One of the most vital resources for human survival is water. Access to a steady supply of clean drinking water is imperative to stay healthy and maintaining physical well-being. It’s also a basic necessity. Access to clean drinking water is still a massive problem in India as 70% of the surface water in the country is unfit for consumption.
An average Indian household depends on water cans for their daily drinking water requirements despite the presence of the 30- year-old water purifier industry. However, 85% of the water in the 20-litre water cans is unfit for consumption. Thus, water purifiers are seemingly the best option to get safe drinking water. But less than 10% of Indians have access to them because of the high purchase cost and recurring annual maintenance cost!
Even if water purifiers become affordable and infiltrate Indian households by a large number, the problem remains, as all conventional water purifiers use a one-size-fits-all model. This indicates that water filtering is carried out regardless of the quality of the input water. Your area water is the input water in a water purifier.
For instance, there are three sources of input water in Bengaluru:
- Kaveri river
- Tankers (chlorinated municipal water)
Their distribution varies from area to area based on seasonal changes. As a result, the TDS (total dissolved solids) level in water and other water quality parameters (Eg. Turbidity, Chlorine, hardness, etc.) vary from one area to another. Therefore, a one-size-fits-all model would be an ineffective solution.
Providing the perfect solution; Making safe drinking water accessible
DrinkPrime, the startup on a mission to make safe drinking water accessible to everyone, was founded by roommates turned cofounders, Vijender Reddy Muthyala (CEO) and Manas Ranjan Hota (COO) to address the issue of safe drinking water access in India. The cost-effectiveness of water cans and the water quality expected from water purifiers are perfectly combined in their product and service business model – IoT-enabled customized water purifiers on subscription.
How is DrinkPrime disrupting the 30-year-old water purifier industry?
DrinkPrime, founded in 2016, doesn’t follow the one-size-fits-all approach taken by the traditional water purifier industry; they have tackled the problem of over-purification and under-purification of water with tech innovation.
“The water purifiers are enabled with the Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and are in sync with the DrinkPrime mobile app. This simple yet effective tech feature provides a constant stream of water quality data and helps track the quality of water a user consumes leading to proactive and timely scheduling of maintenance checks,” said Vijender. The water purifiers are built with a customized combination of filters to suit the area’s water quality.
What about the cost? Unlike traditional water purifiers that have a high purchase cost and recurring annual maintenance cost, a DrinkPrime subscription works similarly to the use of electricity at home. You pay for the water you consume and their subscription plans start at ₹333*.
Speaking about the ethos of DrinkPrime, Manas said, “The ethos of DrinkPrime is based on the notion that water purifiers are a utility rather than a household appliance. Undoubtedly, one of our goals is raising awareness about the importance of pure drinking water and we are working hard to educate people about it.” This is entirely different from how traditional water purifier brands have been approaching the problem of water quality and issues associated with the consumption of unsafe water.
Another factor that makes DrinkPrime stand out is the DrinkPrime mobile app. “A user’s water purifier is in sync with the DrinkPrime mobile app. They can recharge DrinkPrime, monitor their drinking water usage and water purifier’s health, upgrade or change their subscription plans and contact the support team for help. In addition to this, DrinkPrime subscribers are entitled to free lifetime maintenance, filter changes, relocation, delivery and installation,” said Manas.
The DrinkPrime Journey
DrinkPrime was launched in 2016 after Vijender and Manas realized they cannot scale up their then business – Waterwala, the app-based water can delivery service, that had more than 20,000 users. With water cans, they couldn’t solve the drinking water quality problem as well.
“We have a hands-on approach when it comes to DrinkPrime. While I focus on technology and product innovation, Manas manages day-to-day operations. Starting with about 500 users, DrinkPrime now provides safe drinking water access to more than 1 lakh users across Bengaluru, Delhi, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon, Hyderabad and Noida. The company grew by 500% in 2019-2020 and has grown by 330% in the first half of 2022,” says Vijender in an Interview with Startup Pedia.
Over time, DrinkPrime has won three prestigious awards – Fast Company’s 10 Most Innovative Asia-Pacific Companies, Forbes Asia 100 To Watch and YourStory’s 500 Challenger Brands.
“We are backed by marquee investors like Omidyar Network India, Sequoia Surge and 9 Unicorns and have raised more than ₹110 crores after closing the Series A funding round in July,” he added.
The Future Ahead
By adding about 6000 new users every month, DrinkPrime is currently the market leader in Bengaluru. The other water purifier brands generate roughly 2000 monthly sales. Given that 70% of the surface water in India is unfit for consumption, a water purifier is a necessity. DrinkPrime aims to serve a million subscribers in the next four years.
Speaking about the CSR initiative they launched recently, Vijender said, “We launched #DonateWithDrinkPrime recently. With this program, we are currently making safe drinking water accessible to 750+ students in government institutions in Bengaluru. We have installed eight customized DrinkPrime water purifiers in six institutions so far. With everyone’s support, they aim to provide safe drinking water access to all government institutions and orphanages in Karnataka in the next three years.“
To know more about Drink Prime, click here