An intensive, 10-month application process is paying off for NEER, as the Kansas City water management startup says aloha to a Hawaii-based accelerator and a significant funding infusion.
Founder: Elango Thevar
Founding year: 2019
Amount raised to date: $350,000
Noteworthy investors: gener8tor, Elemental Excelerator
Current employee count: 2
Elevator pitch: NEER is an artificial intelligence platform for water infrastructure systems; it helps communities make data-driven decisions regarding water management.
Joining the ninth cohort of Elemental Excelerator in Honolulu is a boon for NEER, having just completed the gener8tor program in Wisconsin, said Elango Thevar, founder and CEO of NEER.
“We are very excited about how the $200,000 [from Elemental] will help us to hire more people and connect us to more investors,” he said. “This will help us scale faster, and we hope to get to 100 costumers in the next six months to a year.”
Elemental Excelerator selected its final 19 cohort members from an applicant pool of about 800 companies in more than 60 countries. Companies are chosen based on their ability to create solutions for climate change — particularly for communities that are significantly impacted by pollution, vulnerable infrastructure and limited economic opportunities, according to Elemental’s website.
Companies are broken down into five categories: Mobility, Food/Agriculture, Energy, Circular and Water. NEER is one of the three water-related companies.
“The climate has been changing rapidly, and we are seeing the challenges reflected in water infrastructure,” Thevar said in regard to the $10 billion per year that is spent on repairs and maintenance for aging and failing water infrastructure.
“We have a tool that can completely change the global water infrastructure,” he continued, describing NEER’s solution. “Our goal is to put this technology in all communities, reaching out to the small communities, so they have the technology that can change the way they manage water.”
NEER uses AI technology, specifically machine learning, that allows users to identify leak and flood risks, along with the ability to assess the risk conditions of drinking water distribution mains and sewer and stormwater collection systems, according to NEER’s website.
Click here to learn more about NEER.
Since launching in 2013, Elemental has awarded more than $40 million to 117 companies that are working to combat challenges induced or enhanced by climate change. Thevar is most excited about connecting to the other companies that are, and have previously been, a part of Elemental, he said.
“There is so much potential to come with making connections and networking,” Thevar said. “[Elemental] has a really solid record of success with their companies raising capital and reaching customers … This is a great opportunity for me and also for Kansas City — and most importantly, for communities that are struggling to have an affordable tool to manage their water.”
NEER offers its services at a lower price than its competitors, making the service more inclusive, he added.
Thevar himself grew up in a small community in India where he learned the crucial value of water, he said. From experiencing the challenges of limited running water firsthand, Thevar’s passion is to make a change for others.
Founders in Elemental’s ninth cohort are set to share their personal backstories on starting their companies 2 p.m. Oct. 28 at TEDxElemental. Click here to RSVP for the event.
Click here to learn about the other 18 companies in Elemental Excelerator’s ninth cohort.
Elemental began virtually this month, running through August 2021. NEER’s acceptance in in the accelerator follows its participation in gener8tor, a Wisconsin-based accelerator program, that awarded the company with a $100,000 capital injection.
“[gener8tor] helped us change the way we market our product and talk to investors,” Thevar said. “That $100,000 also helped us to add tremendous features — now we can track water quality … We received tremendous visibility through gener8tor. And with Elemental, we’re going to get even more visibility all around the world.”
Click here to read more about NEER’s 100k investment from gener8tor.