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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce
Funding Opportunities Background

Office of Innovation and
Entrepreneurship (OIE)

University Of Texas At Austin


Austin, TX

Project Name

Texas Smart Water Innovation Cluster



Award Amount


The iH2O Cluster will be located in and impart most of its benefit on Austin, Texas. Hyper-growth has created extreme demands on Austin’s infrastructure, especially its water infrastructure. As a result, there is a real market need for water technology solutions in Austin. Moreover, hyper-growth means that Austin is experiencing, in a compressed and urgent time scale, stresses and problems that the rest of the nation is or soon will be facing.

The iH2O Cluster is being built based on learnings from successful cluster development efforts in energy (partially DOE funded) and biotechnology (partially EDA funded.) The iH2O Cluster has four elements:

  1. Innovation identification and commercialization: leverage university partners and other sources of breakthrough innovation
  2. Incubation: cultivate breakthrough innovations into scalable companies funded by the private capital markets
  3. Demonstration: create test, validation, and demonstration resources to allow proof-of-concept development for the scaling enterprises
  4. Ecosystem building: catalyze a rich network of talent, for-profit partners, and not-for- profit/government partners to undergird the cluster.

Partners include: Austin Technology Incubator, City of Austin, UT-Austin Energy Institute, Austin Water, 3 Day Startup, Fathom Water, Pecan Street Inc., Accelerate H2O, BuildSec Foundry, and CleanTX.

It is expected that this new cluster will result in dozens of new innovative water technology companies, at least 100 new water-technology focused jobs, and millions of dollars in economic activity—all results that track what ATI has helped to achieve in other sectors by catalyzing wireless, clean energy and biotechnology clusters in Austin. The iH20 Cluster will also create test and demonstration capabilities that can be leveraged by water technology companies nationally, not just in Austin. Additionally, it is ecxpected that the application of digital technologies to water will enable job creation on infrastructure construction projects, by bringing down the cost of such projects and aligning them more realistically with municipal, state, and federal budgets.