Global average sea levels are rising and climate change is leading to more frequent and extreme weather events, coastal flooding, and other increased hazards. In fact, the rate of sea level rise in the 20th century was greater than it had been in 2,800 years! And while Brinc, RISE and our partners will continue to work on climate change mitigation, sea level rise is going to occur. This continued sea level rise results in cascading impacts on people, infrastructure, and coastal economies. Without adaptation measures in place, expected direct annual losses due to coastal floods could amount to up to 9.3% of global GDP by 2100!

Nowhere are the effects of a changing climate more destructive than in coastal areas, adversely impacting communities’ safety, housing, and livelihood at an unprecedented scale. Further, as 60% of global GDP and 90% of global trade moves through coasts, increased flooding or damage to port infrastructure poses risks for communities and businesses alike, whether or not they are near the ocean.

In the U.S. alone, almost 40% of the population lives in high-population-density coastal areas that are vulnerable to sea level rise, leaving these communities at higher risk of flooding, shoreline erosion, and hazards from storms. This leads to a pressing need to rethink how we help coastal cities around the world be more resilient and use the best technologies from around the world to be prepared for whatever climate change throws at them. Climate resilience is the key to our future and working with game changing entrepreneurs will speed up our ability to mitigate the disastrous effects of climate change.

To address the growing pressure on our coastal cities, RISE has designed a 12 month challenge program, powered by Brinc, covering Hampton Roads, Virginia, that is designed to support founders of startups and small to medium businesses who are solving the many problems that face coastal cities as a result of climate change. With ~1.7 million residents, 840 square miles of water and combining 10 cities and 9 counties, Hampton Roads presents an unbeatable living laboratory and opportunity for the best climate resiliency technologies to have positive impact quickly.

Selected startups will get to work closely with business, government, and tech leaders in Hampton Roads on proofs of concept to validate and potentially commercialize their solutions across the region. Join our program to gain the opportunity to develop innovative solutions that solve climate change’s many challenges and meet all of our citizen’s ever-evolving needs. Leveraging Brinc and RISE expertise and resources, we believe that promising startups can drive city transformation and build the next generation of products that ultimately help protect how and where we live around the world.

Our Offer

RISE provides revenue based loans and grants of up to $350,000 USD.

In addition to funding, RISE provides a fabrication facility, co-working space, real-world pilot and testing sites, technical, government, and business mentors, investor matchmaking, a customized curriculum, and on-going support to get your startup to the next level.

Our Focus Areas

Our areas of focus for our Challenge are described in detail here. In summary, Coastal Communities seek innovative solutions for the following:

  • Flood management and infrastructure: 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.
  • Protection of buildings: maintaining the viability of existing buildings facing different levels of flooding.
  • Data analytics: improving the ability to more effectively prepare for, respond to, and recover from disruptions.
  • Re-establishing critical utilities: re-establishing and maintaining functionality of critical systems after an acute event to prevent cascading failures and degradation in the resilience of a community.

Application Requirements

  • Your company has to be able to test / deploy your technology in Hampton Roads, in south eastern VA, either by yourselves or by hiring a local partner.
  • You have to be able to deploy your solution / spend all of the funding (up to $350,000) within a 12-month period after being accepted into the program.
  • Your technology has to be prototype stage or later or already have customers using your technology.
  • If you are accepted as a finalist, you will be required to submit further documentation like technical details of your solution, a work plan, etc. within 14 calendar days of being notified of your finalist status.
  • You have to meet the definition of a small business, as defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration and found here. You can partner with a larger company if needed as long as your project is led by you as the small business.
  • Finalists will be required to register on

Program Requirements

Startups that are accepted into our program DO NOT have to be located in Hampton Roads as long as COVID restrictions are still in place. However, you will still need to deploy your solution by either hiring or partnering with a local firm/individuals to deploy your solution.

Applications are currently closed. If you're interested in applying for our future accelerator programs, please fill out the form and we will be in touch when applications open.

Mix business with purpose

We create value for our portfolio companies and our ecosystem partners by facilitating mutually beneficial partnerships.