The War Over Water – Case Study From Nebia – Strategy With RS

I wish to share 2 widely prevalent insights & how they are being leveraged to build profitable businesses:

1. ‘Sustainability’ is likely to provide companies & brands with competitive advantage, at least over the next few decades.

2. It is widely believed that the next World War will not be fought over oil, as is widely expected, but hold your breadth, it may be fought over water.

Taking cognizance of this, ‪#‎TimCook‬, CEO of ‪#‎Apple‬ & ‪#‎Eric Schmidth‬, Executive Chairman of ‪#‎Google‬, have decided to invest in a start up company, ‪#‎Nebia‬, which has invested 5 years in designing an environmentally friendly shower head which consumes 70% less water while covering 10x more body surface due to which more water come in contact with body leaving your skin feeling clean, leaving you with a superior bathing experience!

How does it achieve this miracle? It atomizes water into tiny droplets due to which it covers 10x more body surface area. Result – it merely consumes 6 gallons of water per use, compared to 20 gallons needed for a normal shower.

But it comes at a price – $400 per showerhead. But because the water consumption falls dramatically, the company has estimated that in 2 years, an average house hold in US can recover its cost!

It has started beta testing its shower heads on the Apple campus, Googolplex, Stanford University & Gyms.

To raise funds it is not solely depending only on the technology czars. It has turned to Kickstarter, the global crowd funding platform with a Mission is to help bring creative projects to life, to raise funds. In merely 2 days it has raised $ 1.3 millions!

Is Nebia likely to succeed? Odds are bright. By 2025, millennium (born between 1982 -2000) are going to form a dominant cohort both as employees & consumers. They are conscious about sustainability – as employees they opt for working for companies who create sustainable product & as customers they wish to buy products which are sustainable. Nebia scores high on both counts!


Lesson for us from Nebia:

1.We should create business that are in sync with emerging trend, not fads. Nebia has picked ‘sustainability’’ as an enduring trend & is seeking to build a sustainable & profitable business around it.

2. The product that is created should fit into the existing lifestyle of the customers – the showerheads fits into the existing lifestyle of the customers. It does not involve new learning’s on part of the customers to use the product.

3. Use a new platform for seeking funding. A partial list of ‪#‎Crowdsourcing‬ sites for Fund raising include: ‪#‎Indiegogo‬, ‪#‎Crowdfunder‬, ‪#‎RocketHub‬, ‪#‎Crowdrise‬, ‪#‎Somolend‬,‪#‎appbacker‬, ‪#‎Angellist‬, ‪#‎Invetsedin‬, ‪#‎Quirky‬




In this series, Rajesh Srivastava, Business Strategist and Visiting Faculty at IIM Indore gives you a regular dose of strategy case studies to help you think and keep you one step ahead as a professional as compared to your peers. Rajesh is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore and IIT Kanpur and has over 2 decades of experience in the FMCG industry. All previous  Strategy with RS posts can be found here