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Bangalore, IndiaIndia
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

NextDrop revolutionizes the way governments and public services communicate with individuals, making happier citizens and more productive, sustainable economies. We sends a text message to residents in urban India, notifying them 30-60 minutes before piped water supply arrives.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

there was one telephone number that the world could call to find out when they would get water?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Will I get water today? Throughout Asia, Africa, and South America, families face this question every day. Millions of households have piped water supply but water is only available for a few hours at a time. Depending on the area water can take up to ten days to arrive. Water utilities face difficulties tracking their water distribution and often lack the technology to monitor and manage their distribution systems effectively.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

NextDrop provides utilities ICT infrastructure as a cost effective way to manage and monitor water distribution systems. Valvemen call into our Interactive Voice Response system (IVR). We process the data through our backend technology. We disseminate the information to citizens and utility decision makers in real time. Residents receive text messages with the date and time when water will arrive. Engineers receive reports when water delivery is delayed. All of this is in real time using basic handset phones.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

In households where both the man and the woman work, often the woman will miss work in order to collect water and complete household tasks. Citizens use the water alerts to better plan their lives. No longer do they miss work only to find out that a pipe damage occurred and there will be no water today. Engineers use real time information in order to better manage water supply. Using real time information information they've diverted water from specific reservoirs in order to increase duration and pressure of water supply.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Today over 15,000 households receive water information alerts impacting ~75,000 people. As one NextDrop subscriber described how the water alerts changed her life, "I'm finally free!" In the future citizens of urban India will provide feedback on the quality of their water. Their voice will be heard by the utility and used to effectively increase access to water by increasing duration of water supply, frequency of supply, and reduce issues of inequitable distribution

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We sell products and services to water service operators on long term service contracts.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Large companies are addressing this problem by using supervisory control and data acquisition systems (SCADA) but are prohibitively expensive for most utilities in the developing world and engineered for continuous supply water distribution systems. A majority of the water distribution systems in the developing world are on intermittent supply. The NextDrop solution differs from these by using people as a resource to improve water delivery services. Information communication technology provides a cost effective alternative for utilities to monitor and manage their distribution systems.

Founding Story

A researcher from UC Berkeley was studying intermittent supply in Hubli, India. While collecting water samples for her Phd thesis, she realized that most of her time was spent waiting for water. She believed that if she had this problem then other people in Hubli must have this problem. She took the problem to a graduate course at the School of Information and a project turned into a business plan. The business plan turned into a startup which helps people know when their water will come.
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Country where this project is creating social impact

, KA, Bangalore

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Your Solution
Founding Story: Share a story about the “Aha!” moment that led you to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

A researcher from UC Berkeley was doing her Phd thesis in intermittent supply in Hubli. While collecting her data she realized that a majority of her time was spent waiting for water. She believed that if she had this problem then a lot of other people Hubli might have the same problem. She took the idea into a graduate course at the School of Information, the result was a business plan and enough money to support a pilot.

Select Sector(s): To which of Unilever's categories of sustainability does your solution apply?


Measurable Impact
Audience: Who have you identified as your customers/recipients and why? How will you get your solution to them or engage them in your initiative?

Urban slum residents, low income residents, and middle income residents will benefit from this solution. Urban utilities will also benefit from this solution because they will be able to provide more equitable water supply and increase access to water to their citizens. We will work with urban cities in order to scale this solution

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date and expected impact in the future?

Currently we are serving over 75K citizens in Hubli-Dharwad and are working with the utility in Bangalore to provide water management tools to their utility engineers. In the future, we expect to serve all 1.2M citizens in Hubli-Dharwad, as well as scaling our solution to the entirety of Bangalore

Growth, Finance & Leadership
Scaling the Solution: How do you intend to scale your activities over the next two years (e.g., reach new markets, diversify solutions, etc.)? What will make this possible?

We will scale to 3 more states in India, by working in conjunction with state and local governments. This is possible through our partnerships with government entities

Financial Sustainability: What is your business model to ensure financial sustainability?

We engage in long term contracts with water utilities. We provide water management tools for utilities, and utilities pay us a monthly fee for these services over a period of time.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

I started the first Professional Development Certification Program in the University of California, Berkeley, college of Engineering. To date, over 50 students have gone through this certification program