Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink’ is a famous line that is a reality in many parts of our country. Reachability of good quality water gets hindered due to many reasons like pollution. The only solution for this is proper filtration and sterilization of water.
WaterScience is a leading water purification company in the non-drinking space. It puts cutting edge science, technology and research to work to ensure you get the best quality water possible for your family. The product range filters chlorine, conditions hard water and removes sediments and odour from your water. WaterScience develops shower filters, tap filters, washing machine filters, kitchen tap filters and filters for the whole house. To know more, check out the interview we prepared with Sudeep Nadukkandy, Co-Founder and CEO, WaterScience.
Give a brief info about your startup?
WaterScience is India’s leading water purification company in the non-drinking space. Making non-drinking water healthy – 97% of the water we use is not for drinking! Filtered water is the norm for drinking and cooking, but protection for hair and skin has been largely ignored. WaterScience develops Shower Filters, Tap Filters, washing machine filters, kitchen tap filters and filters for the whole house.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
WaterScience was born as a result of personal experience from the effects of hardwater in Bangalore.Co-founders Mohammed Iqbal and Sudeep Nadukkandy were looking for options to tackle the hardwater issues in Sarjapur Road, Bangalore. Existing solutions from the US didnt last as the water quality in India is different from the water in the West.
WaterScience product range filters chlorine, condition hardwater and remove sediments and odour from your water. Product range includes Shower & Tap Filters, Kitchen sink filters, Washing machine filters and filters for the whole house.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
Pavithra was working Philips Lighting (now Signify) across Sales and Marketing roles. Sudeep has a technical background, with his experience at ITC Infotech and spent a few years at Printo across Training, Product Management and Corporate Sales. Iqbal is a serial entrepreneur- partner in ECH UAE, Waterfall Security systems, Marconi Media and Communications & Kayote trading
Where is your startup based? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
WaterScience is based out of Bangalore which is one of the cities in India facing acute water shortages. Two of the founders are based out of Bangalore and Bangalore has a robust manufacturing ecosystem. Being startup central, it is also a great location to source talent. Incidentally, Bangalore is one of the cities with the highest levels of hardwater in the country and is therefore our largest customer base.
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
What keeps us awake at night are our plans for the future. I wont say am paranoid, but am obsessed about customer experience with WaterScience. Every bit of the brand experience- from packaging, the product quality, ease of use and customer service, is something that I am very passionate about.
Who are your competitors and how are you better than them?
Three ways we are better than our competitors
Widest product range
Most competitors have just one or two Shower Filters in their portfolio. WaterScience has a product range that starts at Rs 495 for a simple sediment filter to mainline filters for the whole house.
Made in India, Made for Indian water conditions
WaterScience products are designed for the Indian water conditions. We have different options of cartridges depending on the water source and the level of hardness present in the water. Being in the market for 5 years has given us a good understanding of the water quality across India and our product development is in line with this experience and understanding of the Indian water conditions.
First mover advantage
We have served 3,00,000 households so far with our products and this customers know and trust the brand. WaterScience is the category creator in India for this space and our experience in the market drives our innovation roadmap.
A majority of players are present mainly in the e-commerce space. WaterScience is present across Supermarkets, hardware outlets and bath fittings showrooms. Our plan is to expand to 2000 outlets by the end of the financial year. We also cater to specific water qualities as we have different cartridges for whether you are using municipality water or borewell water.
Strong R&D expertise
With continuous research, development and innovation, we have expanded our range to include 8 more products to our range. One of our shower filters, the CLEO Multi-Flow Shower Filter, has received the highest water saving star rating from the IAPMO. All our products use only NSF certified ingredients and are all foodgrade.
How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
Work-life balance as a start up founder is tricky because even if one is physically not at work, it occupies mindspace at all times. The one time when we are not focusing on work is while playing sports/working out. So we ensure that we maintain some form of sport/fitness during our days.
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If not then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
We are a bootstrapped company and have raised only debt financing so far.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
Whatever other people perceive, it will be at least partially true. Usually, people take two or three meetings to form a clear impression of someone. Whatever people perceive about me after a few meetings, must be close to the truth.
What gets you excited about this company?
Being a category creator in this growing category is extremely exciting. The sheer potential of where we can take WaterScience in the next few years is thrilling.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
Everyday is different, depending on what the month’s priorities are.
A third of my day is spent with the R& D team on new product development and design. Another third of my day is spent with the team on day-to-day operations. Next third of my day is completely dependent on what’s on-going- either for new products/ administrative stuff.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
Iqbal was my first boss and we stayed in touch after to discuss business ideas. He is also the first investor for WaterScience. Pavithra and I are married to each other.