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20 Jul

New World’s Impact Kommons and DBS Hong Kong Propel Social Impact Startups
Unveil i2Cool as DBS Business for Impact Prize Winner
Innovative Cooling iPaint Accelerates Green PropTech Development

For the third consecutive year, Impact Kommons, Asia’s first United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs)-focused accelerator programme founded by New World Development, has teamed up with DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited (“DBS Hong Kong”) to support startups with a social mission and impact. Among the seven startups in the fourth and latest cohort, Hong Kong-based i2Cool was crowned champion at the Impact Kommons pitching competition 2023 for its innovative radiative cooling technology, taking home the DBS Business for Impact Prize. Its patented technology iPaint has been successfully deployed at New World Development construction sites to reduce electricity usage from air conditioning and accelerates Green PropTech Development.

Founded in 2019, Impact Kommons welcomes a new cohort of startups with socially and sustainability solutions that fulfill UNSDGs every year. It provides a business integration programme, during which startups can showcase their innovative solutions to different New World Group business units and seek for collaboration opportunities. DBS Hong Kong, serving as the Impact Partner, has been instrumental in supporting Impact Kommons' vision of advancing the startup’s development. 

In its fourth edition this year, Impact Kommons welcomed seven startups from Hong Kong, Singapore, and the US in the programme’s final pitching competition. Outshining fierce competition, i2Cool was crowned as the winner with its iPaint innovation and received DBS Business for Impact Prize and a HKD100,000 grant from DBS Hong Kong for future expansion.

i2Cool’s innovation inspired by “ants”, HKD100,000 grant from DBS Hong Kong to accelerate its growth

At the competition, i2Cool presented the results of its first commercial product iPaint – a patented radiative technology that achieves sub-ambient cooling effects. It was inspired by the Saharan silver ant (Cataglyphis bombycina) which can live under extreme temperatures in the Sahara Desert. The team studied the hair structure of the “silver ant” and created its innovate iPaint which can reflect solar radiation and emit mid-infrared radiation to achieve cooling effects. The research and results highlighted i2Cool’s commitment to driving green solutions in the real estate sector.

New World Development applied iPaint onto the container offices at some of its project sites. Over a two weeks analysis while the outdoor temperature spanned over a range of 25°C to 31°C, iPaint has effectively achieved indoor cooling effects below ambient temperatures by at most 7.8°C, thereby lowering the demand for air conditioning use and related carbon emissions, aligning with New World Development’s commitments to decarbonisation.

Ben Wong, General Manager – Technology Innovation, New World Development, said: "As Impact Kommons continues to seek innovations in green technology and sustainability to solve real business problems, we are again excited to partner with our valued partner DBS Hong Kong, with whom we are jointly empowering impact startups and technology companies through our accelerator programme. It offers invaluable opportunities for startups to scale and collaborate with the sprawling New World ecosystem, in order to build a greener future."

Amy Wu, Executive Director and Head of Group Strategic Marketing & Communications, DBS (Hong Kong) Limited, said: "DBS Hong Kong is proud to deepen our partnership with New World Development to help make a difference in building a sustainable future. As the Impact Kommons accelerator programme enters into the fourth cohort, we have jointly witnessed the transformation journey of the startups we have supported over the years. We will continue to play a leadership role in accelerating sustainable innovation development and creating impact beyond banking through supporting and empowering high-potential businesses for impact to keep innovating and scaling up their businesses."

In addition to i2Cool, all six other startups in the fourth cohort of Impact Kommons accelerator programme were presented with a certificate by DBS Hong Kong for their outstanding achievements during the programme. Startups in the fourth cohort specialise in PropTech, waste management, healthcare, sustainable fashion and culinary projects. Among them were Earthero, a Hong Kong-based sustainable fashion brand founded by a group of conscious curators and strategists, which hosted an immersive exhibition at K11 MUSEA to raise awareness for sustainable fashion among the general public; and the Loops, a closed-loop door-to-door recycling network that reallocates more than 40 recyclables and resources.