Hero Labs will use this funding to accelerate its leak prevention device, Sonic.
Today (15 July), Hero Labs announced that it raised £2.5m in seed funding, led by environmental fund manager Earthworm Group. The company also received a £300,000 EU innovation grant and money from a number of unnamed private investors.
In March the London-based start-up launched its leak defence system that can be used to combat water leaks in homes and businesses in real time. The start-up aims to reduce some of the water wasted in the UK, where 3bn litres of clean drinking water escape from faulty pipes each year, costing insurers £2.5m per day or almost £1bn per year.
To deal with this costly issue, Hero Labs developed its first product: a defence system called Sonic. Hero Labs plans to use the funding it announced today to accelerate this product.
Sonic can be fitted under a sink and, using ultrasonic technology, it monitors water use to see if there are any irregularities in the flow, from dripping taps to burst pipes.
Upon detection, the app alerts the household members, who can then decide if they want to shut off the home’s water supply from the app. This can then potentially save the property from the damage a burst pipe causes to furniture, possessions and electrics in the home.
Sonic is battery-powered too, which means it’s not wired to the mains. Earlier this year, UK Tech News wrote: “Its proprietary radio technology can penetrate as many as eight concrete floors, so it can be installed in basements or other difficult-to-access spaces where there is no Wi-Fi signal.”
Hero Labs began by focusing its product towards mass affluent customers (the higher end of the market, comprising individuals with £80,000 to £800,000 of liquid financial assets plus an annual household income of more than £60,000).
However, commercial director of Hero Labs, Hamish Neale, wants to bring this technology to the wider public. “Being able to turn off your water supply from an app is the kind of futuristic technology that shouldn’t be exclusive to the world’s super-rich; we want everyone to be able to protect their property and for customers to trust us to do this. That’s why we’ve developed a neat solution to water leaks from the ground up that is accessible to everyone.”
Hero Labs is planning a full public release of Sonic for later this year, targeting consumers and small businesses.
The company has also been in touch with insurers that “might subsidise the product or give it away completely for free to certain more affluent customers to minimise the risk of water escape,” said CEO Krystian Zajac, who previously worked with smart home insurer Neos.