Friday, July 19, 2024

Safe Drinking Water For Urban India

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DrinkPrime’s water purifiers are trying to solve the problem of providing safe drinking water at reasonable price, without investing in the water purifiers. For this they take help of technology to keep track of water quality and provide the purifiers on a subscription model

In spite of thirty years of the water purification industry, and new technologies being launched, the branded bottled water is believed to be much safer for drinking purposes. Besides, the migrant population finds it a better choice than investing in a water purifier. DrinkPrime addresses the issue of providing safe drinking water without the heavy investment on a good water purifier.

Started by computer science and MBA graduates Manas Ranjan Hota and Vijender Reddy Muthyala, respectively, in 2016, DrinkPrime looks at the root cause of the problem—the source of the water. Ignored for years, the water quality varies from one area to another, based on its source and seasonal changes.

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A TDS (total dissolved solids) between 50 and 150ppm is considered good for a drinking water, but it does not give any idea about the amount of minerals present in the water. Hence, it cannot be considered a reliable measure of the water’s quality.

DrinkPrime’s unique feature is an IoT-enabled customised water purifier that is connected via Bluetooth for a continuous stream of data for a regular tracking of water quality. Its smart sensors can also monitor the amount of water consumed. The details are available on an app.

Manas and Vijay with DrinkPrime’s version 3 of water purifier
Manas and Vijay with DrinkPrime’s version 3 of water purifier

The various subscription plans available include hardware, installation, service, and capital costs. Technicians check and service the water purifier every four months to ensure it is in top condition to provide the best possible water quality. This helps in keeping track of the purifier’s health so that the water consumed remains safe. Consumers are not charged for this service.

There are at present more than 100,000 consumers across Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Delhi-NCR, with tenants being their major customers. Manas says, “The landlords are being advised to keep the purifier so that the next tenant takes it, making it a win-win situation for both.”

DrinkPrime is currently looking for both financial and technical partners, as well as service technicians and customer acquisition executives. Currently, their financiers are Omidyar Network India, Sequoia Surge (`210 million), Alteria Capital (`60 million), UC Inclusive Credit (`50 million), and Western Capital (`30 million). Their current valuation is `2.02 billion.

The three challenges that they currently face concern testing, supply-chain, and innovation. From the water samples collected from each area, over twenty parameters are checked, including TDS, turbidity, chloride levels, pH levels, minerals, and metals present.

But not everything can be tested online, as some samples need to be kept in a solvent, adding a catalyst to obtain results. “We would be happy to collaborate in a cost-effective way for our supply-chain management. Innovation to increase the life of the water purifier is also something we are dealing with,” says Vijender Reddy.

The main vision currently before the founders is to ensure that the vast majority of India’s population drinks the right water, starting with the rural areas. As time progresses, they would like to provide water at less than one rupee per litre, or set up community kiosks where people could fill water in rural India.


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