Terms of Service & Privacy Policy



Last modified February 25, 2019


The Website is operated by Biomimicry Institute, PO Box 9216, Missoula, Montana 59807 (“We” or “BIOMIMICRY”).  This Privacy Policy describes the information collected through your use of the Website, how We use it, how We share it, how We protect it, and the choices you (“You”) can make about Your information.


Unless explicitly stated otherwise, any new features that augment or enhance the current Website shall be subject to this Privacy Policy.

Please review the Privacy Policy each time You use the Website.  BY USING THE WEBSITE, YOU AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THE MOST RECENT VERSION OF THE PRIVACY POLICY.  If We materially change this Privacy Policy, We will update this page to reflect any changes to this Privacy Policy and will let You know by sending an email to the email address We have on record for You.

1. Information We Collect

We collect information from You when You create a profile, use the Website, register for challenges or our incubator program, contact or interact with us, fill out a form, and voluntarily provide us with Your comments and other content in connection with using the Website.

A. Information You Provide to Us

When You create a profile, We may collect Your name, telephone number(s), email address, company name, mailing address, user ID, and password.

When You contact us, We may collect:  Your name, email address, and any other information that You provide to us voluntarily.

When You sign up for our newsletter, We may collect Your first name, last name, and email address.

When You make a donation or make any other payment through the Website, We may collect:  Your first name, last name, telephone number, email address, company name, mailing address, credit card number, card expiration date, and other information sufficient for our payment processors to process the transaction and provide fraud screening, information security, and compliance, other account information, and any other information that You provide while registering or making a payment.  If You are making a donation, We may also collect any information that You voluntarily provide related to the gift.  If You select to provide recurring donations, We will maintain your information for the duration of your membership, including your payment information, with our payment processor.

When You submit an entry to our Design Challenge or the Youth Design Challenge, We may collect Your name, email address, location, school, and advisor information.  We may also collect any information that You voluntarily provide related to the submission, including any textual content in the submission, photos, and video content.  Your Design Challenge or Youth Design Challenge submission will be shared with judges and portions of the submission will be posted on the gallery.

When You submit an application for our Launchpad program, We may collect Your name, email address, and any other information that You voluntarily provide related to your application, including any textual content in the application.  Your Launchpad application will be shared with judges and mentors and portions of the submission will be posted on the gallery.

B. Information We May Collect Automatically When You Use the Website

When You access and use the Website, We automatically collect information regarding You and Your device, including Your user name, roles/permissions for the Website, Your device’s Internet Protocol address, the domain name of Your Internet service provider, Your location, the Website features You use and the time of Your use, Your mobile device information (e.g. device model and operating system version), and aggregated information that cannot be used to specifically identify You.  Additional information collected is described in the Analytics and Cookies and Other Tracking Technologies sections below.

C. Information We May Collect From Other Sources

We may collect information about You from third party sources such as Your design team coach, social media companies, analytics providers, and advertising networks.

We may combine all of the information We collect from or about You and use it in the manner described in this Privacy Policy.

2. How We Use Your Information

We may use the information that We collect for several purposes, including:

  • The purposes for which You provided it;
  • To provide information and services to You;
  • To connect with Your social media accounts and share information with You, should You choose to connect with BIOMIMICRY’s social media accounts;
  • To process and respond to Your inquiries and comments;
  • To send You information about Your relationship or transactions with us;
  • To facilitate payment transactions (Your information will be used to submit Your payment information to our payment processor);
  • To process Your donations;
  • To administer, operate, and improve the Website or develop new services;
  • To personalize and enhance Your experience using the Website;
  • To send periodic emails.  If You choose, the email address You provide may be used to send You occasional news, updates, etc.  Note:  If You would like to unsubscribe from receiving future emails at any time, We include detailed unsubscribe instructions at the bottom of each email;
  • To generate and review reports and data about our user base and Website usage patterns;
  • To analyze the accuracy, effectiveness, usability or popularity of the Website;
  • To compile aggregate data for internal and external business purposes;
  • To prevent fraud and abuse of the Website and to otherwise protect users and visitors and our organization;
  • To assist law enforcement and respond to subpoenas; and
  • To perform other business activities as needed, or as described elsewhere in this Privacy Policy.
  • As explained elsewhere in this Privacy Policy, personal information We collect may be processed by our partners in providing services related to the Website (such as administration services, technical services relating to the maintenance, servicing, and upgrading of software, hosting services, customer service, data migration services, and analytical services, among others).

Please note that You may choose not to allow us to use Your personal information for certain purposes as described in the Your Choices Regarding Your Information section below.

3. Legal Bases for Processing Your Information (For Users in European Union)

A. Performance of a Contract

The use of Your personal information may be necessary to perform the agreement You have with us to provide products and services.  For example, to complete Your purchase, to register and maintain Your membership and account, to facilitate and process donations, to correspond with other users, to join AskNature for deeper access to the Website, to sign up to receive newsletters, to submit for challenges, and to respond to Your requests.

B. Legitimate Interests

We may use Your personal information for our legitimate interests.  We rely on our legitimate interest to deliver our services to our users, to administer, analyze and improve our services and the content on the Website, to operate our business including through the use of service providers and subcontractors (who may have access to Your data – see further under the section How Your Information is Disclosed), to send You notifications about our services, for archiving, records keeping, statistical and analytical purposes, or to use Your personal information for administrative, fraud detection, audit, training, security, or legal purposes.

C. Consent

Prior to accessing this site and providing Your personal data, You may have provided Your informed consent to the collection and use of certain personal data.  Insofar as other legal bases referred to in this section 3 for the processing of your personal information do not apply, We may rely on your consent as the legal basis for processing.  You are free to withdraw Your consent at any time. See also the Your Choices Regarding Your Information section below.

D. Compliance with Legal Obligations

We may use Your personal information to comply with legal obligations to which We are subject, including to comply with legal process.

E. Performance of a Task Carried Out in the Public Interest

We may use Your personal information to perform a task in the public interest.

4. How Your Information is Disclosed

Information may be disclosed to third parties in accordance with our Privacy Policy.  Please note that a user may choose not to share certain information as described in Your Choices Regarding Your Information below.

A. Third Party Service Providers and Business Partners.

We may use third party service providers and business partners to perform functions in connection with the Website and our other services, such as delivering announcements by email, website searching, analyzing and improving the Website usefulness, reliability, user experience, and operation, storing data, securing data, hosting data, migrating data, advertising, social sharing, providing users with services, and providing other services as described in this Privacy Policy.  We may share Your personal information with these providers and partners for their marketing and promotional purposes and so they can provide services to You (where legally required, subject to Your express consent).

  • AddThis.  AddThis allows users to share content across different Internet platforms.  We use AddThis to enable users to share via social channels and to help us understand how many people share content on our site and what content is more likely to be shared.  AddThis may use the personal data it collects for behavioural (interest based) advertising.  For more information on the information that AddThis will collect, please visit the AddThis privacy policy:  http://www.addthis.com/privacy.
  • Adobe Typekit.  We use Adobe Typekit to serve fonts on our website and to enhance the performance of our website.  Adobe Typekit may collect information relating to Your JavaScript version, the amount of time it takes for You to download and apply fonts, and whether You are using an ad blocker and the effects of Your ad blocker on website rendering.  For more information on Adobe Typekit, please visit Adobe Typekit’s privacy policy: https://www.adobe.com/privacy/policies/typekit.html.
  • Algolia.  We use Algolia to provide and optimize search functions on the Website.  Algolia may collect personal information relating to Your use of the search function on the Website.  For more information, please visit Algolia’s privacy policy:  https://www.algolia.com/policies/privacy.
  • DoubleClick/Google Ad Manager.  We use Google Ad Manager to improve advertising.  Google Ad Manager is a Google/Alphabet service which uses cookies to collect information about the user and uses user data to serve targeted advertising. For more information on the information Google Ad Manager will collect, please visit:  https://support.google.com/dfp_premium/answer/2839090?hl=en&ref_topic=7395141. If You wish to opt out of Google Ad Manager’s use of cookies, please visit: https://support.google.com/ads/answer/2662922?hl=en&ref_topic=7048998 or http://optout.networkadvertising.org/#!/.
  • Facebook.  By clicking on the Facebook button on the Website, You will be automatically transported to the official Facebook Page for BIOMIMICRY, https://www.facebook.com/biomimicryinstitute. By Your posting to BIOMIMICRY’s Facebook page, BIOMIMICRY may be able to collect personal information about You related to Your Facebook account.  For more details on the information that Facebook collects or makes available, please visit Facebook’s privacy policy: https://www.facebook.com/privacy/explanation.
  • Facebook Connect.  We use Facebook Connect to facilitate single sign on for our users.  By using Facebook Connect, We may be able to retrieve Your full name, pictures, wall posts, friend information, and other available Facebook content.  For more information on what information may be available from or collected by Facebook, please visit the Facebook privacy policy:  https://www.facebook.com/about/privacy.
  • Facebook Custom Audience. We use Facebook Custom Audience for behavioral targeting.  We upload user contact information to Facebook, and Facebook Custom Audience allows us to advertise to Website users or others with similar characteristics through the Facebook advertising network.  Please visit the Facebook privacy policy for more information: https://www.facebook.com/about/privacy/.
  • Instagram.  By clicking on the Instagram button on the Website, You will be automatically transported to the official Instagram Page for BIOMIMICRY, https://www.instagram.com/biomimicryinstitute/.
  • LinkedIn.  By clicking on the Linkedin button on the Website, You will be automatically transported to the official Linkedin page for BIOMIMICRY, https://www.linkedin.com/company/381261.
  • Mailchimp.  We use MailChimp to disseminate newsletters and other communications. MailChimp may collect information from users subscribing to BIOMIMICRY newsletters, including name, physical address, email address, IP address, phone number, details including gender, occupation, and other demographic information. For more information, please visit MailChimp’s privacy policy: https://mailchimp.com/legal/privacy/.
  • Neon CRM.  We use Neon CRM to manage relationships with our donors and members and to coordinate other fundraising activities.  We may submit Your personal information into the Neon CRM tool for these purposes.For more information on Neon CRM, please visit its privacy policy at: https://www.neoncrm.com/privacy/.
  • Skipso. We use Skipso to manage our challenge.biomimicry.org and youthchallenge.biomimicry.org websites. By submitting a project to any of our challenges, You will be submitting that information to Skipso and thus Skipso will have access to all data contained in your project submission. For more information on Skipso, please visit its privacy policy at: https://www.skipsolabs.com/en/page/privacy-en.
  • Submittable.  We use Submittable to process applications for our challenges and other projects that require submissions.  By submitting a project to any of our challenges, You will be submitting that information to Submittable and thus Submittable will have access to all data contained in Your project submission.  For more information on Submittable, please visit its privacy policy at:  https://www.submittable.com/privacy.
  • Twitter. By clicking on the Twitter button on the Website, You will automatically be transported to the official Twitter feed of BIOMIMICRY, @BIOMIMICRYINST, https://twitter.com/BIOMIMICRYINST.  By Your posting to BIOMIMICRY’s Twitter feed, BIOMIMICRY may be able to collect personal information about You related to Your Twitter account.  For more details on the information that Twitter collects or makes available, please visit Twitter’s privacy policy:  https://twitter.com/en/privacy.
  • Vimeo.  By clicking on the Vimeo button on the Website, You will be automatically transported to the official Vimeo page for BIOMIMICRY, https://www.vimeo.com/biomimicry.

B. Judges, Mentors, Advisors, the Public.

If you enter a design challenge or apply to participate in our incubator program(s), your personal information may be shared with mentors and advisors, with judges, and in certain cases, with the public.  For example, proposals or entries may be featured on Our Website or shared in other venues.  Please refer to your program materials for a particular program for more information on how your information may be shared.

C. Payment Processing.

Any payment information You provide through the Website may be shared with and may be stored by our credit card processor, Stripe, and is subject to its privacy policy, including in the case of data breach.  You may review Stripe’s privacy policy at https://stripe.com/us/privacy.

D. Business Changes.

If We become involved in a merger, acquisition, sale of assets, joint venture, securities offering, bankruptcy, reorganization, liquidation, dissolution, or other transaction or if the ownership of all or substantially all of our organization otherwise changes, We may transfer Your information to a third party or parties in connection therewith.

E. Affiliates.

We may also share Your information with our affiliates for purposes consistent with this Privacy Policy.  Our affiliates will be required to maintain that information in accordance with this Privacy Policy.

F. Investigations and Law.

We may disclose information about You to third parties if We believe that such disclosure is necessary to:

  • Comply with the law or guidance and cooperate with government or law enforcement officials or private parties;
  • Investigate, prevent or take action regarding suspected illegal activities, suspected fraud, the rights, reputation, safety, and property of us, users or others, or violations of our policies or other agreements with us;
  • Respond to claims and legal process (for example, subpoenas); and/or
  • Protect against legal liability.

G. Aggregated Information.

We may share aggregated information relating to users of the Website with affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.  This aggregated information does not contain personal information about any user.

H. Analytics.

We use third party analytics tools to better understand who is using the Website and how people are using it.  These tools may use cookies and other technologies to collect information about Your use of the Website and Your preferences and activities.  These tools collect information sent by Your device or the Website and other information that assists us in improving the Website.  This information may be used to, among other things, analyze and track data, determine the popularity of certain content, and better understand Your online activity.

We use Google Analytics to conduct user ID tracking for logged-in users and to better understand who is using the Website and how people are using it. Google Analytics uses cookies, pixel tags, and other technologies to collect and store information such as Website pages visited, places where users click, time spent on each Website page, Internet Protocol address, type of operating system used, location-based data, device ID, search history, gender, age, and phone number. We use this information to improve the Website and as otherwise described in this Privacy Policy. Please see http://www.google.com/policies/privacy/partners/ for information about how Google Analytics uses this information, and visit https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout for information about the Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on. Google may track Your activity over time and across websites.  We also participate in certain Google Advertiser features including Demographics and Interest Reporting, Remarketing, and Google Display Network Impression Reporting. These features use third-party cookies and other tracking mechanisms and allow us to market our products to You through advertisements on other websites. You can opt out of these Google features by downloading and installing Google’s opt-out browser add-on.

We use Heap analytics to better understand how the Website is being used.  Heap conducts user ID tracking for logged-in users and uses cookies, pixel tags, and other technologies to collect information regarding users and their actions on the Website including clicks, taps, swipes, form submissions, and page views. Heap may collect information regarding such cookie and interaction data, IP address, and other information the user may interact with on the Website.  We use this information to improve the Website and as otherwise described in this Privacy Policy.  For more information about the information that Heap may collect, please visit https://heapanalytics.com/terms.

I. Cookies and Other Tracking Technologies

We, along with third parties, use cookies, local storage objects, web beacons and other technologies.  These technologies are used for analyzing, personalizing, and optimizing the Website.

Cookies are small files that are transferred to and stored on Your device through Your web browser (if You allow it) that enable the website’s or service provider’s system to recognize Your browser and capture and remember certain information.  You can instruct Your browser to stop accepting cookies.  But if You do not accept cookies, You may not be able to use all portions of all functionality of the Website.

  • Persistent cookies remain on the visitor’s computer after the browser has been closed.
  • Session cookies exist only during a visitor’s online session and disappear from the visitor’s computer when they close the browser software.

Flash cookies (also known as local shared objects) are data files that can be created on Your computer by the websites You visit and are a way for websites to store information for later use. Flash cookies are stored in different parts of Your computer from ordinary browser cookies.  You can disable the storage of flash cookies.  For additional information about managing and disabling flash cookies, please visit http://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/disable-local-shared-objects-flash.html.

Web beacons are small strings of code that provide a method for delivering a graphic image on a web page or in an email message for the purpose of transferring data.  You can disable the ability of web beacons to capture information by blocking cookies.

We use cookies and other tracking technologies on the website to help us understand and save Your preferences and interests so We can personalize Your future visits and compile aggregate data about website traffic and website interaction so that We can offer better website experiences and tools in the future.

Some of our business partners, such as our analytics provider, also use cookies and other tracking technologies on the Website, some of which may track users across websites and over time.

5. Security

We implement a variety of security measures to protect the safety of Your personal information when You enter, submit, or access Your personal information.

While We take reasonable measures to protect the information You submit via the Website against loss, theft and unauthorized use, disclosure, or modification, We cannot guarantee its absolute security. No Internet, email, or mobile application transmission is ever fully secure or error free.  Email or other messages sent through the Website may not be secure. You should use caution whenever submitting information through the Website and take special care in deciding with which information You provide us.

We cannot guarantee that transmissions of Your personal information will be fully secure and that third parties will never be able to defeat our security measures or the security measures of our partners.  WE ASSUME NO LIABILITY FOR DISCLOSURE OF YOUR INFORMATION DUE TO TRANSMISSION ERRORS, THIRD-PARTY ACCESS OR CAUSES BEYOND OUR CONTROL.
Any information collected through the Website is stored and processed in the United States. If You use our Website outside of the United States, You consent to have Your data transferred to the United States.

6. Data Retention Policy, Managing Your Information

We will retain Your information for as long as You use the Website and for a reasonable time thereafter.  We may maintain anonymized or aggregated data, including usage data, for analytics purposes.  We may retain and use Your information as necessary to comply with our legal obligations, resolve disputes, and enforce our agreements, and/or the period required by laws in applicable jurisdictions.  Please note that some or all of the information We have collected may be required for the Website to function properly.

7. Links to Other Websites or Applications

This Privacy Policy applies only to the Website. The Website may contain links to other websites or apps or may forward users to other websites or apps that We may not own or operate and to which this Privacy Policy does not apply. The links from the Website do not imply that We endorse or have reviewed these websites or apps. The policies and procedures We describe here do not apply to these websites or apps. We neither can control nor are responsible for the privacy practices or content of these websites or apps. We suggest contacting these websites or app providers directly for information on their privacy policies.  Nonetheless, We seek to protect the integrity of our Website, and welcome any feedback about these linked websites and mobile applications.

8. Your Choices Regarding Your Information

You have choices regarding the use of information by the Website.

  • Changing Your Information – You may request to review, update, or have deleted any personal information collected from You through the Website.  Just send us an email asking to review or update Your personal information, or to have us delete Your personal information.  However, We reserve the right to retain personal information as necessary for our business purposes and to comply with federal and state laws.  To change Your information, please login to Your account and edit Your profile or contact us at [email protected].
  • Closing Your Account – If the email account associated with Your email address is not active, We may remove it from our system without notice.
  • Withdrawing Consent – If You are an individual residing in the EU, and You provided Your consent for any particular processing of Your personal information, You have the right to withdraw Your consent to our processing of Your information any time. You may also request that Your personal information be deleted. See further under the section EU Privacy Rights below.  This deletion is permanent and Your information cannot be reinstated.  To proceed with this request, please email [email protected]
  • Opt-Outs Available from Our Partners – Some of our partners allow users to opt-out of their collection of information.  Some of our partners provide information on controlling cookies.  For more information You may visit the Network Advertising Initiative’s Consumer Opt-Out Link and/or the Digital Advertising Alliance’s Consumer Opt-Out Link to opt-out of receiving tailored advertising from companies that participate in those programs.  To opt out of Google Analytics for Display Advertising or customize Google Display Network ads, You can visit the Google Ads Settings page.  Please note that to the extent advertising technology is integrated into the Website, You may still receive advertisements even if You opt-out of tailored advertising.  In that case, the ads will just not be tailored to Your interests.  Also, We do not control any of the opt-out links above and are not responsible for any choices You make using these mechanisms or the continued availability or accuracy of these mechanisms.

9. EU Privacy Rights

Users based in the European Union have the following legal rights in respect of their information:

  • The right to require BIOMIMICRY to confirm whether or not their information is being processed, the purpose of any such processing, the recipients of any information that has been disclosed, the period for which their information is to be stored and whether any automated decision-making processes are used in relation to their information;
  • The right to require BIOMIMICRY to rectify inaccurate information without undue delay;
  • The right to request the erasure of their information. Subject to certain conditions, BIOMIMICRY may be required to erase the information in response to such request where:
    • the information is no longer necessary in relation to the purpose for which it was collected, such as where a user chooses to terminate his or her use of the Website;
    • where the processing of the information is based on the user’s consent (and the other circumstances described in the Legal Bases for Processing Your Information and How Your information is Disclosed sections above no longer apply), if the user withdraws his or her consent; or
    • the user objects to the processing of his or her information and there are no overriding legitimate grounds for the processing.
  • Where BIOMIMICRY has disclosed the information of a European Union user to a third party and the user requests the erasure or rectification of the data, BIOMIMICRY will take all reasonable steps to inform the third party of such request.
  • The right to restrict BIOMIMICRY from processing their information in certain circumstances, such as where the accuracy of that information is disputed or an objection has been raised (see below). In such circumstances, BIOMIMICRY will only process that information with the express consent of the user, or for the establishment, exercise or defense of legal claims or for the protection of the rights of another natural or legal person or for reasons of important public interest;
  • The right to receive their information from BIOMIMICRY in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format;
  • The right to object to the processing of their information by BIOMIMICRY where:
  • BIOMIMICRY has relied on the ‘legitimate interest’ basis for processing that information, in which case We will immediately stop processing the user’s information unless We have compelling legitimate grounds which override the interests, rights and freedoms of the user; or
    • the information is used for direct marketing purposes, in which case We will immediately stop processing the user’s information for such purposes.
  • The right to lodge a complaint with the data protection supervisory authority of the EU member state where the user resides.
  • The above legal rights are subject to various conditions and exceptions including where the data is used for statistical or scientific research purposes and the exercise of the right would prevent such purposes from being attained or would seriously impair their attainment.

10. Information Collected From Other Websites and Mobile Applications and Do Not Track Policy

Your browser or device may offer You a “Do Not Track” option, which allows You to signal to operators of websites, web applications, mobile applications and services (including behavioral advertising services) that You do not wish such operators to track certain of Your online activities over time and/or across different websites or applications. Our Website does not support Do Not Track requests at this time, which means that We or our analytics providers or other third parties with which We are working may collect information about Your online activity both during and after Your use of the Website.

11. Children

Our Website is not intended for children under 16 years of age.  We do not knowingly collect personal information from an individual under age 16.  If You are under the age of 16, please do not submit any personal information through the Website.  If You have reason to believe that We may have accidentally received personal information from an individual under age 16, please contact us immediately at [email protected].

12. Changes to Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to update or modify this Privacy Policy at any time and from time to time without prior notice.  Please review this Privacy Policy periodically, and especially before You provide any information.  This Privacy Policy was made effective on the date indicated above.

13. How to Contact Us

For any enquiries or complaints relating to the use of Your personal information or this Privacy Policy, please feel free to contact us by emailing us at [email protected] or by writing us at Biomimicry Institute, PO Box 9216, Missoula, Montana 59807.

14. Your California Privacy Rights

Section 1798.83 of the California Civil Code permits California residents to request from a business, with whom the California resident has an established business relationship, certain information about the types of personal information the business has shared with third parties for those third parties’ direct marketing purposes and the names and addresses of the third parties with whom the business has shared such information during the immediately preceding calendar year.  California residents may make one request each year by emailing us at [email protected] or writing us at Biomimicry Institute, PO Box 9216, Missoula, Montana 59807.


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