Stockholm-based startup Wayout’s container-sized technology decontaminates non-potable local water sources to produce drinking water
Climentum Capital is leading a €6m Series A investment in Stockholm-based Wayout International, a startup producer of container-sized water treatment facilities that can bring locally sourced clean water to remote areas of developing countries, reducing plastics use and preventing carbon emissions in the process.
The European venture capital company will take a seat on Wayout’s board to support its impact objectives and Article 9 fund requirements. Others participating in the round include foodtech investor Re:Food and US-based Raiven Capital in addition to existing investors. Climentum launched its first fund – focused on green transition startups – in mid-2022 with a €150m target.
The Wayout system can take water from the sea, swamps, dirty rivers or industrial waste, pass it through a series of modules to eliminate bacteria, metals and micro-plastics, and add minerals where necessary, to produce clean water. The container’s technology and cloud-based software enables operators and users to monitor water drinking patterns and water purity.
“Wayout’s business concept of producing water locally means dealing with several sustainability challenges at once,” Ulf Stenerhag, Wayout’s CEO, said.
Localised systems can bring safe and reliable water supply to areas of Africa and other regions where governments have struggled to invest adequately in grid or other forms of water supply. Lack of local supply means consumers are generally heavily reliant on water in plastic bottles, brought in by fossil fuels-driven transport. As such they perform a similar role in a water industry to small-scale solar energy mini-grids in the power sector.
An individual Wayout system can supply 8,000 litres a day of safe drinking and cooking water – enough for 2,000-3,000 people, depending on the climate. Wayout estimates that one system could eliminate the use of 6.5m plastic bottles annually and prevent the release of over 500 tons of carbon emissions per year. It can also be sustainably powered by solar panels.
Wayout developed the technology with partners including Alfa Laval, Siemens and Ericsson. Each unit is expected to have lifetime of 30 years. Climentum describes it as a permanent fix, rather than applying a band-aid to the problem of water shortages.
The fresh funding is intended to finance deployment of hundreds of systems around the world. One was installed in 2020 at the luxury Sayari safari camp in a remote part of Tanzania, where it converts non-potable local groundwater into drinking water, soft drinks and, via an attached microbrewery, beer.
The water systems are offered on a leased bases at a ‘per litre’ cost with no upfront investment required. The cost is set locally targeting a consumer price lower than available alternatives, according to Wayout.
Climentum says it is keen on the water-as-a-service business model, which put together with the robustness of the product, would “enable a successful and profitable roll-out at a large scale”.