Tech Enabled Water Management Solutions
Mr. Water Geek- Ganesh Shankar from Fluxgen Engineering
In this episode of Green Business Podcast, I talk with Ganesh Shankar, founder of Fluxgen Engineering. Fluxgen offers technology enabled water management solutions that help industries reduce their water consumption by as much as 30%. Its solutions are used by many marquee names, including Titan jewellery, Britannia industries, and Indian Institute of Science.
In the beginning, we spend a bit of time delving into Ganesh’s motivation to work towards saving water. He explains that most of his education including his post graduate education at Indian Institute of Science (IISC) was in government colleges and was subsidized and hence he wanted to give back by solving large problems that face our country. He quit his job at GE to start working on climate change and zeroed down on water. Since his education was in technology, he wanted to provide tech driven water management solutions.
FluxGen’s offerings and business model
I ask Ganesh to explain his products and he says that he helps industries measure and save their water consumption. He says that non-revenue water, or the water that is not billed is more than 38 percent of total water consumed in India. So he thought that if you can measure this water, you can actually ensure there is enough availability. He adds on
“So, industries in particular are at pertinent risk of water crisis that is going to happen or hopefully we can avoid. So, if you bring it to the predictable level, then you can actually manage your water infrastructure and not have a risk of not having enough water. But today industries are using pre-historic ways of managing water, they take hand readings of water data or mechanical water, because of which there is a lot of water getting wasted. We identify that wastage of water in an industry and help them reduce it. So, we basically measure water flow, water level water pressure, if required energy consumed by water infrastructure. we put IoT based sensors and put the data to the cloud and view mobile and web application to take corrective action using the data science platform. Data science platform, finds out leakage wastage, excessive usage of water, and helps industries, de risking themselves from water wastage”
He also explains that his solutions also help industries in complying with the regulations related to reporting water usage and water treatment.
We then talk about FluxGen’s business model and Ganesh explains
“So this is a like a product as a service model, we actually give a IOT hardware that would monitor the water infrastructure, and we have a cloud platform where you actually enter this data. We also offer this consulting service at a quarterly level and help our clients take corrective action through the pool of experts that we have in water network.”
Managing Customer Expectations
I ask him about how he manages customer expectations, since Fluxgen is not selling anything tangible but is offering savings in water. Ganesh explains that they promise their clients complete control over their water infrastructure and ensure that the clients don’t lose any water related data. Once the client start receiving data on their water usage, they are able to control wastage. He also explains that Fluxgen also provides access to its network of water experts who help clients resolve different water related problems that client may be facing.
Then we talk about stickiness of client relationship and FluxGen’s competitive advantage, Ganesh explains that
“at this stage of our company, we do engage a lot with our customer in understanding their problems through interactive we on a quarterly basis. That’s why we have a team called customer success team which ensures that customers are extremely happy especially using our platform. so, the stickiness is also helping us build our unfair advantage or this one moat for the company by ensuring that the domain knowledge on the field issues is converted into data parameters in our software. So yes, so what is what is today a lot of engagement at one on one is becoming a software code”
I ask him about competitive landscape of the business and we talk about large companies such as GE, Siemens who also have water verticals. Ganesh explains
“See, GE, Siemens, all these companies are focusing on a large-scale utility scale project, right. And their focus is on smart city and they also have the water flow meters and water systems. But we our focus has always been on the within the fence category. So, ours is a lot in the industry level, that’s where many of them have not entered because there’s a bigger market in the Smart City. Having said that, we have been able to integrate our water management solution of Schneider liquid water meter or Siemen’s water flow meter, and various other companies that you mentioned water flow meter that way, they are not competition for us, that kind of collaborators for us”.
Industrial Versus Residential Water Solutions
We then talk about why Ganesh is focussed on industrial water management and hasn’t looked at residential water market. He explains
“The thing is, as a start-up, you have to have focus and you have to have a niche because you are limited with time, money, resource. Even from my own understanding of water, my belief is that the indirect water consumption is larger than our direct water consumption. With a pair of jeans that I wear probably consumes nearly 7000 litres of water in this lifetime, right. if I tell you this, you will be surprised 100 a bar of chocolate 100 grams chocolate consume 10 bath tubs of water to make one. so I realized that if we solve the problem of water management in industry, that way, your overall water footprint can come down. And also because there is a strong push from compliance and regulatory bodies such as SEBI, for example SEBI has asked the top 1000 listed semi company to file their environmental footprint as mandatory filing along with their profit and loss filing in next financial year. So that itself means that your environmental footprint has to be reported. So that means there is a strong regulatory push.”
Reform in Water Regulations
Lastly, we talk about governments role in management of water and I ask Ganesh if he feels that government could bring any new reform to regulate water usage that can help companies like Fluxgen.
“I should tell you government has done an excellent job in terms of regulations; they have come up with very suitable regulation last couple of years. I think it is now rather more about how this regulations are audited, monitored, and ensure that it disseminates properly across the country is rather important thing today. I think the governance of these policies are rather more important”
He explains that more than having any new regulation, it would be important for the government to enforce existing regulations well. You can listen to the audio of this podcast
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