Watter

Watter is a unique, eco-friendly hydropower device that’s cheaper to build and maintain - providing a competitive alternative to solar panels and diesel generators.
Watter

Meet the team

Sheldon Swanepoel – Business Development
Sheldon is responsible for business development and has always been passionate about startups and innovation. He has an MSc in International Management and has studied Entrepreneurship as an undergraduate.

Ananya Dubey – Product R&D
Ananya is an M.Eng. Aeronautical Engineer involved in product R&D and control systems development. She’s worked on and led a diverse range of design projects and loves to think outside the box to find innovative strategies to approach tough engineering problems.

Nikhil Dawda – Product R&D
Nikhil is an M.Eng. Aeronautical Engineer who is responsible for Fluid Mechanics modelling and product R&D. Having worked at Dyson Technology centre and completed a Masters project in energy production optimisation for wind farms, he enjoys creating ideas that challenge the status quo of current technology.

Manith Adikari – Product Design & Manufacturing
Manith is an M.Eng. Mechanical Engineering student who specialises in product design & manufacturing. He has previously co-founded a start-up developing agricultural equipment and has also interned at Toyota and BP.

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The problem

Currently, 800 million people around the world don’t have access to a centralised grid connection. Solar panels and diesel generators are popular solutions for off-grid energy generation, but they are expensive and unreliable. We do have an untapped source of energy flowing right past us 24/7 – rivers, but the small-scale hydropower generators that have been around for centuries, haven’t moved away from a rotor technology design. This limits the applications of these devices to regions of fast flows or steep gradients and has high installation and maintenance costs.

The solution

We have the answer! Watter is a unique, eco-friendly 10kwh micro hydropower device that has abandoned the concept of turbines altogether allowing it to operate at 33% of the minimum flow speed required by the next best alternative. This means Watter devices can tackle previously inoperable stretches of river. What’s more, our device requires minimum civil works and maintenance, making it a cheaper alternative to the more commonly used diesel generators and solar panel systems. Finally, additional units can work together to match increasing consumer demand.

Why did you apply to the Summer Accelerator Programme?

The Summer Accelerator has provided us with access to masterclasses and coaching sessions on the necessary aspects of business development from customer discovery to financing routes. This is invaluable for novice entrepreneurs like us when it comes to developing a sustainable business strategy. The one-to-one mentoring and experts-in-residence sessions have also helped us understand how to tackle problems specific to our business. It’s very rewarding to work in such a supportive environment, experience the highs and lows of the startup journey and watch other teams overcome their challenges.

What are you looking to achieve through the Summer Accelerator?

There are many ways that our product can be developed and introduced to the market and there are many ways that this product can be developed and introduced to the market. With the help of mentoring sessions, masterclasses and business coaching, we hope to advance our product’s technology readiness level and finalise our primary customer groups to develop a realistic market entry strategy.

Quote

The Summer Accelerator has provided us with access to masterclasses and coaching sessions on the necessary aspects of business development from customer discovery to financing routes. This is invaluable for novice entrepreneurs like us when it comes to developing a sustainable business strategy.
Sheldon

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