Satish Kumar Mohapatra and R Nikhil Kumar faced challenges in gaining access to quality drinking water when they migrated to other cities for work.
Staying away from family, the college friends, like any other migrating youth, usually relied on vendors to deliver water for drinking purposes. But, sometimes the vendors did not deliver water on time.
While researching the gaps in the water supply chain, the duo realised the drinking water industry was highly unregulated and lacked tech platforms that could help track the segment.
In a bid to ensure users connect with proper water vendors and to provide a transparent tech platform to track orders, the duo launched The Water App in January 2020.
The Hyderabad-based startup’s SaaS platform monitors supply chain management, including doorstep delivery to end users, inventory management, business intelligence reports, and live tracking of delivery among others.
“The Water App tackles India’s imperfect water infrastructure. The integrated platform handles the lack of digital footprint and communication between vendors/water suppliers and customers,” Satish tells YourStory.
Digital disruption in the water supply space
As the name suggests, The Water App is a mobile application that allows users to find the nearest water vendors and connect with them to get water delivered in jars, bottles, and cans. It also has a separate app for vendors to list themselves on the platform, enabling them to move their business online.
“Whenever a supplier/vendor/manufacturer signs up on the app, our backend team verifies details like pricing, brands, serving locations, and approves them. If it is also a manufacturer, our quality team visits the plant location and verifies the quality metrics of the manufacturing unit such as TDS and pH, etc.,) and then approves them as an authorised partner,” Satish explains.
According to the co-founder, the DIPP-registered startup has its own algorithm in place, which is working real time to show the best available vendor for a particular user request. It also has AI and analytics solutions to notify customers when they are likely to run out of water depending on their last purchase.
“Our system automatically connects nearby users and vendors to reduce the wait time and enhance the efficiency of the supply chain. We also use AI-based re-routing technology for our delivery fleet,” Satish adds.
According to him, the startup is mainly targeting households, restaurants, shops, event organisers, companies, and catering businesses.
Satish says the startup operates on a commission-based model where it charges the vendor partners up to Rs 10 for each unit sold via the app and for add-on services, including sales and revenue in-depth reports, accounting, and inventory management among others.
The co-founder claims to have over 1,000 users as of now, with the app clocking monthly revenue of Rs 50,000. As of now, the startup’s delivery fleet includes 40 two-wheelers and 10 four-wheelers.
The bootstrapped startup was launched by the duo with an initial investment of Rs 15 lakh. The Water App is now scouting for investors to raise seed capital.
According to a report by the Trade Promotion Council of India, the packaged drinking water bottle market in India is expected to reach $60.06 billion by end of 2023, growing at a CAGR of 20.75 percent
The startup is competing with other notable players in the space such as PaniLao, Paniwala, EME – Essentials Made Easy, and Book a Can. However, the founder believes that The Water App has an edge over other players due to its technology platform, features, and dashboard for tracking business.
Apart from plans to raise funds, the water delivery startup is planning to expand its services in the top 10 water-deprived cities, including Bengaluru, Chennai, and Coimbatore, this year, and to 20 other cities in 2022. The startup will also expand its services, and include beverages such as milk, flavoured drinks, cold drinks among others.
“We have plans to introduce IoT devices to solve some major problems of the manufacturing units. We will be implementing inventory and accounting management tools in our app so as to ease vendor operations. We are also doing research to develop a product to replace the use of plastic cans,” Satish says.