Thoughts on Water and Startups

This past week I gave a talk on  water to a group attending TechVenture 2013 in Singapore.

This is a conference centered on startups in Singapore and SE Asia.  Perhaps about 1000 people were in general attendance, but my talk drew about 50 people.

Here is the presentation I gave.

Generally, the problem with innovation in the area of water technology is that the basic inventions can be made and that is where papers get published, ideas can create buzz.  But water is so basic, so important and so prone to being difficult over time and under different circumstances that  companies mistake innovation for the nitty-gritty nuts and bolts of making a solid long lived product.

Finisar makes fiber optic transceivers and these sell today for well below $20 even at 10 Gb/s.  But what makes these parts so remarkable is that when the end customer gets them they are plugged in, and run 7/24 for up to 20+ years and it is quite likely that every single bit they transmit is received error free for the life time of the product.  They are inexpensive, reliable, accurate and all beyond any normal standards we see in ordinary life.

And it has to be the same for water.  1B, yes one billion, people are without clean drinking water on a daily basis.  And no shiny idea from a small company installed in a village will likely stand the test of time working under mishandling, bad weather, changes in water input quality, etc. that is required to deliver trusted water for drinking to the village year after year.

If you think you know how to do this at the same level Finisar delivers transceivers, then give us a shout here at Small World Group.

Yeah.

 

Posted in Essays, Green Perspectives, Singapore Incubator, StartUp Ideas

  1. bb says:

    Frank,

    Point well made about water.

    Underlying issue to water is affordable power. No power – no pumping, no filtering, no distribution, no crops, no commerce. Drought begets poverty, poverty begets social breakdown and you have seen the rest of the story.

    Underlying issue of no power is no affordable energy.

    So what if we figured out how to make the power out of the water for pennies a kWh?

    And now we are figuring out how to use the same water 5 – 6 or 7 times. And you can still drink it?

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