Apana (IH2O ‘16) Announces $3.5MM Series A investment and Participation in Wells Fargo’s IN² Incubator
Does water efficiency pay? Increasingly, the answer is yes. For Apana (IH2O ‘16), enabling end-users to manage water like inventory through IoT is a growing business. Costco Wholesale, one of Apana’s early clients, uses the technology to reduce water consumption by 22% at over 150 installations. Such results are attracting capital, customers and partnerships to this Bellingham, Washington-based startup. In January, Apana announced a $3.5MM Series A round of financing led by Japan-based Kurita Water Industries, Ltd. Additionally, Incubation Innovator (IN²), an initiative of the Wells Fargo Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, accepted Apana into its 2017 program. Apana’s recent successes are a reminder of the power of partnerships and further validation of Imagine H2O’s path to market programming.
Commercial and institutional facilities like office buildings, grocery stores, and hospitals are significant consumers of resources, responsible for 9% of water use and 40% of energy use in the United States. Although many of these facilities already use monitoring and alert technology to manage and reduce electricity consumption, few have adopted a similarly comprehensive approach to water. This is changing as water scarcity looms, the public takes notice, and water-dependent companies look for ways to reduce water consumption and save money.
Enter Apana, a company on a mission to eliminate water waste in the built environment. The smart water management system uses IoT and prescriptive analytics to scan water infrastructure and identify inefficiencies, mechanical failure, and operational misuse. Data is delivered in the form of clear and actionable strategies for resolving problems and improving processes. Informed business owners and building managers not only understand their liabilities but know how to implement solutions to remedy them.
Identifying waste has clear financial benefits for clients. Apana is credited with helping a major food service operation identify a malfunctioning pressure release valve that had been wasting 1,800 gallons of hot water per day for over a year. Another retail customer used Apana to discover a leak near its stored inventory, enabling the client to instantly notify staff and avoiding significant inventory loss and business interruption.
Despite the clear benefits of applying IoT solutions to the water industry, scaling a new business requires that entrepreneurs leverage partners to secure funding, gain visibility, and test in the real world. Through its participation in Imagine H2O’s 2016 Accelerator, Apana sourced two investors, including its Series A lead, and three major corporate customers via the organization’s Beta Partner network.
Apana’s market momentum was a primary reason Imagine H2O nominated the company to Wells Fargo’s IN² program, an invitation-only platform promoting resource efficiency innovations in the built environment. Through the program, Apana will receive up to $250,000 in non-dilutive capital, financial and technical consultation from a network of experts, and research and testing support at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a world-class facility in Golden, CO, to advance their technologies. Innovations that meet program milestones in the lab will then have an opportunity to beta test their technologies within Wells Fargo’s 100m square feet of real estate holdings, a one-of-a kind opportunity to scale solutions within a Fortune 25 company’s framework.
Apana’s conservation solutions for corporate ratepayers have also caught the attention of water agencies. In 2016 Apana was awarded an Innovative Conservation Program grant from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, a founding member of Imagine H2O’s Beta Partner network and the largest supplier of treated water in the U.S. This grant further enables Apana to validate the water saving potential and reliability of their innovative IoT solution.
Coupled with the IN² opportunity and recently announced partnerships, Apana is well-positioned to successfully navigate what has historically been a challenging market. Meeting future water demand and solving critical water challenges requires innovative solutions across industries; Apana is contributing in a significant way, helping heavy users like grocery stores, hotels, wineries, cooling tower users and others step out of the role of water consumer, and into the role of “water steward.”