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2021 QBE AcceliCITY Resilience Challenge Finalist

BOSTON, Oct. 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The 2021 QBE AcceliCITY Resilience Challenge, hosted by Leading Cities in partnership with QBE North America, concluded today with the City Solution of the Year awarded to Pharem Biotech, an innovative cleantech company with a highly efficient and sustainable approach to water treatment.

Pharem was one of ten finalists representing the world’s foremost urban technology startups among more than 500 companies that applied from 44 countries. The finalists presented their pitches to a five-person panel made up of Jeff Merritt of the World Economic Forum; Katja Schäfer of UN-Habitat; Truett Tate, Chairman of the QBE North America Board; Eleni Myrivili of the Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center; and Daniel Wypler of QBE Ventures.

After a 5-month vetting process, a 3-month curriculum and a virtual Boot Camp, QBE and Leading Cities announced the City Solution of the Year in a one-hour production featuring the pitches and highlights of the 2021 QBE AcceliCITY finalists.

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 in excess of $200 million, with the program’s first champion securing a successful sale of the business and cities gaining access to innovative solutions from around the world.

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

  • Eco Panplas: Contaminated plastic packaging recycling without using water and without producing waste.

  • FortyGuard: FortyGuard is an urban cooling system that utilizes city data to mitigate expanding heat emergencies at local levels.

  • Full Cycle Bioplastics: Full Cycle’s PHA is the lowest cost, lowest carbon alternative to oil-based plastics in the global materials market.

  • Horizon State: Horizon State is a secure, anonymous and incorruptible digital ballot box that transforms voting and community engagement.

  • Infiltron: Infiltron is your 24/7/365, proactive, real time, IoT cybersecurity expert integrated.

  • Lup Colombia: Harnessing the economic potential of glass waste while delivering social value and environmental benefits.

  • Omniflow: Omniflow’s mission is to have a positive impact in the world, avoiding CO2 emissions and expanding digitalization.

  • Optimus: Optimus upgrades large diesel engines to operate at near-zero carbon emissions using 100% biodiesel enabling low-cost net zero carbon today.

  • Pharem: Pharem have successfully combined advanced enzyme development, material development and immobilization methods to create a highly flexible water treatment material.

  • Trainfo: TRAINFO provides AI-powered hardware for smart cities to prevent traffic delays and accidents at rail crossings.

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 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 what matters most. Part of QBE Insurance Group Limited, QBE North America reported Gross Written Premiums in 2020 of $4.775 billion. QBE Insurance Group’s 2020 results can be found at

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 property and casualty insurance subsidiaries. The actual terms and coverage for all lines of business 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 or follow QBE North America on LinkedIn and Twitter.

See full press release here.

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