Sci & Tech

Water Saving Startup Wins First Round

Water Saving Startup  Wins First Round Water Saving Startup  Wins First Round

A digital and new technologies startup competition called Seedstars World was held in the Iranian capital Tehran this weekend to great fanfare with a unique startup company winning the first round.

The event returned for a second time to Tehran to identify the next big digital startup with global potential. The event took place on September 3 at Avatech Accelerator on Tehran University’s Engineering Faculty campus in the west of the city.

At the event, 12 startups were selected for the local competition. Each team received six minutes to pitch their early-stage startup and four minutes for questions from a panel of experts.  The winning team Smart Been won an all-inclusive trip to Switzerland to attend the global pitch event.

Smart Been is a climate controller for greenhouses that allows owners to manage and control everything in a greenhouse. The company sets up sensors with an online control panel and mobile applications that help control and analyze greenhouse indices from remote locations.

What is unique about the startup is how they are integrating humidity and water sensors in the greenhouse to release water only when it is needed.

If implemented on a large scale, the new system could save Iranian and global companies millions of dollars annually in water bills.

The startup was created by Iranian-Armenian Edwin Baboomian who has a long experience in the field, according to his business profile.

The inventor has been working in the sector for the past three years with a growing list of sensors and technology under his belt.

The fact that Baboomian and his water saving technology outclassed their competitors signifies the emergence of a more mature startup in the country.

Prior to Smart Bean’s win, all startup companies primarily focused on e-commerce websites.

  The Competition

In the finals, the winning team, after going through several rounds, receives an equity investment worth $500,000 and access to Seedstars’ network of investors.

To enter the competition, startups were either invited with an invitation code, or filled up the preliminary application form from the Seedstars World Tehran page.

Applications were then reviewed and qualified startups were invited to complete a more detailed application form.

Financial Tribune contacted Baboomian about his success in the first round of the international competition.

“The competition was more exciting than it was challenging,” Baboomian said on phone.

“Several competitors have already managed to attract the attention of many customers.”

When asked about his plans for Switzerland, the young scientist said he is now making preparations for the time he will have to spend there.

“We will also have to implement the technology in greenhouses inside Iran and prepare kits that will be sent to Switzerland,” he said.

Baboomian noted that tackling the water crisis needs international effort.

Iran receives limited precipitation, because of which it is even more important to reduce water usage in the country.

According to Baboomian, water usage in households is not the main problem in Iran, as “most of the water is wasted in agriculture”.

“Water shortage can be alleviated to a great extent by using modern technologies,” he said.    

  A Pressing Need

Iran’s reservoirs are only 40% full, according to official figures, and nine cities, including the capital Tehran, face the risk of water restrictions after successive dry winters.

The situation is more critical in the country’s Sistan-Baluchestan Province, an area bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Government subsidies on water have done nothing to encourage efficiency over the past three decades and public education messages on television and radio have failed to reduce water consumption in the country’s agricultural and industrial sectors.

Agricultural use—for water-intensive crops such as rice and corn—is thought to gobble nearly 90% of national supply, with experts saying irrigation is poorly managed and results in high wastage.

Municipal workers are also to blame for the decline in groundwater levels. Often they are seen using large hose pipes to water green areas in the midday sunshine.

Only new science and technologies can help tackle the growing water crisis in the country and products like Baboomian’s are likely to garner a lot of attention in the coming years.