Utilities Digital Solutions Europe

HULO’s Robbert Lodewijks on securing investment and scaling an AI solution

Monday, 1 January 2024

Dutch-based startup HULO.ai has secured €800k in funding from LUMO Labs and the Netherlands Enabling Water Technology (NEW) Fund to combat large-scale losses of drinking water using advanced AI algorithms. 

Cloud-based water solutions 

The Wetsus Research Institute spin-off plans to enhance its cloud-based solution, making it scalable and adaptable globally. The funds will facilitate market expansion, targeting regions facing critical water scarcity and leakage issues.

Speaking to Aquatech Online, Robbert Lodewijks, co-founder and CEO of HULO.ai said: “Our decision to raise external funding was driven by the urgent need to address global water scarcity challenges, this reflects our commitment to enhancing our cloud-based AI solutions for water loss prevention.

“It’s not only about the investment, but the knowledge these investors have on board is invaluable for the global impact we want to make with this company.”

Lodewijks said the company will use the investment to further enhance its technology, making it adaptable to varying global market needs and to “take the software to the next level”.

Product refinement and growth strategy 

HULO.ai’s first utility deployments in the Netherlands have shown promising results of accuracy of detection and real-time localisation, thereby reducing water loss and mitigating potential damages such as sinkholes and infrastructure failures, Lodewijks said.

He told Aquatech: “By improving leak detection accuracy, our technology minimises the need for extensive physical infrastructure checks, making water management more efficient and sustainable.”

Over the next few years HULO.ai’s growth strategy revolves around global expansion, particularly in areas where water scarcity is most acute.

“By leveraging our cloud-based solution's scalability, we aim to extend our reach and impact, Lodewijks said. “This involves not only geographic expansion but also the continuous refinement of our product and service offerings to meet diverse requirements.

“As we look towards the future, our goal is to use our technology to help water utilities worldwide, especially in battling water scarcity. The vision is to create a lasting impact that we can proudly share with future generations, underscoring our commitment to sustainable water management.”


Physical infrastructure checks

Founded in 2021, HULO’s AI solution detects and locates real-time water leakages within distribution networks, allowing for efficient interventions. The ambition is to minimise the need for extensive physical infrastructure checks, reduce water loss, and contribute to the conservation of precious natural resources.

Andy Lürling, founding partner of LUMO Labs, acknowledged HULO.ai's potential to lead and transform the global water management industry.

"We are drawn by HULO.ai’s potential to lead and transform the water management industry on a global scale with its cutting-edge AI technology,” he said.


Investing in start-ups 

Boudewijn Hulst, investment manager of the NEW Fund highlighted the fund's dedication to investing in startups in the water technology sector. 

“Loss of clean drinking water through leakages and ineffective infrastructure management is a growing problem in a world increasingly facing a scarcity of clean water,” said Hulst. “HULO.ai’s technology empowers businesses to conserve not only financial resources but, perhaps more importantly, water.”