EcoGotchi: Play away CO2 and have fun living susainable

Hallein, AustriaHallein, Austria
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Millions played Tamagotchi and it was a total waste of time. We try to leverage this potential for real life change. EcoGotchi is a creature living on your smartphone. Its well-being is dependent on your sustainable choices. Players feed it with saved CO2 by riding trains, buying ecoproducts, etc.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if a location-based mobile game could motivate players to discover sustainable options in their daily lives and get rewarded for it.
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

No one can deny climate change but no one seems to take real life action. Why is that? People tend to put abstract problems away. Numbers of saved CO2 on a bus ticket or square meters of reforested trees are not motivating people to change their behavior. Living sustainable is not that difficult however most people fail after some time trying and fall back to old behaviors due to a lack of motivation - direct feedback/self-measurement.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

EcoGotchi gives location/context based tips and rewards for users and directs them towards sustainable choices in their daily lives in an entertaining way. Everyone can easily save 6kg CO2 a day with just small adaptions to his/her lifestyle. EcoGotchi is your nagging conscience who is dependent on your behavior and helps to achieve your goal. Instead of presenting boring numbers, saved CO2 becomes alive. We specially want to raise the awareness of digital natives as they will be the consumers and decision makers of tomorrow. That’s why we want to make this game which is in form of a living creature on which you see the direct impact of your actions and which turns grey numbers in emotions and fun.


NetIdee 2013/2015 (, Social Entrepreneurship Award 2014 (, GreenStart Award 2015 (, EU Climate Launchpad National Winner 2015, Go Silicon Valley Award 2015
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

EcoGotchi is your personal trainer and tutor in sustainability and CO2 saving. It automatically detects if you ride on a bus or train via GPS and iBeacons. It feels happy and you earn points and unlock additional games in which you can even gain a higher score. Eyeryone can easily save up to 6kg CO2 a day with small adaptions to his/her lifestyle. EcoGotchi helps you to discover sustainability around you and helps as a shopping advisor. EcoGotchi helps people to measure their ecological footprint and reduce it, it is a runtastic for sustainability. You can compare your ecogotchi on the social net and form alliances and get to meet new friends. It will be an epic win for you and our environment. Save the world by playing games.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Our vision is broad and it is a huge project and problem we are tackling. We set ourselves realistic milestones on the way to our ultimate goal. In July we reached the first major milestone, the release of our test balloon game app “EcoGotchi Junior”, which is a location-based augmented reality adventure meant as a learning game about sustainability for kids. This prototype helps us testing technology, but furthermore the reception of our players and the market potential. Over 3000 kids per year play our game in the garden of susainability and we have been nominated for the ReImagine Education Award. We have 8000 likes on Facebook and reveived awards and honors. We hope that our efforts in developing technologies for game based learning and discovery educates youngsters and let them reconsider their daily options in consumption, mobility and energy.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We are working together with NGOs (WWF, Ashoka, Impact Hub), governmental institutions, businesses and Universities. We try to scale our idea and bring it to live. With research grants and awards we were able to finance quite some development of our technological base system and game but it is still a stoney road ahead of us, which we are willing to go. Our next step is to find a strong partner and/or investor, we had some interesting meetings already and we will be in the Silicon Valley for 3 months beginning in 2016. Our goal is to have a player base of more than 100k players.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Our app is free, and we earn money with commercial partners and companies who use our app as green location-based marketing channel for sustainable goods and services. EcoGotchi is a gamification and loyalty bonus system for a hard to reach target audience - digital natives. By discovering or buying the promoted goods EcoGotchi rewards the players with points and the best will be rewarded with incentives of our partners.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Many startups work on green biz ideas and the promotion of sustainability and gamification for green marketing. However in our competitor analysis we haven't found any combining location-context based discovery with games, gamification and a tamagotchi system. Our approach is quite different to green search engines or virtual maps with green shops. We address the playful nature and the altruistic instincs (caring for a living being) of humans which are strong psychological motifs to continue playing and thrive long-term motivation to level up your little friend and go on further adventures.

Founding Story

The Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF) plannend an initiative to promote the topic of sustainability and climate change for teenagers. They invested in a big garden with a labyrinth and quiz billboards. The youngsters were standing around and were playing games and whatsapped on their smartphones but no one really paid attention to the wooden billboards and information. That's when this project and idea started as we were asked to think about new ways of transporting this topics for digital natives. Together with Robert Praxmarer (we both were professors at University) I founded a startup to tackle the problem of climate change and sustainability in an dequat media form for youngsters.


The project leads (Thomas Layer-Wagner and Robert Praxmarer) have aggregated over 30 years of professional experience in research, game development and augmented reality. The other 4 team members were our best former graduate students, and burn for our vision, all with a dedicated work ethic and top qualification in their field. Our team consists of a game designer, game developers, artists and business administrator for strategic development. Furthermore we partner with NGOs, mentors and incubation programs. Our team consists of two founders, 3 employees and many external part-time workers.
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Ashoka told us we would be a good fit and should apply

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

CEO, CFO, Co-Founder Polycular OG

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

Before this venture/startup Thomas Layer-Wagner and Robert Praxmarer were heading research projects with a volume over 1.3 Million Euro in the field of interactive technologies and games. They are experienced project managers, CTOs and finally found their dream in making a social startup and learning new things every day.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

We work closely togehter with the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF), ImpactHub Vienna, Ashoka PEP IT4Change, University of Applied Sciences Salzburg, GreenStart Accelerator, Salzburg Global Seminar, EU ClimateKIC Accelerator, EU Benisi program for scaling social innovations.
Apart from that we've been selected by a jury to be a part of the PlugandPlay Accelerator in the Silicon Valley for 3 months to develop our idea further and pitch it to international brands and investors, so our idea and impact can scale.