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Founder Profile: Sarp Sekeroglu, Co-Founder– Water Pigeon
We’ve had many entrepreneurs come through Imagine H2O trying to reinvent the metering game, but no one quite as passionate about their venture as Sarp. An engineer at heart, Sarp decided to tackle the problem through a novel approach, a camera-containing piece of hardware designed to accomplish what a standard meter never could. One of the most passionate founders we have had the pleasure of working with, Sarp brought unparalleled levels of enthusiasm to SF Week. His excitement to revolutionize the water industry and always present sense of humor is a part of what makes his team at Water Pigeon so successful. We are excited to introduce you to our pigeon-loving friend, Sarp.
Who are you and what was the path that led you to Water Pigeon?
I am one of the co-founders of Water Pigeon. I am originally from Turkey and completed my Masters in the sunny city of San Diego. I have worked in most sectors within water resources, from seawater desalination to wastewater treatment. After working in consulting for a few years, I decided to take my talents elsewhere and launch this startup. At Water Pigeon, we lower the barriers of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) for the water utilities. They need higher resolution water consumption data and our technology allows them to access it fast and simple.
Where did you get the idea for Water Pigeon?
The idea was originated when I saw the need to automate water meter reading. The current method for reading water meters is archaic, meaning high resolution water consumption data is just not available. I pitched the original approach at Startup Week San Diego and as if it were destiny, my co-founder, Clay, was in the crowd. We immediately got together and started hacking on the idea. With Clay’s wireless background and my engineering one, we optimized the product for cellular communication and simple installation. With its current shape and form, Water Pigeon is the most affordable and easiest to deploy AMI technology out there.
What’s the core value you provide for your customer?
By simply swapping the lid of the meter box, utilities can convert a manually read meter to an automatically read meter. It’s that simple. This approach saves about 50% of the capital requirements to smarten a meter, and can deploy about 10 times faster than the traditional AMI technologies out there.
Water metering is a dense space. How does Water Pigeon successfully differentiate itself?
All other metering / AMI companies are approaching the problem in the same way. Change the meters, attach radios/antennas to them, build a wireless network, some using a cellular network. That approach is focused on selling, rather than solving the problems of the utilities, and providing actionable data. We decided to think out of the box, literally. Our focus is making the data available through minimum interference with the existing infrastructure. Additionally, we minimize capital risks for the utilities with our performance based meter reading service model.
So from a utility perspective, implementing Water Pigeon requires minimum technology risk as we don’t touch the existing infrastructure and minimum capital risk as we can deliver data as a service.
We have to know, where did you get the name Water Pigeon?
It’s simple really. Pigeons were the first wireless data carriers. And we deliver water consumption data over cellular networks. Hence, the Water Pigeon. Brilliant, if I do say so myself.
What are your priorities for 2018?
We have started our Seed Round funding ($1M) and our goal is to close that in June. This round will allow us to convert our pilot customers into paid accounts, finalize our patents and release the production version of our product to consumers. From there, it’s about scaling. We are already in contract discussions with two clients and plan on shipping 3,000 units before the end of the year.
Sum up your IH2O experience in just 3 words.
Pathway to success.
Sarp and the team at Water Pigeon have a very exciting 2018 ahead of them. Feel free to reach out to him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay tuned through @imagineh2o on Twitter for the latest updates on the 2018 Accelerator companies.