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🤖 "Is Entrepreneurship the Missing Link to Shape the Future of the Water Industry?"

(don't) Waste Water!

Photo by Myriam Jessier / Unsplash

Host: Antoine Walter
Guest: Gaetane Suzenet | Co-Founder | European Water Tech Accelerator
Category: 🤖 Technology

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[4:55] “We talk about regulation. We talk about technology. We talk about infrastructure. We talk about engineering, but for me, the missing link has been finance. And that’s why I have decided to raise this agenda for the water industry.”

[8:43] “The European Water Tech Accelerator was actually set up last year […] with my co-founder Jacob Tompkins. […] What we’ve seen as a gap. You have a lot of startups, but these startups can’t scale up. […] You haven’t seen […] one company [yet], which has been able to scale up and get to the Google [level].”

[10:00] “One thing that we have noticed in the water sector is that we have very good engineers. We have very good tech. What we are missing is entrepreneurs […] and the finance side of things. It’s starting, but it’s not there yet. And what we have noticed […] is that venture capitalists are still […] reluctant to invest in the water sector.

[12:12] “There’s this issue about the return on investment that venture capitalists are usually looking for. […] There is also the issue of the market uptake. Despite the fact that you’ve seen, [people talking about] water is life, water is […] most important thing. [But] where is the finance, where is the market?”

[13:00] “Despite the fact that we keep saying that water […] will be the next thing [and] the next investment […] area. […] If the market is not ready yet for these innovations that are coming onto the market, then we have a problem. I think […] for a successful innovation investment strategy, you need three things: You need entrepreneurs, you need scalability, which is market, and you need the tech. And for me, these are the three things which will make the water sector successful in the future […]. So now what we need to work on is how innovation is going to be attractive enough for investment funds. Generally speaking, not just for VCs […]. So they need to trust the fact that entrepreneurs will be able to sell their tech or their product to the market. And that the market is confident in the product as well.”

[19:43] “I think the difference is between Europe and the U S […] is the money injected. When a startup in Europe is looking for 1 million, they are so happy […] when they have managed to raise that, usually between 12 and 18 months. In the US, it’s a range […] between 5, 10, 15 millions.”

[29:00] “The energy sector is obviously […] ahead of us because they were forced to do it. […] The deregulation of the sector, […] introduced competition, the carbon agenda pushed for obviously new ideas, new tech, new products, new services. So it has been a good driver, which is not the case in water. We’re still in the same industry, despite the fact that you’ve got innovation around […] the sector. And this innovation has difficulties to enter this industry.”

[31:02] “Digital water should be seen as an opportunity because again […] scalability. […] Digital tools or digital tech are much easier to scale up. So from an investor point of view, the digital area will be attractive because of the return on investment, […] high margin, […] the scalability. But there’s still this issue about the market and whether digital water will be taken up by the market. […] It’s still a kind of chicken and egg here.”

[44:33] “[In big water provider companies], one challenge is culture. […] We were talking about these engineers […] having worked in the water sector for some time and […] thinking out of the box is difficult sometimes. […] You don’t make a revolution […] within a few years. So that’s something which should not be underestimated in this whole debate. […] The other issue is that these companies have [municipalities] as clients. And […] they have to go through tenders, [where] price [is crucial].”

Rating: 💧💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 59 min | 🗓️ 04/14/2021
✅ Time saved: 57 min

Additional Links:
(don’t) Waste Water!
Article: Water Tech Technology Gap

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