Seeking the top Nature-Inspired Startup for the $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize

MISSOULA, MT — October 29, 2020 — Applications are now open for the 2021 Ray of Hope Prize®, organized by the Biomimicry Institute in partnership with the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. This $100,000 Prize is awarded annually to the top nature-inspired startup, and applications are due December 4, 2020.

The Ray of Hope Prize shines a spotlight on up-and-coming startups and entrepreneurs that are leveraging biomimicry in business to solve major environmental and sustainability challenges. Past recipients of the Prize include ECOncrete Tech (Israel, 2020), Watchtower Robotics (USA, 2019), and Nucleário (Brazil, 2018).

“The Ray of Hope Prize program was a source for optimism and growth that really challenged us to think about a healthier and more resilient future, especially in this difficult COVID-19 period,” said Shimrit Perkol-Finkel, Co-Founder and CEO of ECOncrete. “The program drove us to think about ECOncrete’s mission as a biomimicry leader and about ways to spread the value of integrating biomimicry principles in different disciplines and processes in working toward achieving greater sustainability.”

In addition to the $100,000 grand prize, one participating startup will receive the $25,000 Runner-Up Prize, and an additional $25,000 will be split among the remaining finalist teams. Up to 10 startups will be selected as finalists for the prize by a panel of experts, including representatives from investment, sustainability, and biomimicrybackgrounds.

The finalist teams will also receive in-depth support and training for their science communication storytelling and access to a wide range of corporate and investment leaders. Participants in the program routinely secure additional funding support and see an increase in their sales pipeline. While funding is not a requirement to participate in the program, last year all of the finalists had secured more than $250,000 in funding (grants, equity, etc.) and less than $5 million in funding.

“Driven by science, The Nature Conservancy is working around the world to tackle climate change and protect healthy oceans, freshwater, and lands. Likewise, through the Ray of Hope Prize, the Biomimicry Institute is recognizing and rewarding the scientific innovations needed to address the most pressing planetary challenges,” said Deron Davis, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy in Georgia and one of last year’s Prize judges. “Ray C. Anderson left behind a legacy of environmental sustainability that his family is continuing for their home state of Georgia and beyond.”

To learn more and apply for the 2021 Ray of Hope Prize, visit


About the Biomimicry Institute

The Biomimicry Institute is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded in 2006 that empowers people to seek nature-inspired solutions for a healthy planet. To advance the solution process, the Institute offers, a free online tool that contains strategies found in nature and examples of ways they are used in design. It also hosts a Biomimicry Global Design Challenge and Youth Design Challenge to support project-based education; a Biomimicry Launchpad startup accelerator program; a Ray of Hope Prize® for developing companies to bring designs to market; and a Biomimicry Global Network that connects innovators across the world.

Media Contact

Lex Amore
Biomimicry Institute, Communications Director