InfraChallenge 2020 invited applicants from around the world and across sectors to pitch big ideas to drive digital transformation in infrastructure.

The competition called for digital innovations that could be applied to solve economic or social infrastructure issues and build momentum towards better infrastructure.

On 24 September 2020, Lebanese tech start-up Mrüna was announced as the winner of InfraChallenge 2020 following a live pitch event against nine other finalists from the UK, US, Sierra Leone, Australia, Mexico, Singapore and Spain.

Meet our partner

MIT Solve

MIT Solve

MIT Solve advances lasting solutions from tech entrepreneurs to address the world’s most pressing problems. Solve is a marketplace for social impact innovation: we find tech entrepreneurs from around the world and broker partnerships across our community to scale their innovative work—driving lasting, transformational change.

Meet the teams

Meet the mentors


Beatriz Salvador, Acciona

Title: Open Innovation Specialist

Country: Spain

Beatriz is an Innovation Specialist who is passionate about discovering novel problems and solutions with the potential of challenging the status quo. She holds a Degree in Business Administration and an Executive Program in Digital Transformation from the IE Business School. Understanding both business dynamics and the role of digital technologies within them is crucial to undertake a digital transformation process.

Over her career Beatriz has advised on innovation strategy for corporates, challenging their innovation systems and processes, and helped entrepreneurs and startups leverage public funds for developing its innovative solutions. As an Open Innovation Specialist at ACCIONA she is focused on engaging with entrepreneurs and startups able to build new products and business models.

Helga Van Peer, Allen & Overy

Title: Lawyer & Partner

Country: Belgium

Helga Van Peer has worked on a range of award-winning infrastructure projects across the globe for over 20 years. She advises the public and private sector, creating and supporting innovative and effective solutions for PPP tenders and contracts in the interest of all stakeholders. She contributed to Global Infrastructure Hub's PPP Risk Allocation Tool.

Dr. Tim Williams, Arup

Title: Australasian Cities Lead

Country: Australia

Tim is Cities Leader for Arup in Australasia and is recognised as an international urban renewal thinker. Tim was a special advisor on urban regeneration, housing and city planning to five successive senior UK ministers. Since coming to Australia, Tim has become a leading city thinker, his experience has included being CEO of the Committee for Sydney, Chair for Open Cities and is a founding member of the NSW Circular hosted by UNSW.

Andrew Jones, ASX

Title: General Manager Strategic Partnerships

Country: Australia

Andrew has over 25 years of experience in financial services. Prior to moving to the ASX 12 months ago to work on partnerships and ASX’s distributed leger platform, Andrew worked with a small team launching RateSetter and growing it to be Australia’s largest peer-to-peer lender. Andrew has led numerous projects focusing on disruptive innovation in financial services and has served on a number of boards in the finance sector. Before the ASX and RateSetter, Andrew worked at Challenger, Qantas and Baker & McKenzie. He has an honours degree in Law and Commerce.

Dr Grayson Perry, Australian Trade & Investment Commission

Title: Senior Trade & Investment Commissioner

Country: Canada

Grayson is based in Toronto with the Australian Trade & Investment Commission (Austrade), managing a Canada-wide team that is responsible for identifying major investment opportunities in Australia for Canadian companies as well as new markets for Australian exports into the region. He is also responsible for consular operations for the Australian government in Toronto as well as managing both the Austrade Infrastructure and Resources/Energy team for the broader Americas region. Prior to his current Canadian role he was based in India for 8 years with the Australian Government (New Delhi and Chennai). Responsibilities included managing the Austrade operations in South India and Sri Lanka as well as Austrade’s South Asia Infrastructure and Agribusiness teams.

David Smith, Coventured

Title: Director of Scaleups

Country: Australia

David is an experienced non-technical founder who has also contributed to the larger ecosystem launching the WeWork Labs incubator program into Australia. He is currently the Scaleup director for Coventured - a corporate innovation and procurement platform.

Rafael Fernández, Ferrovial

Title: Innovation & Digital Strategy Director

Country: Spain

Rafael is currently the Innovation and Digital Strategy Director at Ferrovial. Previously, at Ferrovial Servicios, he held the positions of Head of Innovation and Project Director at the Centre of Excellence for Cities.

He has extensive international experience in the Technology and Urban Mobility sector, where he has held positions such as the Asia-Pacific and EMEA Business Directions in Telvent (Kapsch) as well as holding consulting positions in IDOM.

Rafael’s qualifications include as a Telecommunications Engineer from the University of Deusto, a PDD from IESE Business School at University of Navarra and a Global Management Program by ESADE Business & Law School.

Claire Hicks, Future Ready®

Title: Program Manager

Country: Canada

Claire Hicks leads Future Ready®, a market-leading innovation and resilience program at WSP Canada. Future Ready engages WSP’s consulting professionals and clients to deliver sustainable, people-centred project solutions. Claire’s collaborative and creative approach places innovation at the forefront of any project, coaching teams to strategically and elegantly embed a future focus into today’s solutions.

Thomas Maier, Global Infrastructure Hub

Title: Strategic Advisor

Country: UK

Thomas has over thirty years of experience in infrastructure delivery and finance. He is on the advisory board of Meridiam Infrastructure and an independent non-executive director in Global Ports Holding, a London Stock Exchange quoted company. He is working with International Financial Institutions on the implementation of innovative financing approaches for infrastructure delivery, including financing solutions for local public utility enterprises in emerging markets. Thomas is a Strategic Advisor to the Global Infrastructure Hub.

Kyle Peters, Global Infrastructure Hub

Title: Strategic Advisor

Country: USA

Kyle has more than three decades of experience in international development and management. He is a Senior Advisor to BCG in its public sector and people and organizations practices, where he is advising public sector organizations on operational agility and efficiency. He is the Coordinator of the 15th Replenishment of the African Development Fund at the African Development Bank and a senior advisor to the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development. He also served on the Secretariat for the G20 Eminent Persons Group on Global Financial Governance and the UN Reference Group formed by the UN Secretary General to guide the UNSG’s reform program. Kyle is a Strategic Advisor to the Global Infrastructure Hub.

Patrick Sieb, InfraTech Partners

Title: Partner

Country: Australia

Patrick is an InfraTech investor and mentor with 22 years of investment banking experience, including 15 years in infrastructure at Macquarie. He is passionate about innovation and climate change, focused on linking industry with tech startups. Patrick is an active investor through board/advisory roles.

John Dyson, Mott MacDonald

Title: Advisory Leader Australia

Country: Australia

John is an experienced executive who leads Mott MacDonald’s Advisory business in Australia delivering integrated services across Infrastructure Advisory, Project and Programme Management, Commercial Management, Environment, Sustainability, Approvals, Asset Management, and Digital Advisory. He works across the lifecycle of global infrastructure, leading projects that consistently achieve exceptional and often innovative outcomes.

Denis Crevier, Plan A Capital

Title: Strategic Advisor

Country: Canada

Denis brings over 30 years of private sector experience as a senior executive and lead advisor in the development, financing and management of multi-sector infrastructure projects, in both developed and emerging markets. Denis is Strategic Advisor to Plan A Capital, a development and project finance advisory firm. Prior, Denis careered with the investment arm of a global engineering and construction company.  

Jodie Roussell, Planair SA

Title: Group Head Smart Grid

Country: Switzerland

Jodie serves as Group Head of Smart Grid with Planair, a leading Swiss engineering consulting services provider in renewables and environment. Previously she served as CEO of the Global Solar Council.  Prior to joining the Council, she was Trina Solar’s Head of Public Affairs, Europe & Africa & Latin America.  She has served as Vice-President of the Board, Solar Power Europe, as member and past Chair of the Sustainable Energy Trade Initiative (SETI) & the E15 Experts Group on Clean Energy Trade Policy, as Executive Director for the trade action group, the Alliance for Affordable Solar Energy (AFASE) and on the International Energy Agency’s Energy Business Council.

Dr Anil Sawhney, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

Title: Director of the Infrastructure Sector

Country: USA

Anil is an engineer, technologist, and entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in the construction sector. He has a rich mix of industry, academic, research, and consulting experience gathered working in the United States, India, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. He worked as a technical consultant to the World Bank from 2002 to 2007 under the International Comparison Program to develop a framework for spatial and temporal comparison for the comparison-resistant construction sector.

K.P. Reddy, Shadow Ventures

Title: Founder

Country: USA

As the founder of Shadow Ventures, a seed-stage tech investment firm, K.P. combines expertise in advanced technologies as an experienced entrepreneur. He' is a globally recognised authority in AEC, AI, robotics, and automation and the author of two books. He is passionate about launching start-ups, raising investments, and leading exits.

Brindusa Burrows, The Ground_Up Project

Title: Founder & CEO

Country: Switzerland

Brindusa founded the Ground_Up Project - an impact/SDG investing intermediary based in Switzerland. Currently operating the Pipeline Builder project with the SDG Lab at the UN in Geneva, systematizing SDG-investment in emerging markets. Previously with the World Economic Forum, Brindusa designed and led a multi-country program to create public and private investment instruments for clean energy, energy efficiency and climate-smart agriculture under the G20.

Kirsty O’Connell, The Next Generation Engagement Program

Title: Director, The Engagement People and Co-founder

Country: Australia

Kirsty has led the communication and engagement portfolios for more than $17B in transformational Australian infrastructure projects. She formed the sustainability and social license advisory firm, The Engagement People after leaving the public sector and co-founded the Next Generation Engagement Program (NextGen) shortly after. NextGen is a globally unique research program based at the Australian National University which sees researchers work collaboratively with global infrastructure leaders to better understand the bottom-line impact of engagement, social risk management and social license on project performance. 

Kurt Brissett, Transport for NSW

Title: Director Ticketing Solutions

Country: Australia

Kurt is currently the Director Ticketing Solutions at Transport for NSW and has over 20 years of experience leading technology teams internationally and domestically across both the private and public sector. Kurt began his career as an Army officer, before working for Deloitte in business technology transformation. Kurt has extensive experience working in the infrastructure sector having worked previously with ASX listed infrastructure firms Leighton Group and Lendlease. Kurt has a proven track record successfully delivering customer centric digital products at extreme scale.

Sacira Coric, Turner & Townsend Infrastructure

Title: Director, Programme Advisory, Project Finance

Country: UK

Sacira is a global Infrastructure & Project Finance advisory executive with a 20-year track record in economic and social infrastructure, advising public sector authorities, equity investors and lenders on all aspects of the infrastructure project life cycle, ranging from strategy, development, Project Finance, delivery, O&M and exit.


Meet the judges

Dr. Sumila Gulyani, World Bank

Title: World Bank’s Program Leader for Infrastructure and Sustainable Development in India

Dr. Sumila Gulyani is currently the World Bank’s Program Leader for Infrastructure and Sustainable Development in India. In this role, she coordinates the Bank’s work in seven practice areas—water, energy, transport, environment, agriculture, urban and social development—that together have an investment portfolio of about US$ 21 billion in 75 projects. Prior to that she was Global Lead for Urban Development Strategy and Analytics.

From 2012-2014, she served as Manager for Water and Urban Development in Europe and Central Asia, overseeing a portfolio of US$4 billion in 21 client countries.

From 2008-2011, she lived in Kenya and worked on infrastructure and urban projects in 6 African countries. From 2005-2007, Dr. Gulyani was at Columbia University in New York as Assistant Professor and also served as the founding Director of the Infrastructure and Poverty Action Lab (I-PAL). Dr. Gulyani received her Ph.D. in Economic Development and Urban Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and also holds a graduate degree in architecture.

She is the author of the book Innovating with Infrastructure and of several articles on urban development, water, electricity, transport, and slums.

Marie Lam-Frendo, Global Infrastructure Hub

Title: CEO, Global Infrastructure Hub

Marie Lam-Frendo was appointed CEO by the Board of the Global Infrastructure Hub (GI Hub) in January 2019.Prior to joining the GI Hub she was the Head of Asia-Pacific for Acuity, the advisory services business of the SNCL group, helping clients in regard to infrastructure project strategy and finance.

From 2011 to 2014, Marie headed the Infrastructure Initiatives department of the World Economic Forum, where she led their thought leadership activities, publishing thought leadership reports on best practices in the infrastructure sector. She led the dissemination effort of these best practices to governments and advocated to coalitions such as the B20 and the G20.

Before that, Marie worked for European utilities Essent then RWE where she drove their business development activities in the Africa and Central Asia region for various commodities, including their equity investment in LNG and hydro power plants.

She started her career in 2001 and has worked for various engineering consulting firms holding several technical and commercial positions for energy and transport projects in Africa, Middle East and Europe.
Marie holds an MSc of Civil Engineering from EPF, an MSc of Marketing and Strategy from ESCP-EAP (Paris), and an MSc of Management and Leadership from WEF - in partnership with LBS and INSEAD. She is a Global Leadership Fellow of the World Economic Forum.

Chris Sowa, Schneider Electric

Title: Global Vice President, Strategy & Innovation for the Energy Management Business at Schneider Electric

Chris Sowa has over 20 years of experience in strategy development and execution in advanced technologies. He has a global track record of success leading strategy creation in Europe, Asia, Australia, and the United States. As a global Vice President, Energy Management Software at Schneider Electric, Chris is developing a new billion dollar cloud-based software business through strategic partnerships and acquisitions to support the design, building, and operations of next generation sustainable buildings. He is also leading strategy for this new business.

Previously, as a Vice President of Strategy at Oracle and a strategy leader at Accenture / IBM, Chris developed deep expertise in monetizing digital solutions, and in data-driven strategies. In addition to Chris’s expertise with large companies, Chris founded his own startup, ToonCrier Inc., which leveraged AI deep learning technology for emotion capture and emotion projection to create innovative ways to interact using both voice and digital avatars. Chris has ties to the startup community in the United states in the areas of artificial intelligence, blockchain, advanced analytics, virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality. Chris has also been a long time member of the MIT Enterprise Forum’s Innovation Committee.

Jonathan Winer, Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners

Title: Co-CEO of Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners

Jonathan Winer is Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners (SIP). Backed by Alphabet, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, and Sidewalk Labs, SIP applies innovative technology to urban infrastructure systems.

Over two decades in private equity, Jonathan has led investments of over $2.0B. Previously, Jonathan was Head of Investments at Sidewalk Labs, Alphabet’s urban innovation platform. In this role, Jonathan managed dedicated investment funds related to technology, real estate, and infrastructure and was responsible for Sidewalk Labs’ business model and financing strategy.

He previously founded Nereus in 2009, a private equity fund that invests in alternative energy infrastructure in Asia. Prior to Nereus, Jonathan worked at the D. E. Shaw group where he built the private equity team across venture capital, growth equity, and structured finance. Jonathan started his career by founding startups in natural language processing and computational biochemistry.

Jonathan graduated from Yale with degrees in Philosophy and Computer Science and lives in Brooklyn, New York.