Sustainability startups Cricket One and GAFT win S$1 million prize each at The Liveability Challenge 2024

Sustainability startups Cricket One and GAFT win S$1 million prize each at The Liveability Challenge 2024

Singapore, 17 April 2024 – Cricket One and GAFT have emerged as the top winners at The Liveability Challenge (TLC) from a record-breaking number of more than 1,000 entries across 100 countries. 

They each win S$1 million in catalytic funding at the grand finale of the seventh edition of TLC 2024, held at Ecosperity Week on Wednesday.  

Cricket One, from Vietnam, is working on scaling up edible insects as superfood with a carbon footprint 100 times lower than beef. GAFT, from the Netherlands, is developing a carbon-negative sustainable aviation fuel by producing a carbon dioxide-based substitute to used cooking oils. 

Presented by Temasek Foundation and organised by Eco-Business, TLC is a global crowdsourcing platform that identifies and helps innovative solutions to scale sustainably.

This year, the two solutions clinched the top spots in the Climate Change and Food and Nutrition tracks for their potential in climate change mitigation, forays in underinvested sectors, and credibility of ideas through extensive testing and pilot projects. 

Following a rigorous selection process, the seven teams pitched their innovative solutions live to a judging panel of established investors at the grand finale. Beyond the grand prize of S$2 million (S$1 million for each winner), other prizes worth a total of S$500,000 were also awarded to the finalists [Appendix A]

Our planet has reached the key halfway point for its climate goals since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015. Bold action must be taken across society to rapidly decarbonise cities to reach the global target of reducing global emissions by 43 per cent by 2030 as an interim step to net zero by 2050.    

The Earth’s changing climate is threatening ecosystems responsible for much of our food and those that life on land and in water depend on.  

In 2018, TLC was launched with the aim of sparking a global hunt for innovative and sustainable solutions to the challenges faced by urban cities.  

Today, TLC is Asia’s largest sustainability solutions platform offering the largest prize money. Since its first edition, TLC has attracted thousands of applications globally, identified 45 finalists, distributed more than S$10 million in funding to help start-ups who have gone on to raise hundreds of millions more. 

This year, TLC collaborated with more than 80 partner organisations to crowdsource disruptive climate start-ups and solutions from around the world. Steering committees comprising experts from the relevant fields and industries were convened to select the best start-ups in each track. 

The seven shortlisted finalist teams – GAFT, Green COP, Nandina REM, Cricket One, Terra Bioindustries Inc, tHEMEatCompany Pte Ltd and bound4blue – represent various countries including Singapore, Canada, The Netherlands, Spain, and Vietnam, and were shortlisted for their innovative solutions on climate change, and food and nutrition. The finalists also underwent a month of incubation and coaching to refine their pitches. 

The judging panel was impressed with the teams’ remarkable efforts in pushing the boundaries of cutting-edge science, coming up with business models that effectively tap on Singapore’s clean-tech ecosystem and beyond, demonstrating great potential for global scalability and impact.  

TLC’s strategic partners this year include Aera VC, Enterprise Singapore, OCTAVE Well-being Economy Fund, and TRIRECAmazon Web Services was the event’s technology partner. 

“The judges had a pretty challenging time differentiating between all the pitches. A unifying feature among all finalists was that everyone had worked on verifying market demand and launch products,” said Mr Nick Winstone, Founder and Managing Partner, Aera VC, who was part of the judging panel. 

“I hope we can explore and unlock the functionality and characteristics of crickets, to go from a niche market to a mainstream market. We want to make cricket protein more acceptable to consumers and increase its number of applications across the industry. We believe that to sell the idea of food sustainability, we need to provide the market with something very tasty, something that they can consume regularly. Thank you for your support and for believing in us,” said Ms Bicky Nguyen, Co-founder and Business Development Director, Cricket One.  

“As a sustainable aviation fuel startup, the issue that we are trying to tackle is the emissions associated with aviation. We really hope to scale up certain processes that we have, and then connect with some of the excellent companies and technological infrastructure in Singapore to have an impact here as well. Thank you very much for having us here and it’s great to receive this recognition. This presents a great opportunity for us,” said Mr Martin Spencer, Vice President of Business Development, GAFT.  

“GAFT’s proposal of a new, low-cost feedstock for conventional production of sustainable aviation fuel addresses the current bottleneck of feedstock availability globally. It will pave the way for greater adoption of sustainable aviation fuel and significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the aviation industry. We are also thrilled by Cricket One’s high-quality, low-cost cricket-based protein that will have a carbon footprint 100 times lower than beef. This will help improve the availability of nutritious and sustainable food products for the global market,” said Mr Lim Hock Chuan, Deputy CEO of Temasek Foundation. 

“Temasek Foundation recognises the importance of catalysing support for deep-tech climate solutions as well as disruptive food solutions. Our catalytic funding underscores our commitment to help innovators produce operational prototypes that are ready for investment by our network of investors. This will help the innovators commercialise their products to benefit our planet and people for generations to come. Our heartiest congratulations to GAFT and Cricket One!” Lim added.   

“We congratulate the two winners today and all the finalist teams who pitched their innovative solutions at this year’s The Liveability Challenge. The Challenge has gone from strength to strength since it was first launched in 2018 — with this seventh edition having received the highest recorded number of entries so far, it is clear that momentum is accelerating in the climate science and technology fields. These solutions cannot scale without funding, and this is why TLC exists — to match capital to the best solutions and to urgently provide catalytic capital to address our existential sustainability solutions,” said Ms Jessica Cheam, Founder and Managing Director of Eco-Business. 

“TLC is ground zero for how decisions are made on how capital is allocated, and where the most promising start-ups get this booster shot to make their innovations a reality. We hope initiatives like TLC serve as a beacon of hope and underline the urgency needed to solve our climate crisis,” Cheam added.  


Appendix A: Further investment details 

Appendix B: Comments from our Strategic Partners 

For media and interview requests, please contact:  

Liang Lei 
+65 91183042 


About Temasek Foundation 

Temasek Foundation supports a diverse range of programmes that uplift lives and communities in Singapore and beyond. Temasek Foundation’s programmes are made possible through philanthropic endowments gifted by Temasek, as well as gifts and other contributions from other donors. These programmes strive towards achieving positive outcomes for individuals and communities now, and for generations to come. Collectively, Temasek Foundation’s programmes strengthen social resilience, foster international exchange and regional capabilities, advance science, and protect the planet.  

For more information, visit  

About Eco-Business 

Established in 2009, Eco-Business is Asia Pacific’s leading media organisation on sustainable development. Its independent journalism unit publishes high quality, trusted news and views that advance dialogue and enables measurable impact on a wide range of sustainable development and responsible business issues. Eco-Business is headquartered in Singapore, with a presence in Beijing, Hong Kong, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, New York and correspondents across major cities in Asia Pacific. Visit

About Ecosperity Week 

Ecosperity Week 2024 took place from 15-17 April. Themed “Renewing our Vibrant Spring”, the three-day event focused on fast-tracking decarbonisation, enabling net-zero cities and financing Asia’s net-zero transition. It brought together global business leaders, policy-makers, investors and civil society from across industries in addressing high-impact levers to bring about transformational climate action needed for our planet, businesses and communities. The programme included panel discussions, fireside chats, roundtable discussions, and more. 

For the full programme and line-up of speakers, please visit


Appendix A 

Several finalists also received funding offers from participating funds: 

  • Bound4blue received S$300,000 in investments from Aera VC, OCTAVE Well-Being Fund, and TRIREC, to develop wind-assisted propulsion suction sails to reduce fuel consumption for ships by 40 per cent.
  • Nandina REM received a grant of S$100,000 from Enterprise Singapore to produce industry-grade, circular carbon fibre materials recovered from aircraft with more than 70 per cent carbon emissions reduction. 
  • All finalists will receive a total of S$100,000 in cloud grants, as well as training and technical expertise in cloud and AI skills from Amazon Web Services, to scale their climate tech solutions.

Appendix B 

Comments from our Strategic Partners 

James Ong, Investment Committee Member, OCTAVE Well-being Economy Fund, said: “We view the intertwined challenges of climate change and food security as issues that extend far beyond environmental conservation – it encompasses human well-being, social equity, and economic development. The bold ideas and breakthroughs we are seeing from this record-breaking edition of The Liveability Challenge demonstrates how the transformative power of innovation can provide a fillip to the shared goal of driving positive impact. We look forward to seeing the start-ups flourish and pave the way for a more sustainable and resilient future for generations to come.” 

Nick Winstone, Founder and Managing Partner, Aera VC, said: “Among the finalists of the Liveability Challenge, we are delighted to see commercial traction with real (and potential) scalability at venture speed. This is fundamental to unlocking meaningful climate impact and outstanding financial returns as we accelerate towards a sustainable future.” 

Shen Ye, Director, TRIREC, said: “The Liveability Challenge showcases entrepreneurs proving that bold ideas are essential for tackling Asia’s urgent urban sustainability hurdles. Their solutions target critical industrial challenges – from transiting to low-carbon energy sources to enabling circularity and transforming our food production systems. TRIREC, seeking to accelerate decarbonisation in key sectors, recognises the potential of these innovators. Their dedication to creating a positive impact is an inspiration as they navigate the complexities of bringing solutions to market.” 

Emily Liew, Assistant Managing Director, Innovation, Enterprise Singapore, said: “We are excited to partner Temasek Foundation’s The Liveability Challenge to offer startups the resources to fast-track the development of climate tech solutions in areas such as renewables, low-carbon infrastructure and agriculture. Startups from Singapore and around the world can leverage the innovation infrastructure and financing networks here to testbed their solutions as well as scale more quickly and effectively, to address net zero targets. EnterpriseSG will continue to catalyse meaningful collaborations to add to Singapore’s deep tech ecosystem that drives innovation for the greater good.” 

Ashley Tan, International Head of Sustainability & Social Impact, Amazon Web Services, said: “Amazon Web Services is proud to be Technology Partner to The Liveability Challenge, providing finalists with access to the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud, technical expertise, training and supported by our financial grants to empower innovators to build and scale cutting-edge climate tech solutions. AWS is committed to using advanced cloud computing services such as generative AI and machine learning to address the climate crisis together with mission-driven customers, partners and communities.” 

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