Economy, Sci & Tech

Silicon Valley Backs Water Saving Shower

Silicon Valley Backs Water Saving Shower
Silicon Valley Backs Water Saving Shower

Silicon Valley tech giants and backers are flocking to a water-conserving shower head as a solution for the California drought.

A shower system produced by the startup Nebia raised more than $1.3 million in two days on Kickstarter after raising initial funds from such backers as Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook and Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s family foundation.

The company says the shower uses 70% less water than a typical shower head, reports.

The shower head atomizes water to create millions of water droplets and a surface area 10 times greater than that of a normal shower.

A Nebia shower head is said to use 0.75 gallon a minute, which compares with an industry standard of 2.5 gallons a minute, according to the company.

Despite the Silicon Valley investments, Philip Winter, chief executive and co-founder of Nebia, said the company wanted to turn to Kickstarter to gauge interest and further develop the product.

“It gives you a sense for demand,” Winter said.

The company’s original Kickstarter goal was $100,000.

The product is currently in beta testing and Nebia has installed it in Equinox Gyms and on the Google and Apple and Stanford University campuses.

The idea for the shower head dates back to 2010, when co-founder Carlos Gomez Andonaegui lived in Mexico and was looking for a way to conserve water while working as the chief executive of a large gym.

Andonaegui and his father, who is now 88 and an adviser to the startup, developed a shower head prototype and teamed up with Winter, who had worked for a toilet water conservation startup called Toilets for People.

The startup then moved to San Francisco.

While the original intent was not to combat California’s drought problem, Winter said the company has seen increased interest recently.

“It has opened a lot of doors,” he said.

On Kickstarter, early backers can purchase the product at a discounted price of $249. Winter said it is expected to retail at $399.

At first, the shower head will only be available on the company site, but later, Winter said, the company hopes to sell it to businesses and place it with nontraditional retailers such as Patagonia or even at Apple stores.

Iran is also facing multiple droughts due to climate change and pollution is also an ideal candidate for such a product. Currently, only a handful of startups in Iran are dealing with water-saving devices, one of them is currently in Avatech Accelerator called Smartbeen that analyses water consumption when growing plants.