16 Startups Helping to Solve the Water Crisis

Water flowing to hands.

The water crisis is an issue that new businesses are tackling to bring about a brighter future. From new technologies for wastewater treatment to innovative solutions for advanced filtration systems, water startups are helping to preserve water resources and produce high-quality water for generations to come. These water startups are helping to solve the water crisis and reshape the water industry for the better.

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Top Water Startups to Watch

Over 770 million people worldwide lack access to clean drinking water, and around one million people die each year because of water contamination. Climate change only exacerbates these issues, making it a pressing crisis that needs solving. From wastewater treatment solutions to new technologies for water management, these are the top water startups to watch.

Disclaimer: With so many exciting startups launching and growing worldwide, we aren't able to cover them all. Furthermore, the startups that are listed below are not officially ranked and are listed in no particular order.

1. Glanris

  • Location: Olive Branch, Mississippi
  • Founders: Bryan Eagle
  • Founded In: 2018
  • Funding: Venture, $7.4 Million
  • Investors Include: Innova Memphis, Echo River Capital, Sage Group

Glanris is taking water conservation to the next level. They take rice hulls — which are typically burned rather than reused — and upcycle them to create an efficient, low impact water filtration media. This state-of-the-art technology is not only good for the environment, it’s also economical and highly efficient. 

2. Blueland

  • Location: New York, New York
  • Founders: John A. Mascari, Sarah Paiji Yoo
  • Founded In: 2018
  • Funding: Seed, $23 Million
  • Investors Include: Prelude Growth Partners, Global Founders Capital, Able Partners

While not a water technology startup, Blueland is a green cleaning products startup created to combat the staggering amount of plastic contaminating water systems from consumer products. The startup, launched in 2018, has since amassed a cult following for its water-friendly household products.

3. BlueTap

  • Location: Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • Founders: Francesca O'Hanlon Ph.D
  • Founded In: 2011
  • Funding: N/A
  • Investors Include: N/A

Water is life, and clean access to water provides brighter futures. When it comes to people in remote parts of the world getting access to clean water, the responsibility lies with young girls and women. They’re often walking many miles to secure it, which is why BlueTap’s mission is to provide clean water to those around the world with their revolutionary chlorine filtration system. 

Not only do they deliver clean water to remote locations, they also service hospitals and schools in countless communities worldwide.

4. ZenWTR

  • Location: Irvine, California
  • Founders: Lance Collins
  • Founded In: 2019
  • Funding: Series B, $26 Million
  • Investors Include: Travis Kelce, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain

ZenWTR is a bottled water company backed by a star-studded investor list. The mission behind the startup is to reduce the amount of plastic polluting the coasts through their vapor-distilled alkaline water bottled in recycled plastic made up of up to five recycled bottles.

5. Saltworks Technologies

  • Location: Richmond, Canada
  • Founders: Ben Sparrow, Joshua Zoshi
  • Founded In: 2008
  • Funding: Grant, $13.4 Million
  • Investors Include: BP Ventures, Pacific Economic Development Canada, Cenovus Energy

Saltworks Technologies aims to influence the future of water and lithium through its industrial desalination and lithium refining systems. Through the combination of the startup's innovative technologies, they are able to achieve zero liquid discharge to provide powerful industrial wastewater treatment solutions.

6. Matter.

  • Location: Bristol, United Kingdom
  • Founders: Adam Root
  • Founded In: 2018
  • Funding: Series A, $10.9 Million
  • Investors Include: Sound Ventures. Regeneration.VC, Katapult Ocean

Matter. develops technology to capture, harvest, and recycle microplastics. The startup offers several water purification solutions, including their Gulp laundry attachment, Matter. Inside, an industrial microplastic filtration service; Matter. Industries, focused on drainage and sewer systems; and Matter. Materials, a service dedicated to recycling microfibers.

7. Uravu Labs

  • Location: Bangalore, India
  • Founders: Govinda Balaji, Pardeep Garg, Swapnil Shrivastav, Venkatesh RY
  • Founded In: 2017
  • Funding: Seed, $4.3 Million
  • Investors Include: Anicut Capital, Venture Catalysts, JITO Angel Network

In India, the water crisis is severe, as there’s actually a water shortage in the country. Startup Uravu Labs has created a unique device called Aquapanel to ensure there’s enough water for everyone. The solar thermal technology works by producing drinking water through water vapor absorption at night, making it 100% renewable and amazing for the environment. While this business is still in pre-seed funding, they’re already making waves throughout the industry.

8. Mitte

  • Location: Berlin, Germany
  • Founders: Faebian Bastiman, Karan Sarin, Moritz Waldstein
  • Founded In: 2016
  • Funding: Convertible Note, $15.2 Million
  • Investors Include: Bitburger Ventures, Danone Manifesto Venture, Kärcher New Venture

Despite environmental regulations placed by governments, water can become contaminated by old pipes and plumbing easily. Mitte is a home water filtration and water treatment solution that allows users to filter, add minerals, and carbonate their water. With a subscription-based business model, Mitte users simply purchase their devices and receive cartridges in the mail to ensure their water is always filtered and fresh.

9. Gybe

  • Location: Portland, Oregon
  • Founders: Ivan Lalović, Omar Zurita
  • Founded In: 2019
  • Funding: Seed, $120,000
  • Investors Include: Techstars, Echo River Capital, 2048 Ventures

Gybe is a startup that utilizes satellite imagery to target water insecurity and other related issues affecting communities around the world. Their ground sensors work in tandem with their exclusive technology, making it easier for communities to monitor things like sediment flows and algae blooms so they can provide clean water to the people living nearby.

10. Remote Waters

  • Location: Santiago, Chile
  • Founders: Pablo Cassorla
  • Founded In: 2018
  • Funding: Seed, $395,000
  • Investors Include: Start-Up Chile, CORFO

Chilean startup Remote Waters is working to bring clean water to South American businesses, governments, and communities. Their water filtration system processes both groundwater and saltwater, making it easier for them to adapt to the seasonal qualities of water in the region. The system also uses solar panels and monitoring devices for easy maintenance.

11. Lishtot

  • Location: Jerusalem, Israel
  • Founders: Alan Bauer, Netanel Raisch
  • Founded In: 2015
  • Funding: N/A
  • Investors Include: N/A

Maintaining water quality can be costly for many communities. The founders of Israeli-based Lishtot are working to bring those costs down with their portable, handheld testing device. Their Test Drop Pro device uses an electrical circuit to detect contaminants in water.

12. Water Warriors Inc.

  • Location: Lexington, Kentucky
  • Founders: John Gradek, Steve Chamberland
  • Founded In: 2016
    Funding: Grant, Amount Undisclosed
  • Investors Include: N/A

The entrepreneurs at Water Warriors are bringing new filtration technology to the startup scene. Their Poseidon pellets are an innovative solution to absorbing harmful chemicals like phosphorus and ammonia. They come in two sizes: mesh bags for smaller bodies of water and large tubular bags for bigger bodies like lakes and creeks. Not only are they highly effective, but they’re cost-efficient, too!

13. Genesis Systems

  • Location: Tampa, Florida
  • Founders: David Stuckenberg, Shannon Stuckenberg
  • Founded In: 2017
  • Funding: Seed, $20.8 Million
  • Investors Include: Southland Holding, Paresh Ghelani

Much like Uravu Labs, Genesis Systems utilizes technology that absorbs water vapor in the air to create a clean water supply. However, instead of focusing on the community level, their goal is to provide cleaner water to industrial-level businesses. Not only is their Water Cube technology tackling big issues, but it’s also automated and sustainable as well.

14. eWater Services

  • Location: Highworth, United Kingdom
  • Founders: Alison Wedgwood, Rob Hygate
  • Founded In: 2015
  • Funding: N/A
  • Investors Include: N/A

One of the difficulties with expanding clean water access is that sometimes people are required to pay for it. However, the founder of eWater Services is aiming to make sure that those in remote locations don’t break the bank for their water supply. They’ve created an app that lets users find their clean water taps within minutes, and for less than $10 per month, they can access clean water for all of their needs. eWater Services mainly operates in Africa.

15. Gradiant

  • Location: Woburn, Massachusetts
  • Founders: Anurag Bajpayee, Prakash Govindan
  • Founded In: 2013
  • Funding: Series D, $392.4 Million
  • Investors Include: BoltRock Holdings, SLB, WAVE Equity Partners

Gradiant aims to stand out among wastewater treatment companies. The startup leverages AI to create water treatment solutions while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and maintaining low costs. The water and wastewater treatment startup boasts turnkey solutions and industrial offerings to ensure quality water for the population today and in the future.

16. Olea Edge

  • Location: Austin, Texas
  • Founders: Dave Mackie
  • Founded In: 2014
  • Funding: Series C, $50.6 Million
  • Investors Include: Insight Partners, Renewal Funds, Mercury

Olea has developed a proprietary platform that helps water utility companies conserve and maintain local water supply. Their AI technology connects to the internet to provide quick, accurate results along with the ability to recommend solutions should a problem arise.

Recommended: Check out our full list of the top startups to watch!

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