presented following a one-week intensive boot camp and panel evaluation from representatives of the QBE North America Board, Code for America, QBE Ventures and National League of Cities. The champion startup also will be the feature of the upcoming AcceliGOV program, where cities from around the world compete to win a pre-paid pilot program of this treatment solution.

“Thanks to QBE’s inspiring leadership and focus on resilience we have discovered and accelerated a solution to dealing with plastic waste. Plastic stays in our environment for ages, spreading toxins and threatening our wildlife, the environment and humanity as a whole,” said Mike Lake, President and CEO of Leading Cities. “Recognizing the dismal future our world faces if this plastic waste and pollution crisis continues is crucial to taking the necessary steps to preserving our planet.”

Automedi is more than an edge manufacturing platform – it is a leading circular plastics economy. The company makes functional products and services out of waste plastics via localized 3D printing, cutting out 98% of the CO2 of conventional manufacturing and supply chains by radically reducing the energy needed to manufacture and transport goods.

Automedi was one of ten finalists representing the world’s foremost urban technology startups among more than 550 companies that applied from 70 countries. The finalists presented their pitches to a four-person panel made up of Kristen Dauphinais, Non-Executive Director of the QBE North America Board; Abhi Nemani Founder of Code for America; James Orchard of QBE Ventures, and Stacey Richardson of The National League of Cities.

After a five-month vetting process, a two-month accelerator program and a virtual boot camp, QBE and Leading Cities announced the AcceliCITY Solution of the Year in a one-hour production featuring the pitches and highlights of the 2022 QBE AcceliCITY finalists.

“Winning the AcceliCITY prize is a game changer, not only for the team who put in significant effort during challenging times for our country, but the cities we will work with,” said Ethar Alali, Managing Director of Automedi. “Funded trials allow partner cities to take on an innovative, step change solution in Automedi. We mitigate the financial risks and deliver knowledge from research and innovation you simply cannot get from conventional market engagements or RFIs.”

Runners-up awards were also selected by QBE Insurance Group and Leading Cities with SAVRpak and Stormseal receiving a People’s Choice Award along with $25,000 of funding. SAVRpak helps double the shelf life of produce without chemicals while Stormseal developed a polyethylene film that heat-shrinks to securely wrap a damaged roof or structure.

The QBE AcceliCITY Resilience Challenge has quickly become one of the largest programs of its kind in the world and has demonstrated tremendous impact. AcceliCITY alumni have already raised upwards of $400 million, with many having since deployed their solutions in cities to improve the equity, resilience and safety of our urban centers.

At its core, QBE AcceliCITY lowers the cost of innovation for local governments as well as startups and corporations by streamlining the innovation and implementation cycles for smart and resilient city solutions. The QBE AcceliCITY program connects startup’s smart solutions directly with users and provides the proper channels and know-how to deploy in cities.

About the Finalists

  1. Plumis developed a fire suppression product – Automist – to improve fire safety and leverage technology to reduce damage that’s caused by slow-growing fires or traditional sprinkler systems.
  2. SAVRpak is a technology that helps double the shelf life of produce without chemicals, enabling a wider range of healthy foods to ship to food deserts and areas that may not have access to fresh food otherwise.
  3. EagleRidge Innovation uses a MicroPop high pressure solution to break apart the cells of waste created by sewage. This allows more of the waste to be eliminated at a wastewater treatment facility rather than shipping it to dumping locations and creates more nutrients that can be used as fertilizer with technology add-ons.
  4. RunWithIt Synthetics helps communities prepare for a variety of scenarios from extreme weather to equity. This company's 3D Synthetic City Simulations brings diverse stakeholders and experts together to produce decision support data.
  5. Automedi turns plastic waste collected by subscribers through smart bins into new, on-demand products via spools of 3D printing filament. Product orders from local businesses are fulfilled made-to-order through their e-commerce platform.
  6. Project Plastic developed the world's first affordable, portable, and environmentally friendly microplastic sequestration device designed to work in active rivers, called the Plastic Hunter.
  7. Zip Charge democratizes access to clean, low-cost energy wherever people need it – to charge an EV, to power the home, or access energy on the go. Their product GoHub is an innovative form of public infrastructure that combines charging, portable power, and energy storage.
  8. Smart and Sustainable Built Environment provides a smart, simple, and efficient planting technology to green indoor/outdoor surfaces where conventional planting is impossible.  
  9. Stormseal is a polyethylene film that heat-shrinks to securely wrap a damaged roof or structure. Unlike tarpaulins, Stormseal stays put until permanent repairs can be made, resisting wind, rain, and hail, and preventing further distress and costly damage.
  10. SDG Assessment’s web-based and mobile app helps small businesses and fast growth companies report sustainability, ESG & corporate social responsibility performance.

About Leading Cities

Leading Cities connects cities across the globe with innovations and insight to drive resiliency, equity, and sustainability. This is achieved by cultivating a global network of forward thinkers from the public, private, academic, and non-profit sectors as well as delivering advanced research, emerging trends and vetting solutions that will address urban challenges. The AcceliCITY program aims to de-risk innovation for cities by sourcing and vetting solutions that will answer their most pressing challenges. Additional information can be found at www.LeadingCities.org or by following Leading Cities on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

About QBE

QBE North America is a global insurance leader focused on helping customers solve unique risks, so they can focus on their future. Part of QBE Insurance Group Limited, QBE North America reported Gross Written Premiums in 2021 of $6.29 billion. QBE Insurance Group's 2021 results can be found at www.qbe.com.

Headquartered in Sydney, Australia, QBE operates out of 27 countries around the globe, with a presence in every key insurance market. The North America division, headquartered in New York, conducts business through its insurance company subsidiaries. The actual terms and conditions of any insurance coverage are subject to the language of the policies as issued. QBE insurance companies are rated "A" (Excellent) by A.M. Best and "A+" by Standard & Poor's. Additional information can be found at www.qbe.com/us or follow QBE North America on LinkedIn and Twitter.