We believe that startups leveraging scalable technology are the key to solving some of the world’s most pressing problems.
That’s why we’ve created the Impact100 - an annual list of the world’s most promising impact startups.
You could say a lot about them, but it's basically this: 100 ideas that can change 1 000 000 000 lives. The companies on the list have all been nominated by Norrsken or our nomination committee.
Many of them will fail, that’s just the nature of things.
But what if they succeed?
What if, we could help every household transition to green energy?
1Komma5 provides installation services for solar, electricity storage, and charging infrastructure, enabling private households and small companies to dispense with the use of fossil fuels.
What if, we connect small-scale farmers with agricultural experts over the internet?
AgroLeague is building an agronomic monitoring platform designed to hep farmers transition to regenerative farming. The platform enabling farmers to communicate directly with one another, ask questions and benefit from the recommendations of the team's agronomists.
What If, We Use Carbon Captured From The Air To Create Food?
Developer of a meat alternative technology intended to create protein out of ordinary carbon dioxide. The company uses a novel technology to make protein from elements of the air and includes no hormones, pesticides, herbicides, or GMOs, and uses substantially less land and less water than other meats, making it the most sustainable meat available. The company's process is not dependent on weather or geography and can be made virtually anywhere on the planet.
What if, large corporations could go green and energy-independent by building their own solar parks?
Solar energy development and consultancy business intended to support large corporations' transition to clean energy.
What if, we design electric motorbikes for taxi drivers in emerging countries?
Manufacturer of electric vehicles and charging systems for taxi drivers in Africa, providing clients with a sustainable alternative that is cheaper to buy and operate than petrol motorbikes.
What if, we create crops that clean the air as they grow?
Seeds that use microbes instead of fertilizer to capture nitrogen, thereby preventing CO2 emissions.
What if, we store surplus energy in really, really hot blocks of carbon?
Delivering zero carbon industrial heat and power to stop climate change.
What if, we deploy satellite data to help small-scale farmers maximize their crop yields?
Developer of an agriculture platform that uses agronomic machine learning, remote sensing, and mobile technology to help farmers in developing countries grow their businesses.
What if, we mimic the behaviour of plankton to purify water cheaply and at scale?
Water purification technology designed to produce pure water at low energy cost, enabling a huge number of people to get access to clean drinking water who need it the most.
What if, we could slow down climate change by growing edible superfoods?
Edible algae that removes CO2 from the air as it grows.
What if, we build a cutting-edge digital finance platform for small-time businesses in Africa?
A digital platform that helps small businesses in Africa manage their finances, without any prior accounting skills.
What if, we could make second hand gadgets the first hand choice?
Developer of an online refurbished goods marketplace designed to promote the use and sale of refurbished electronic devices.
What if, we use a blockchain to protect the world's poorest from fraud?
Blockchain to validate supply chains and protect the world's poorest from fraud and identity theft.
What if, we build a credit ratings agency for carbon offsets?
Building a ratings system for carbon credits that brings greater understanding of offset risks and help scale the market.
What if, we use digital therapeutics to treat insomnia and anxiety?
Big Health is using digital therapeutics to expand access to non-drug alternatives for mental health.
What if, we could turn sewers into public health observatories?
Wastewater analysis tool designed to extract data from urban waterways to generate public health data.
What if, we could predict and prevent serious medical problems with the help of data science and wearables?
Using data and machine learning to help clinicians predict and prevent serious medical events.
What if, we make people buy less clothes by creating better detergent?
Developed a retergent that removes pilling, lint, garment fuzz, and bobbles from the surface, which improves the colour brilliance which encourages users to purchase less clothing.
What if, we could make every apartment block run on solar energy?
Helping housing associations make the shift to solar at no up-front cost.
What if, we could use plants instead of petroleum to make the stuff we need?
Producing plant-based alternatives to petroleum-based products.
What if, we could save lives by making cheap and energy-efficient cookstoves available at scale?
Producing and Distributing affordable, highly efficient cookstoves to bring clean cooking solutions to low-income families.
What if, we use big data to find cancer early?
Accelerating early cancer detection using the latest technologies.
What if, we create a social network dedicated to learning?
AI-based education platform for adaptive learning & social learning networks.
What if, we could treat depression, anxiety and insomnia with a smartphone app?
Cerebral is providing comprehensive mental health care with therapy, counseling, and medication.
What if, we could save water by retrofitting old farmland equipment with internet connectivity?
A system to retrofit old farmland irrigation systems with IoT connectivity, giving farmers real-time monitoring and automation to save water.
What if, we ensure freight trucks never travel with any empty space?
A shipping platform that optimizes empty space in freight trucks.
What if, we build a digital platform to help small-scale farmers grow their businesses?
Building a platform for supply chain and production management in the farming sector, providing Indian farmers with advisory, access to financial services and access to markets throughout the year.
What if, we make fish feed out of captured greenhouse gases?
Developer of clean and renewable carbon and energy sources to create ingredients for a more sustainable food system.
What if, we use drones to re-plant forests quickly and efficiently?
Environmental technology for ecosystem restoration at scale.
What if, poor communities could use the sun to make their own freshwater at scale?
Developer of a device using solar energy to purify water from any source, enabling people in coastal and water-stressed areas to become water independent.
What If, We Could Have Both Eggs And Chicken Without Any Real Chickens?
Vegan eggs made from mung beans and chicken meat from cultured cells.
What if, we use drones to help birds spread seeds around the world?
Creates seed balls to spread seeds around the world through drones to fight the global climate crisis.
What If, We Replace Freight Trucks With Electric, Autonomous Robots?
Manufacturer of road transport vehicles designed to provide advanced transportation services which can be remotely controlled by drivers, enabling users to enjoy the emission-free, safe, cost-effective and sustainable freight mobility.
What if, we build roads that charge electric vehicles as they go?
A holistic charging solution for all electric vehicles, to use while driving or parked. The system can be used to build charging infrastructure such as electric roads, charging stations and opportunity chargers at stops and loading bays.
What If, AI Could Make Us More Inclusive?
Uses AI coaching and data analytics to help businesses improve their diversity, equity, and inclusion through meetings (self-awareness & tips to increase equality). Raised pre-seed round in Dec-21.
What if, tenants could build credit score by being on time with rent payments?
A credit building platform helping low-income customers gain access to previous inaccessible financial services.
What if, we build a digital platform to help small farmers access large markets?
Developer of a digital farming platform helping smallholder producers grow their business and buyers to secure sustainable sourcing.
What If, We Grow Wood In A Lab Instead Of Cutting Down Trees?
Platform for growing wood and related materials in a lab to minimize cutting trees.
What if, we could rust and de-rust iron to store energy cheaply and at scale?
Developer of sodium-based energy storage system designed for renewable energy projects. The company's energy storage technology replaces fossil baseload generation with renewable energy to successfully reduce carbon on a global level, providing businesses with cost-effective and multi-day energy storage alternatives.
What if, we could make steel using electricity and water?
Operator of a steel production plan accelerating the decarbonization and through large-scale fossils-free steel production at a competitive price.
What if, we could produce the fuels of the future using only water?
Developer of hydrogen production technology designed for wide-scale adoption of sustainable hydrogen-based fuels.
What if, we could fly regionally with electric airplanes?
Manufacturer of electric airliners intended to reduce costs in fuel and maintenance of traditional aircraft.
What if, we could trap greenhouse gases in rock and store them underground?
Developed a scalable model for direct-air capture by trapping CO2 inside rock. Widely tipped as one of the most promising technologies for large-scale direct air capture.
What if, we made all our new clothes from old clothes?
Infinited Fiber helps convert textile, cardboard and agricultural waste to new natural fiber, enabling manufacturers to reduce the usage of new virgin materials.
What if, we give every individual on earth a path to net zero?
Dynamic carbon emissions tracking application designed to mobilize collective climate action.
What if, AI could help patients self-manage their chronic health conditions?
Developer of an artificial intelligence powered healthcare application designed to consolidate healthcare data in one place. The company's application supports people with chronic health conditions like asthma, migraine, depression, bipolar disorder, or chronic pain through a smartphone or other wearables, environmental data, and self-reported data, enabling users to self-track and manage symptoms and efficiently manage their health.
What if, we apply AI to blood samples to detect almost every human pathogen.
Karius is using genomics and AI to advance infectious disease diagnostics.
What if, we give the world's poor access to modern digital banking?
A digital banking platform designed for savings and credit cooperatives in emerging countries, enabling modern online and mobile banking experiences for their members.
What if, we could clean the air by making trees grow faster?
Bio-engineering trees to grow 40% faster.
What if, we make clothes that reverse climate change?
Developer of carbon-negative materials intended to permanently capture CO2 and actively reverse climate change. The company's materials are customizable, formable and recyclable, enabling real estate developers, architects and cities to achieve their climate targets.
What if, we do mammography over the internet for women in poor communities?
Mamotest operates a telemammography network intended to reduce deaths from breast cancer by democratizing early diagnosis.
What if, we could make fashion transparent and accountable?
Platform designed to support responsible material sourcing, connecting retail apparel and footwear companies to find the right materials and suppliers.
What if, we grow animal fat in labs to make better-tasting meat substitutes?
Using cellular agriculture (“lab-grown meat”) to produce animal fat and meat products. Have raised ~$30M and have produced products.
What If, We Could Convince Mosquitoes To Stop Spreading Diseases?
Developer of a sustainable technology to defeat vectors, whether they are carrying deadly diseases or are just inconvenient for people, pets, livestock, and crops.
What if, we use silk proteins to stop food from going bad?
Silk-based protective layer that keeps food fresh longer.
What if, we replace leather and plastics with plant-based alternatives?
Natural materials to replace synthetic clothing/footwear.
What if, we make cream cheese and burgers from mushrooms?
Nature’s Fynd is using versatile fungi-based proteins to create delicious, nutritious, and sustainable foods.
What if, we used AI to make drivers drive more safely?
Nauto is using AI to make driving safer and smarter.
What if, poor communities could buy better food together, at lower cost?
Nilus helps distribute healthy food at discounted prices to low-income communities by streamlining supply-chain inefficiencies.
What if, we could harness green energy to make all the batteries the world could ever need?
Operator of lithium-ion battery plants producing eco-friendly, low carbon, batteries for electric vehicles.
What if, we build an app to ensure food is shared, not wasted?
Food-sharing application designed connect neighbors and local retailers to overcome the problem of food waste and transform society.
What if, we test cancer treatments on tumors grown on computer chips?
PearBio recreates, visualizes and analyses how cancer progresses to find effective therapies for each patient.
What If, We Could Make Chocolate Without Cocoa?
QOA produces organic chocolate that is free from cocoa and unsustainable production practices, enabling consumers to satisfy their chocolate cravings without the bad stuff that usually comes with it.
What if, we could get limitless, clean and free energy by digging really, really deep holes?
Developer of mining and drilling technology designed to help access deep geothermal energy, enabling clean electricity and high-grade heat energy on a global scale.
What if, we could recycle old electric cars into new electric cars?
Developer of a sustainable battery recycling technology designed to optimize circular supply chains for turning waste into profit. The company's technology recycles and processes scrap from battery cell production and consumer electronics like cell phone batteries, laptop computers, power tools, power banks, scooters, and electric bicycles, enabling clients to build the world's electric vehicles and energy products through the creation of circular supply chains and effectively benefit and get key raw materials back into the battery supply chain.
What if, we could slow down climate change by putting seaweed on the ocean floor.
A global ocean health company with operations focused on rebalancing the carbon cycle, decarbonizing global supply chains, and revitalizing coastal communities. Current systems include ocean health measurement, carbon removal, sustainable shellfish, and coastal restoration.
What if, drugs can be checked for safety via the cloud?
An IoT-platform designed for authenticating drugs in real-time, thereby enabling real-time tracking of counterfeit and dangerous drugs.
What if, we leverage community buying power to give everyone access to solar?
Community solar power.
What if, we make the chemicals we need from sugar, not petroleum?
Makes chemicals from custom enzymes and renewable feedstock. It uses dextrose, a simple sugar, and in the future it aims to convert carbon into useful products like building materials and formaldehyde-free resins.
What if, we convince microbes to help us grow better plants?
Provider of hydraulic enhancement products for crops designed to improve harvest yields and water use efficiency across a variety of crops. The company's products show higher field trial yields under both irrigated and dryland conditions, compared to untreated control plots, enabling farmers and growers to improve agriculture by tackling some of the challenges that they encounter.
What if, we give everyone fast, reliable internet access via satellites?
Developer of rockets and spacecraft designed to realize the goal of making life multi-planetary. The company designs and manufactures reusable space launch vehicles for the transport of cargo, humans, and payloads into space with features including an attached trunk, a parachute system, multiple engines, and oxygen-based propellants, enabling clients to experience and benefit from affordable spaceflights.
What if, we could save energy by dunking datacenters in blue ooze?
Developer of a cooling technology for the data center industry. Servers use half the power consumption of a traditional, air-cooled environment, thereby enabling clients to utilize the energy efficiency and prevent pieces of equipment from damage.
What if, we create recyclable, degradable packaging that looks and feels like plastic?
Manufactures bio-degradable and recyclable packaging products designed to replace plastic.
What if, we could transition all taxi drivers in emerging countries to electric vehicles?
Three Wheels United provides financing services to electrify the auto-rickshaw market, enabling drivers to improve their income, decrease their environmental footprint and reduce their expenses.
What If, We Could Create Real Milk Without Animals??
Developing cells that produce real milk.
What if, we could make the chemicals we need from carbon in the air instead of carbon in the ground?
A modular system that slots into existing supply chains to capture CO2 from emissions and create chemicals from it instead.
What if, we build a device that lets patients perform common medical checks at home?
Developer of a telehealth platform including a hand-held, all-in-one tool for examining the heart, lungs, skin, ears, throat, abdomen, and body temperature, enabling patients to perform remote exams and diagnose many common ailments.
What if, we could grow all our meat in a lab?
UPSIDE Foods is reimagining how meat is made by harvesting it from cells instead of animals.
What if, we could give everyone the same shot at higher education?
Developer of an online learning platform designed to prepare Indian students for competitive exams, enabling aspiring students and promoting self-learning.
What if, we could capture CO2 from the air with electricity?
System for direct air carbon capture that can be enabled electrochemically by applying a current to a material.
What if, we could save energy by separating chemicals with membranes rather than heat?
Membrane that can be used in industrial processes to replace thermal separation processes, saving energy used for such processes.
What if, we use satellites to plan out electricity grids in the world's poorest areas?
An earth observation and AI-powered custom software that enables data-driven investment, business and policy decisions in rural villages in Africa and Asia.
What If, We Make Second Hand Clothing The First Hand Choice?
An online marketplace where users can sell and swap second-hand fashion.
What if, we use digital therapeutics to help women through menopause?
Developer of digital therapeutics designed to offer evidence-based interventions for menopause symptoms through personalized care and tailored treatments.
What if, we build a digital marketplace for developing countries to manage, share and request blood?
Wala Digital provides hospitals and blood banks with a digital platform for ordering, receiving and managing blood and blood products.
What if, we build a cutting-edge digital health platform for the largest country in Africa?
Building a healthcare and pharmacy marketplace for disease care, specifically targeting malaria, enabling patients to access malaria tests, drugs, and consultations in a convenient and affordable manner.
What If, We Could Make Sushi Without Killing Fish?
Pioneering cellular agriculture to grow delicious cuts of our favorite seafood - no fishing or fish farming required.
What if, we enlist AI to help restaurants reduce food waste?
Sustainable waste-management system for restaurants focused on reducing food waste.
What If, We Could Farm Enough Insects To Feed The Entire World?
Ynsect farms and transforms insects into livestock and pet nutrition, providing farmers and domestic animal-owners with sustainable nutrition by tapping the natural goodness of insects.
What if, we make oil from sugar instead of from vegetables?
Manufacturer of sustainable oils and fats intended to end the food industry's dependence on destructive vegetable oils.
What if, we build airplane engines that run on hydrogen and electricity?
Building hydrogen-electric airplane engines.
What if, we use drones to deliver medicines to far off places?
Provider of an automated drone delivery service intended for the distribution of blood and other medical supplies. The company leverages proprietary fixed-wing drones to facilitate deliveries of vaccines and medicines to hospitals and health centers, empowering the medical community and patients in remote areas with instant access to vital supplies.
What if, we build cheap and simple solar systems to make anyone, anywhere energy independent?
Building solar and off-grid products, new payment methods, and distribution models in order to reach the unelectrified.
What if, we build robots to help small-scale fish farmers with feeding?
Operator of an IoT-based platform for fish- and shrimp farmers, including automatic fish feeders, intended to reduce social and economic inequalities.
What if, we replace portable diesel generators with portable batteries?
Instagrid builds portable battery storage units that enable professionals and individuals to replace highly polluting petrol and diesel generators.
What if, we could clean the water in fish farms by growing food in them?
A distributed production model for a high-protein water crop that leverages existing fish farm infrastructure for scalable food production, while simultaneously cleaning waters.
What if, we teach coding to combat poverty?
Provider of an online and full-time software development training program designed to sharpen IT skills and find jobs globally. The company is an online school for remote software developers where students master their coding skills and do not pay anything until they land a job, thereby enabling students to become professional remote software developers on a global scale.
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The Impact100 is an annual list of the world’s most promising impact startups, compiled by Norrsken and our nomination partners.
It exists to highlight the power of entrepreneurship to drive positive change, and to celebrate the individuals brave enough to try and change the world for the better.
In other words: It’s 100 ideas with the potential to change 1 billion lives. Pretty cool, right?
The Impact100 is created by the Norrsken Foundation. It is compiled from nominations made by our partners. This year, we collaborated with Acumen, The Obama Foundation, Katapult, Unreasonable, Softbank, Leaps by Bayer, Footprint Coalition, Summa Equity, World Fund, SEIF, Trellis Road, Early Bird Venture Capital, BMW Foundation and others.
Glad you asked! Norrsken is a non-profit, non-partisan and non-political foundation, with a strong belief in effective altruism. It was founded in 2016 by Niklas Adalberth, co-founder of payment services unicorn Klarna.
Our mission is to help entrepreneurs solve the world’s greatest challenges. To do that, we’re hard at work building an ecosystem where founders can find the capital, knowledge and network they need to make saving the world their business.
We run Norrsken House in Stockholm, Sweden, Europe’s largest hub for tech and impact startups, and Norrsken House in Kigali, Rwanda, the largest startup hub in Africa. We incubated Norrsken VC - a $130 million impact VC fund investing in the best entrepreneurs that solve global challenges using technology, and Norrsken22, a $200 million growth fund backing exceptional entrepreneurs building Africa’s new tech unicorns. We also manage the Norrsken Impact Accelerator, Europe's leading Accelerator program for early stage impact startups.
An impact startup is a fast-growing company where positive impact forms an intrinsic and non-negotiable part of the business model. We are particularly interested in companies that leverage scalable technology to solve global problems.
We define impact as driving meaningful and measurable progress towards one or several of the UN global development goals.
If you want to learn more about how we define and measure impact, check out Norrsken VC:s annual Impact Report at norrsken.org/about.
The Impact 100 consists of:
*Impact companies, meaning companies where positive global impact is an intrinsic and non-negotiable part of the business model.
*High-risk, high-potential ventures that aim to leverage scalable technology to do business and drive positive impact.
*Businesses with a scalable business model and a proven ability to combine growth with positive global impact.
*Companies that have delivered at least an MVP product to market and/or raised at least seed/series A-funding.
*Impact is defined as driving measurable, positive progress against the 17 sustainable development goals.
*The Impact 100 winners are the companies that the jury believe have the most potential to grow into impact unicorns - companies whose work will positively impact the lives of 1 billion people.
The list itself is without ranking, but there are awards in different categories. This year, the categories are Shining Star - for companies valued at above 1bUSD - and Rising Star - for companies valued at below 1bUSD. The winner will be revealed at an awards ceremony held as part of Stockholm Impact Week.
The winners are chosen by the Impact100 jury. The members of the 2022 jury are: Niklas Adalberth, founder of Norrsken Foundation, Matt Miller, partner at Sequoia Capital, Ulrika Modéer, UN assistant secretary general, Amit Bouri, CEO of Global Impact Investing Network, Carl Manneh, co-founder of Mojang, Srishti Gupta, ex-director at McKinsey, Nonkululeko Nyembezi, chairwoman at Standard Bank and Jacqueline Novogratz, founder of Acumen.
It’s hard to say! It might be that our team looked at the company and decided it wasn’t right for the list. Or - it might not have been nominated at all. We’ve done our best to source as many relevant nominations as possible, to cover a wide spectrum of companies, problems and solutions. But there will of course be cases we’ve missed, and calls made where you’ll disagree with us.
If you’re a startup founder - don’t hesitate to let us know if you think you deserve a spot on the list. Or - if the Norrsken ecosystem can support you in any other way: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our team evaluated more than 500 nominations this year.
Glad you like it! We’re always looking for more partners to help us source relevant nominations and give the Impact100 companies the attention they deserve. Get in touch and we’ll make something cool happen. email@example.com.