Why we invested: Drinkwell
Providing ready, affordable access to safe water is one of the most critical development challenges. ADAP Capital recently led an investment round in Drinkwell, which works to provide safe drinking water in India and Bangladesh. Co-investors in the round included TPG Growth’s Rise Fund, the 1to4 Foundation, and several individual investors. Drinkwell represents the third deal for ADAP’s Seed Fund 2.
The World Health Organization dubbed the arsenic water crisis “the largest mass poisoning in human history.” Drinkwell has developed a proprietary resin that removes arsenic and other contaminants more affordably than alternatives such as reverse osmosis. To date, Drinkwell’s technology has been deployed across 300 systems bringing safe water to over 250,000 people. ADAP Advisory Services has been working with Drinkwell CEO and co-founder Minhaj Chowdhury and his team over the last two years to support them in laying the foundations for scalable growth.
Building on this partnership, ADAP Capital has now invested in Drinkwell because it has:
1) A scalable solution with the potential for massive impact. Drinkwell uses a micro-franchise model to establish locally run water systems in communities whose water is contaminated by arsenic, fluoride, iron, and other impurities; this model generates jobs, income, and quality of life for local entrepreneurs, and helps the technology scale more quickly. Drinkwell hopes to impact five million lives by 2020.
2) A dedicated entrepreneur. In the two years we have been working with him, Minhaj has proven himself to be a resourceful and resilient leader. He was a 2014 Echoing Green Fellow, a 2015 Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur, and a 2017 Ashoka Fellow.
3) Strong partnerships and strategic investors. Drinkwell has secured contracts with large customers such as Tata Trusts and has licensees that are using Drinkwell’s technology to deploy large-scale community kiosk and piped water systems funded by the West Bengal and Bihar Public Health Engineering Departments in rural India. Drinkwell began a partnership last year with its first urban customer, the Dhaka Water Supply and Sewage Authority, which is responsible for providing safe water to over 12 million people across Dhaka, Bangladesh. Drinkwell has also received funding from the India Department of Science & Technology as well as the U.S. Department of State. TPG Growth, which co-invested with ADAP Capital in this round through its $2 billion Rise Fund, is committed to working with Drinkwell to scale quickly and effectively not just across South Asia but also to other arsenic and fluoride-affected regions across Africa and other parts of Asia. Drinkwell qualified for the TPG Growth investment by winning the first Forbes Under 30 Impact Challenge.
We’ll give the last word to Minhaj: “ADAP has been a very important partner for Drinkwell over the past two years. From regular business reviews resulting in actionable introductions to a working capital financing partner, to a site visit and their unique ‘Taco Tuesday’ experience, ADAP has been a real thought partner as we executed on our growth plans and expanded into the urban market segment. I am pleased that ADAP Capital is now investing in Drinkwell and look forward to continuing to partner with ADAP alongside our other strategic investors as we scale our technology through some of the largest water service providers in the world and play a material role in eradicating the global water crisis.”