In front of over 1,000 people in attendance at the TNW Conference main stage and over 700,000 watching the final live online, Javier Larragoiti, Co-Founder and CEO of Xilinat convinced our judging panel, which included Zoe Saldana, that the prize money would be heading to Mexico.
Speaking just after winning, Javier said: “This moment tastes pretty sweet! I’m super happy to have been crowned winner of the Chivas Venture 2019; with this funding we can go ten times bigger - and that means helping so many more people around the world.”
His business, Xilinat, has ambitions to revolutionise the sugar industry. They convert agricultural waste into a natural sugar substitute that looks and tastes like normal sugar yet is low in calories; helping tackle obesity while providing a sustainable alternative for diabetics and the health-conscious.
Xilinat came out on top over 19 other social entrepreneurs whose businesses are helping to improve the lives of people with world changing ideas.
Chivas Venture judge Zoe Saldana commented on our collective responsibility to drive positive impact: “We are all responsible for the future of our planet and our societies; we need our governments to be agents of positive change and it’s up to us to let them know when they’re doing a good job and when they’re not.
“Big businesses around the world also need to take responsibility and I’m in awe of what Chivas as a brand is doing; investing funds and driving awareness of these incredible entrepreneurs who are building businesses that are making our world a better place.”
The four other finalists to receive significant funding were: Syntoil from Poland ($250,000) – which is solving the environmental problem of rubber waste from used tires; Portugal’s SPEAK ($110,000) – which breaks down cultural barriers by reducing the marginalization of immigrants and refugees through informal networking; Tykn from the Netherlands ($50,000) which leverages blockchain technology to protect immigrants and provide them with access to human aid; and Copia from the USA ($50,000) which tackles both hunger and food waste by creating a technological platform that helps businesses measure and donate their food surplus for financial compensation.
Our final 5 had to make it through quarter and semi-final stages before earning the right to pitch against our judging panel, which comprised of Zoe Saldana; Alexandre Ricard (Chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard – parent company of Chivas Regal), Cemal Ezel (Founder of Change Please and global winner of the Chivas Venture 2018); and Sonal Shah (Economist and founding Executive Director of the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University) – assessed each start-up based on their ability to create sustainable change through a viable business model and potential to scale.
Also on the night, hosted by BAFTA winning actor and director, Richard Ayoade, we crowned the People’s Choice Award. This went to Brazil’s Cataki, after over 135,000 votes were cast by the public in the lead-up to the Final. $50,000 was awarded to his business, which has created a mobile app to connect waste generators with waste collectors.