Minhaj Chowdhury, Drinkwell CEO and Co-Founder, shares his journey deploying and scaling his water access solution across Chittagong, Bangladesh. Discover how he is expanding Drinkwell’s impact by collaborating with the World Bank and the Imagine H2O Urban Water Challenge. Original post: http://blogs.worldbank.org/water/building-smarter-water-partnerships Can smart philanthropy catalyze public-private partnerships that balance long-term financial sustainability with the […]
Founder Profile: Nancy Hartsoch, CEO —AquaSeca
A true serial entrepreneur, Nancy Hartsoch has been an influential addition to the IH2O 2017 Accelerator. The Team at AquaSeca are building an easy-install, whole-building solution to flow monitoring and leak detection, starting in the commercial building market. Taking a breather from fundraising she sat down to talk with us. Enjoy.
Give us an overview of what you and the team at AquaSeca are working on.
Directly engaging with customers and investors, as well as ensuring that our products provide a “have-to-have” value proposition is my focus as CEO. Enabling commercial buildings managers to reduce operating costs and waste by protect property from water damage and manage water usage is what drives our business. I’ve brought to this new endeavor 30+ years in entrepreneurial and multi-national companies in solar energy and semiconductors. Moving in to water has it’s challenges, as any sector does, but it’s been fascinating and energizing for me and the team so far.
Where did you get the idea for AquaSeca?
After a decade in solar energy, our founders were looking to see where limited resources could benefit from technology advancements. Coupling that interest with a very expensive water event for one of our founders resulted in a scientific investigation to find a solution to better water management including leak identification. We look at water as a key resource which has been underserved by advancements in technology, and as such is laden with enormous commercial opportunity. We want to tap in to that pent-up demand.
What’s the value you provide for your customer?
Enabling commercial building managers to reduce operating costs and waste by protecting property from water damage and managing whole-building water usage is what drives our business. We help hard-working people save money, and avoid events that can ruin their customer experience for months, with considerable financial hardship thrown in. On top of the operational experience, we act as a pre-insurance insurance policy for the people who depend on us being right.
As a hardware company, what’s best advice you have received on creating a product?
A key factor is to remember that you are building a hardware and software solution, which is different than introducing a software product alone. That means increased complexity, so avoid ambitious Gantt charts. It will take more time, it will take more testing….but it is imperative to get your stakeholders to understand that a hardware product combined with software has much higher value and has higher barriers to entry. What we’re doing is hard to get right, but once we’ve done it and we are proving out our value proposition in the launch markets, it’s going to be tough to replicate.
What should other hardware founders watch out for?
Try not to let others evaluate your plans as they would a software product, and most importantly don’t skimp on the test reliability issues. Test and test and test. It will bite you in the end if you don’t. It only takes one false positives or negative to ruin your credibility with a customer, so log the hours before you make your customer promise.
What are your priorities for 2017?
Closing our $2M capital raise, delivering on our first customer order, deploying 10 customer trail-to-revenue programs with 10 top property management firms. Things are moving pretty fast, but we’re excited.
Sum up your IH2O experience in 3 words.
Hmmm, I suppose… a “connected inspired mindset”. It’s great fun working with you.