Overview

The impact of climate change is being experienced at an accelerated rate. In the U.S., almost 40% of the population lives in high-population-density coastal areas vulnerable to sea level rise, leaving these communities at higher risk of flooding, shoreline erosion, and hazards from storms.

To address the growing demand for innovative solutions, RISE has designed a 12-month challenge program covering Hampton Roads, in coastal Virginia that is designed to support founders of startups and small- to medium-sized businesses solving the many problems that face coastal cities as a result of climate change. With 1.7 million residents, 10 diverse cities and 9 counties experiencing the highest rates of sea level rise along the East Coast, Hampton Roads presents a rare opportunity: An unbeatable living laboratory for the best climate resilience and adaptation technologies, along with the chance to make a positive impact quickly.

Selected teams will get to work closely with business, government, and tech leaders in Hampton Roads on pilots to validate and potentially commercialize their solutions across the region. Join our program to develop the next generation solutions that solve climate change’s many challenges.

Challenge Topics

Click on the blue icons to read about our Challenge topics around Flood Management Infrastructure, Protection of Buildings, Data Analytics and Re-establishing Critical Utilities. Four major pain points within these topics are highlighted below. Your solution doesn’t have to be limited to these particular pain points.

Eligibility, Awards & Timelines

For detailed information about the 2021 Coastal Community Resilience Challenge, please read the 2021 Applicant Guidelines. Still have questions? Check out FAQs or join our webinars.

ELIGIBILITY

  • You have to meet the definition of a small business, as defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration and found here, or be a non-profit entity.
  • Your business has to be able to deploy your solution in Hampton Roads, in southeastern Virginia, either by yourselves or by hiring a local partner.
  • Your solution has to be prototype stage or later.
  • If you are selected as a finalist, you will be required to submit additional documentation, including technical details of your solution, a work plan, and financial projections.

 

AWARDS

Resilience Innovation Fund

Applicants can apply for up to $350,000 in non-equity funding. RIF awards come in two forms: 1) Grants and 2) Revenue Based Loans.

Resilience Innovation Accelerator

The RISE Investment Committee may recommend making the award (or a portion of it) contingent upon refinement of a business plan and/or workplan. In such case, the winners may be required to participate in a 2-month Resilience Innovation Accelerator. Each winner will receive a $10,000 stipend for their participation.

Resilience Innovation Hub & Testbed

The winners will also gain access to a suite of Resilience Innovation Hub benefits including:

  • Co-working office space and programming at Assembly in Norfolk, Virginia
  • Fabrication and testing space in a co-working workshop space
  • Assistance with securing real-world pilot sites in one or multiple Hampton Roads cities
  • Datasets
  • Resilience experts from Hampton Roads municipalities and other regional stakeholders (e.g. NAVY, NASA, Port of Virginia, Hospitals, Universities, etc.)
  • Established resilience entrepreneurial community
  • PR opportunities and media visibility
  • Regulatory/compliance technical assistance and assistance with pilot deployment permits

TIMELINE

March 15, 2021
12:00 pm EDT
Application submission deadline
March 22, 2021 Finalists announced
April 5, 2021 Deadline to submit additional documentation, including technical details, a workplan, and financial projections.
April 19-23, 2021 Finalists pitches
May 3, 2021 Winners and awards announced
May 31, 2021 Deadline for winners to sign contracts
The week of June 7, 2021 Launch of the Resilience Innovation Accelerator & launch of projects
May 31, 2022 Deadline for projects implementation and contract closeout

*All dates are subject to change by RISE

Our Solution Builders

Headshot of Suzi Housley for StormSensor

“We would encourage startups and new technologies in the civic space to apply to RISE Challenges. Being part of RISE will give you access to interested and engaged civic partners from the start. RISE funding allows you to envision what an ideal deployment would look like, and it will give you the opportunity to put it into practice and test out that concept.”

Testimonial with headshot of Leonard Nelson

“The opportunity to work with RISE has been transformative for our business. RISE has a deep understanding of resilience problems faced by coastal communities, and in particular stakeholders in the Hampton Roads area. They provide additional perspective and networking opportunities (including with other RISE award winners) that we might miss as a commercial business focused on our existing customers and technology.”

Headshot of Juliette Murphy of FloodMapp

“Working with RISE has given us the opportunity to work with organizations and communities suffering directly from the problems we are solving. The RISE program is a great way to validate the problem, pilot your solution with real users and customers, and collect valuable feedback on your products as you commercialize them.”

April headshot from Re:Public with testimonial

“We would recommend RISE to any companies considering applying to future Challenges, they’re very supportive of the companies that they fund. The introductions RISE helped us make in Hampton Roads led to a pilot project in the region.”

Testimonial from StormSensor from Steven Cal

“Working with RISE has been an amazing opportunity for us. It is tough to be a startup selling to the public sector, which tends to be slower-moving, risk-averse, and needs to see an abundance of evidence and case studies to act. RISE has been more than helpful in aiding us through the process and connecting us to local leaders in the Hampton Roads region.”

Flood Management & Infrastructure

What We’ve Heard

 

Coastal communities seek innovative solutions for management of ground-storm-and/or tidal water, either as affordable short-term mitigations, or low-maintenance, longer-term options in a variety of environments with high water tables.

Below is a summary of needs identified by stakeholders in Hampton Roads and other coastal communities. Submissions do not need to be limited to these areas. However, to be eligible for funding from RISE, entrants must focus on a Hampton Roads need, while demonstrating the scalability to other communities. For more details about these and other pain points, please read the 2021 Applicant Guidelines.

  • Tidal backflow prevention.
  • Stormwater litter and debris control for outfalls, ponds and pipes.
  • Rainbomb flooding reduction.
  • Run-off reduction from existing parking lots and other large paved areas in high water-table areas.
  • Replacement of existing residential bulkheads with living shoreline.
  • Improved stormwater management in dense urban environments with low operations and maintenance costs.
  • Active watershed management and control for existing infrastructure optimization.
  • Application of augmented/virtual reality for resilience infrastructure installation, operations and/or maintenance.
  • “Rainbomb” detection, warning and applications.
  • Sand replenishment.
  • Shoreline protection.

Data Analytics

What We’ve Heard

 

Coastal communities seek innovative solutions to improve their ability to more effectively prepare for, respond to, and recover from disruptions.

Below is a summary of needs identified by stakeholders in Hampton Roads and other coastal communities. Submissions do not need to be limited to these areas. However, to be eligible for funding from RISE, entrants must focus on a Hampton Roads need, while demonstrating the scalability to other communities. For more details about these and other pain points, please read the 2021 Applicant Guidelines.

  • Increase knowledge and awareness of interactions between ground-, storm-, and tidal waters and their effects, and understand the economic impact of the use of this information.
  • Interface real-time and forecast of flooding information and other environmental hazards with new technologies in a near- to mid- term time horizon (e.g., smart city data, self-driving/autonomous vehicles and traffic control, augmented/virtual reality technologies, etc.).
  • Augmented/virtual reality applications for enhanced resilience infrastructure installation, operation, and maintenance.
  • “Rainbomb” detection, warning and applications.
  • Ground-, tidal-, and stormwater measurement networks.
  • Machine learning approaches to improve flooding forecast and mapping.
  • Innovative smartphone apps to enhance residents’ quality of life during acute and chronic (nuisance) stresses.
  • Improved awareness to adapt to flooding and other environmental hazards.

Protection of Buildings

What We’ve Heard

 

Coastal communities seek innovative solutions to maintain the viability of existing buildings facing different levels of flooding.

Below is a summary of needs identified by stakeholders in Hampton Roads and other coastal communities. Submissions do not need to be limited to these areas. However, to be eligible for funding from RISE, entrants must focus on a Hampton Roads need, while demonstrating the scalability to other communities. For more details about these and other pain points, please read the 2021 Applicant Guidelines.

  • First floor elevation mapping and integration.
  • Alternatives to raising existing homes up above the Base Flood Elevation. A modular building system that can be adapted to increasing flood levels; e.g., floor levels installed as planes that can one day be mechanically lifted.
  • “Rainbomb” detection, warning and applications to protecting buildings quickly.
  • Quick-reacting, affordable building protection for “rainbomb” (rapid, short-lived) flooding events.
  • 3-D printing applications for building protection and resilience infrastructure.
  • Innovative financial models to make building modifications and/or protections more affordable to building owners.
  • Augmented/virtual reality applications for enhanced resilience infrastructure installation, operation, and maintenance as related to buildings.
  • Adaptation retrofit techniques and/or materials.

Re-Establishing Critical Utilities

What We’ve Heard

 

Coastal communities seek innovative solutions to re-establish and maintain functionality of critical systems after an acute event to prevent cascading failures and degradation in the resilience of a community.

Below is a summary of needs identified by stakeholders in Hampton Roads and other coastal communities. Submissions do not need to be limited to these areas. However, to be eligible for funding from RISE, entrants must focus on a Hampton Roads need, while demonstrating the scalability to other communities. For more details about these and other pain points, please read the 2021 Applicant Guidelines.

  • Deployable critical utilities for major installations.
  • “Rainbomb” detection, warning and applications to protecting and/or re-establishing critical utilities.
  • Mitigating the risk of cascading failure in interdependencies among networked infrastructure that supports communities.

Urban Mobility

Objective

Submissions are closed

The RISE Urban Mobility Resilience Challenge seeks solutions to bring automated real-time flooding information to mobile apps and route guidance platforms. Guidance must be available to private drivers, commercial vehicles, emergency vehicles, and public transportation.

RISE will provide funding to small business-led teams to demonstrate real-time flooding guidance apps in Hampton Roads. Solutions proven successful in this region must also apply to other coastal cities and communities. Hampton Roads has proven to be well-suited as a demonstration testbed.

Description of the Problem

During flooding events, communities often experience significant disruptions to transportation. These disruptions affect private, commercial, and emergency vehicles as well as public transportation, detracting from local business’ viability and the quality of life of residents. Also, many coastal communities are home to significant private/public installations which are economic drivers in the communities. These organizations rely on the transportation infrastructure of the host cities to function, and disruptions to their functionality cause hardship to them and to the community. A large part of the difficulty in managing this issue is the lack of awareness of the location and severity of the flooding, and how to navigate around the hazards.

The advent of mapping and routing platforms for smartphones (e.g., Waze, Google Maps, Apple Maps, etc.), could provide drivers guidance around such hazards in real-time. However, automatically conveying temporally and spatially changing flood hazards to such applications for their route guidance systems in real-time is complex and has not yet been demonstrated.

RISE thanks its current and past Challenge partners for their technical expertise and guidance.