Making Clean Drinking Water Accessible To All: Why We Invested in DrinkPrime

Making Clean Drinking Water Accessible To All: Why We Invested in DrinkPrime

"By combining innovative IoT technology and a novel direct-to-consumer subscription business model, DrinkPrime is increasing access to water purification devices and making quality drinking water on tap more affordable than bottled water and accessible to the Indian mass market, including the Next Half Billion"

The pandemic brought issues around health, sanitation and hygiene into sharp focus. It also put a spotlight on the existing gaps in access to basic necessities for a large part of India’s population. One such gap that became even more apparent is access to clean and safe drinking water which less than 50% of Indians have today. Harmful contaminants like fluoride and arsenic are present in the water available to nearly 2 million households.

Water purifiers might seem like a simple and available solution to this problem, but statistics suggest otherwise. Only about a quarter of all urban households use any sort of water filtration. Interestingly, this is in stark contrast to the 77% penetration of televisions and 75% for smartphones. However, the demand for clean drinking water definitely exists. The 'bubble can'- a big plastic 20L container of water sold at most grocery stores across India, has a market almost twice that of water purifiers.

This disparity exists due to several practical concerns. One such example is the quandary faced by young professionals co-living in rented accommodations in our towns and cities- Samir, a young IT professional in Hyderabad shares a flat with three other men. Any of them may leave the house at any time giving a month’s notice. Water purifiers typically cost approximately Rs 10,000 - 15,000, plus charges for installation, servicing and other add-ons. If all the housemates split this cost equally, it would work out cheaper but this leads to complications like who keeps possession of the purifier when one or all of them leave the house or when new flat mates arrive. This makes the bubble can seem like an easier solution despite the many inconveniences that it comes with like unreliable or poor quality of water, high usage of plastic, regular refilling, lack of availability

Enter DrinkPrime.

The Bengaluru based start up has created smart water purifiers, leveraging Internet of Things (IoT) technology and a seven-stage filtration process, that gives its customers access to clean drinking water on tap while being charged on a ‘pay-as-you-use’, monthly subscription model. It provides a solution to the affordability problem by allowing users to ‘subscribe-to-use’, rather than bearing high upfront costs and servicing charges for water purifiers. In addition, DrinkPrime also handles the maintenance and servicing of the purifiers, ensuring that the consumers only pay for the clean water they drink.

DrinkPrime is also different from the traditional, ‘one size fits all’ model followed by the water purifier industry, personalizing purifiers for each customer- taking into account factors such as water quality in the area being serviced.

An idea that began in 2015 as a response to the unreliable supply of safe drinking water across Bangalore has gained new significance in current times, as people have become more conscious of their health and hygiene. As of April 2022, DrinkPrime is available across 7 cities with more than 1,00,000 customers and aims to provide its services to millions of Indians to meet their goal of providing safe drinking water to all.

At Omidyar Network India, we firmly believe that DrinkPrime's innovative model, which makes quality drinking water more affordable, will ensure the clean, potable water in the glasses of an increasing number of Indian and in turn, leave a long lasting impact on their health and wellbeing.