Swiss start-up raises investment to expand digital water platform
Swiss start-up Droople has raised CHF1.5M (US1.6m) to expand its in-building AI water-monitoring solution.
Monitoring beyond the smart meter
A Swiss start-up that provides in-building digital water management solutions has raised CHF1.5M (US1.6m) seed round finance from private investors to expand international operations.
Called Droople and founded in 2018, the Swiss company provides an Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform to provide real-time access to data across water treatment systems and appliances.
The company targets water assets “beyond the smart meter” inside residential, commercial, or public properties, such as water plumbing systems, sanitary ware (toilets and taps), and kitchen appliances.
Currently, the company is targeting service providers for water filtration systems and food equipment and facility management companies. The concept is to monitor and provide more data on assets to help predict maintenance and reduce water and energy waste.
36+ billion assets “off radar”
Sacha Labourey, co-founder and CEO of US software business CloudBees was the lead investor in the seed round.
The investment will support Droople’s market expansion over three continents, spanning Europe and the Middle East, North America and Asia Pacific. Funds will also be used to scale supply chain operations, as well as the relocation of the company headquarters in Switzerland.
Co-founded by Ramzi Bouzerda, CEO and Peter Racz, head of business development, Droople ambitiously believes there are "36+ billion water assets off the radar today" which could potentially be monitored.
The solution consists of a combined hardware and software approach. Battery operated modules called iLink read digital or analogue sensors from the market on parameters including flow, temperature, pressure, TDS, chlorine and pH.
Data is pre-processed on the Edge and transmitted through LoRaWAN to the AI-enabled cloud platform.
Speaking to Aquatech Online, Ramzi Bouzerda said: “We are able to cover water consumption, energy consumption in water, hardness, and we are heading to quality metrics like chlorine, but there's no plan for bacteria/microplastics/PFAS capabilities in the short term."
Potential applications include managing and monitoring water treatment systems, including reverse osmosis (RO) systems, filters and softeners, to dispending systems (water coolers, taps and fountains).
Applications and user cases
Commenting on applications to date, the CEO added: “First we started to audit the heat repurpose potential from compressors of cold rooms (food storage) running with water cooling process. This was at the science and technology institution, EPFL - Swiss Federal Institution of Technology Lausanne.
“Then we started to equip filters, softeners, and RO systems to monitor them and predict their maintenance. Finally, we have different implementations in buildings for water savings and cleaning schedule optimisation, promoting hand hygiene and water conservation in schools.”
Droople developed a solution for the Ecole Vivalys Ecublens school in Switzerland to automatically measure its students' level of hand hygiene through connected water sensors. Data collected by sensors are displayed in real-time on a screen and the school’s website, which can then be analysed by staff.
The organisation was recently selected as a Finalist in the Hitachi Innovation Challenge for Circular Economy, jointly launched by Hitachi’s Water & Environment Business Unit (WEBU) and its Corporate Venturing Office.
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