There has been lots to celebrate for a number of former Green Challenge family members this past month! Time for a short overview:



Amsterdam-based local borrowing platform Peerby raises $2.1 million. Peerby was founded by Daan Weddepohl, who won 100,000 in the 2012 Postcode Lottery Green Challenge. The investment round is led by French XAnge Private Equity. Netherlands-based Sanoma Ventures invested for a second time. TechStars and angels from Canada and the United States also invested. Dutch founder Daan is going to use the funds for product development and and international growth, with a specific focus on the United States.
Peerby is a website and app that enables you to borrow the things you need from people nearby. Members and transactions are growing exponentially since the launch in September 2012. With 100,000 users Peerby has mature communities in the Netherlands and Belgium, London, Berlin, and is currently emerging in eight US pilot cities. Next year Peerby wants to be available in 50 US cities.


On Wednesday November 5th, the Netherlands was the first country in the world where lights were powered by living plants. At exactly 5:20pm CET, the lights were switched on in Ede-Wageningen, home to the innovative young company Plant-e that was founded by Marjolein Helder, one of the 2011 Green Challenge finalists. Five minutes later the old ammunition site Hembrug near Amsterdam followed. The municipalities of Ede and Wageningen and the Central Government Real Estate Agency (owner of Hembrug) are Plant-e’s first customers and have switched on the lights that are powered by a modular plant-system, separate modules in which the technology is integrated and plants can grow. Next to the modular system Plant-e is working on the development of a tubular system which will make the technology suitable for large scale applications. Eventually every wetland can be used as “powerplant” while the landscape stays the same.


Vandebron is the first online marketplace for sustainable energy in the world. It enables people to buy their power directly from a sustainable producer. The company sees itself playing an important role in the transition to an autonomous energy supply. Aart van Veller, a trusted and long-time Green Challenge preliminary jury member, is one of the founders.
On November 19th, Vandebron won the Join Our Core competition in London, where jury member Jerry Greenfield (Jerry of Ben & Jerry's) said: "It's great to see you take on big energy companies". And the very next day, they alse won the TeamVenture Team award '14. Congratulations!


CarbonScape is a carbon-refining company that uses forestry waste to make Green Coke and other substitutes for fossil fuel products. Green Coke replaces traditional coke, which is a form of high-quality carbon made from mineral coal used to fuel furnaces during the steel making process. Nick Gerritsen, one of the founders, was runner-up in the 2012 Postcode Lottery Green Challenge. CarbonScape is currently doing a round of equity crowd-funding, and have already raised $486,300 NZD of their 400,000 target. More information can be found here. Great news!


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $295,579 to Ecovative Design, LLC, of Green Island, New York, to continue its development of a cost-effective green alternative packaging. Evocative Design was awarded the grant through the EPA’s highly competitive Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program competition, which encourages small businesses to explore and develop environmental technologies from concept to commercialisation. Ecovative was co-founded by Eben Bayer, the winner of the 2008 Green Challenge. They make eco-friendly packaging, building materials and automotive products using materials that have a low environmental impact and are 100% biodegradable and renewable. The company grows their materials from agricultural byproducts and mycelium, a fungal network of threadlike cells that are like the roots of mushrooms. In 5 – 7 days, in the dark, with no watering, and no petrochemical inputs, the mycelium digests the agricultural byproducts, binding them into a structural material. The mycelium acts like a natural, self-assembling glue.

Congratulations to all of you, great to hear you're all doing so well!!