WaterSmart Seeks to Build Out Web-based Services to Conserve Water
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improve its technology through a couple of pilot programs in Orange and Sonoma Counties. The online service, once it’s ready for wide-scale usage, will be made available to homeowners for free.
“It’s at a proof of concept stage now,” he says. “We want to show that it works.”
The $900,000 in seed funding that WaterSmart raised last month will enable the company to recruit additional software developers and Web designers, and to start four more pilot programs with water utilities before the end of this year. The Menlo Incubator, co-founded by Match.com founder Gary Kremen, led the investment, which was joined by Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Physic Ventures, and Sand Hill Angels.
WaterSmart plans to initially target areas with big populations and low water availability, where their technology can make a big difference in saving costs and reducing use, Steiner says. So far, that means cities like Las Vegas, Denver, Phoenix, and regions such as Southern California and Texas. Altogether, Steiner estimates there are about 55,000 water districts and agencies nationwide, although most of those are relatively small water districts with less than 10,000 customers.
Nevertheless, the WaterSmart co-founder views it as a significantly bigger market, than the 3,300 electric utilities that dozens of energy-efficiency startups have been targeting. In comparison, Steiner says WaterSmart has relatively few competitors. While a handful of companies like IBM, Oracle, and SAP provide information technology to water districts, he says, “Where we see competition is where companies already sell smart water readers or mesh networks to utility customers.”
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