Winning Idea: Wattle Socks Waddle Away as Circular Austin Showcase Winner
By: Bailey Grimmett
Just last week, Austin Resource Recovery and the Economic Development Department hosted the City’s first Circular Austin Showcase, an online pitch event focused on circularity and the environmental efforts of local businesses. We brought 10 “circular” businesses and/or entrepreneurs to a virtual stage for a one-night pitch event to showcase their businesses and ideas. Circular businesses make products (or offer services) in ways that reduce waste, support a greener and healthier city, and contribute to Austin’s zero waste goal.
For example, during the event, we heard from a company pitching baby bow ties made out of unwanted fabric samples and another pitching beverage coasters made out of spent grain from a local distillery. Very different products, with very similar zero waste goals.
During each pitch, a panel of judges listened in, took notes and scored the contestants based on a variety of criteria including business viability, fundability, waste and economic impact, local job creation, and pitch delivery. After hearing 10 companies pitch, only one was selected as the winner and recipient of a $3,000 cash prize. You can watch the pitches here. And the winner is...
Locoal pitched a new sustainable product known as “wattle socks” (patent pending), made out of spent grain from a local distillery. The end product, or “wattle sock,” helps capture toxins from storm-water runoff and prevents water erosion. By successfully keeping valuable and reusable materials out of the landfill and putting them to better and higher use, Locoal is a circular company with big plans to reduce waste and help the environment in more ways than one.
"Growing up in Austin, I've watched as the community has stepped up and participated in the cleaning and greening of our city. There is a great network of caring and true action, which is a breath of fresh air, pun intended!” said Matthew “Petey” Peterson, Locoal founder. “However, it's going to take more support from the community with the help of the City of Austin, and the Circular Austin Showcase was a fantastic way to raise awareness for real impact while also providing educational and financial support for startup businesses."
Inventors Matthew “Petey” Peterson and Seth Nyer of Locoal will receive a $3,000 cash prize and a year of bragging rights as winners of the first Circular Austin Showcase.
Congratulations to Locoal and the nine other companies that pitched in the Circular Austin Showcase.
The Circular Austin Showcase is a new program created by the City of Austin’s Circular Economy Program, which launched [RE]verse Pitch in 2015, providing more than $70,000 in cash and in-kind prizes to date. The Circular Austin Showcase is focused on connecting local investors and circular economy entrepreneurs and business owners. It aims to help Austin reduce waste, create a cleaner environment and grow the local circular economy.