Lauren Abendschein

Major Investments Open New Markets for Water Services

whiWaterHealth International (WHI) has recently attracted over $11 million in venture capital from investors including Dow Venture Capital, ICICI Bank, Plebys International LLC, and SAIL Venture Partners, L.P.. WHI provides innovative business solutions to one of the world’s most desperate health crises, the lack of safe, clean and affordable water for the more than two billion people who have little or no access to it.

WHI has developed a model that incorporates an innovative, cost-effective technology designed for the poor, with a franchise model to streamline marketing and distribution and assure uniform water quality and service. The model can be customized to take into account the needs of rural and urban markets for low-cost safe water. WHI invests in health and hygiene education programs as part of its normal business practices to combat waterborne diseases in the communities it serves.

Since its inception, more than 450 systems using WHI’s ultraviolet water purification and disinfection technology have been installed in a number of countries around the world, including India, the Philippines, and Mexico. The large investments it has received of late will enable the company to more rapidly increase its global presence and demonstrate the potential of its scalable business approach (read the full story from American Venture Magazine).

WaterHealth International’s recent success is important not only for their effort, but as a shining example of serving the poor profitably. Here’s why:

  • The challenge of providing clean water has continually vexed governments and NGOs. WHI has set a precedent for the private sector to solve seemingly intractable problems through effective marketing and service delivery to the BOP.
  • WHI has discovered a model to deliver a good that the poor are willing to pay for, engaging the BOP market through recognizing them as consumers while developing a profitable, self-sustaining model.
  • WHI has further enhanced the market for their technology and the clean water it produces by using the exceptionally effective tools of education and locally engaged entrepreneurs.
  • WHI’s endeavor to find technology to serve the BOP has been well rewarded by major investors (above) as well as leading philanthropic funds like Acumen Fund, signaling a true contribution to the BOP.

To learn more, read their full profile in the activity database.