Backed by GOED funds, water tech startup spins out of DRI in Vegas
LAS VEGAS — In 2013, Nevada was in a dry spell in more ways than one. The aftershocks of the Great Recession lingered, and the state was in the midst of 20 years of drought.
In response, the Desert Research Institute branch in Las Vegas, with funding through the Governor’s Office of Economic Development’s Knowledge Fund, launched a startup called WaterStart, which set out to deploy new water technologies and make the Silver State a hub for water innovation.
Seven years and $4.3 million in Knowledge Fund investments later, it is safe to say the Vegas-based startup has done just that.
“The WaterStart spin out of DRI represents yet another success story of the Knowledge Fund,” Michael Brown, GOED executive director, said in the release. “GOED is looking forward to continuing to work with WaterStart providing technology solutions for Nevada’s water resource-based challenges as well as growing the water-tech sector in our state thereby creating high paying employment opportunities for Nevadans.”
According to GOED, WaterStart’s membership and sponsors pool is made up of the state’s largest water agencies, consumers and philanthropies. These include the Southern Nevada Water Authority, Truckee Meadows Water Authority, MGM Resorts and NV Gold, the Wells Fargo Foundation and OneDrop.
In May, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California became WaterStart’s newest — and largest — member, delivering water to a six-county service area with nearly 19 million people, according to GOED.
What’s more, GOED says WaterStart’s membership has also expanded into Australia and the United Kingdom.
“The recent growth of our membership into Australia, the United Kingdom and now California speaks volumes about how far we’ve come and the impact we can make,” Nathan Allen, WaterStart’s executive director, said in the release. “We’re grateful for the support we’ve received from the Knowledge Fund and DRI. Our Nevada community has given us a solid foundation to scale-up and pursue our vision of deploying technologies that benefit 100 million people.”
Looking forward, WaterStart plans to drive job creation, conservation and water security by bringing in “cutting edge, innovative companies” to solve water issues in the “driest state in the union,” according to GOED.
“This is an exciting time for WaterStart and its members,” Dave Johnson, Chairman of the Board for WaterStart, stated. “After years of hard work, the organization is ready to step out on its own. This change will allow WaterStart to broaden its impact as it works with members and partners around the world to solve our most pressing water technology needs.”
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