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The folks behind Nebia — the techy shower-head startup backed by Apple CEO Tim Cook and a host of other big names — have sold to Mark Cuban’s Brondell, which makes bidets, air purifiers and the like.
The Nebia name and water-saving nozzles will live on following the deal, co-founders Philip Winter and Gabriel Parisi-Amon said in a call with TechCrunch. Despite my nudging, the pair declined to say what Brondell paid to scoop up the brand, which launched on Kickstarter eons ago (in 2015). If you know the terms of the deal, wouldn’t it be cool if you hit me up?
Along with Cook and a bevy of early Kickstarter supporters, Nebia raised money from former Google boss Eric Schmidt’s family office, Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia, Fitbit co-founder James Park, Y-Combinator, Stanford — need I go on?
Nebia stood out when it launched with pricey nozzles that blasted users with a fine, hurricanic mist, while conserving up to 70% of the water a typical shower head sprays out in the process, the startup claimed. This proved polarizing; Nebia’s exuberant storm won over yours truly, but divided a newsroom with its unconventional take on a beloved ritual. Over the years, Nebia dialed things down to win over more customers, whittling its projected water savings to around 50% in the process.
During its time as an independent company, Nebia estimated its customers conserved more “500 million gallons of water,” as well as the “equivalent of over 27 million kWh (27 GWh) of energy.” The firm said the energy savings were “roughly equivalent to the annual energy consumption of 2,700 American homes.” Winter told TechCrunch that Nebia’s products, including those it made with Moen, have reached more than 100,000 homes.
“I’m working right now on future products [at Brondell],” said Parisi-Amon — “ones that are directly related to what we’ve made before, and ones that are like completely different, but can still apply the materials that we’ve worked on and the analysis that we’ve worked on.”
Winter and the rest of Nebia’s 15-person team also joined Brondell, the co-founders said.
Both executives emphasized that they’re still committed to helping folks conserve water — a critical task as climate change drives droughts.
“That is why we started and that is why I, at the time, left Apple,” said Parisi-Amon. “I wanted to use my mechanical engineering degree to make a product that literally anyone could swap in for what they had, and was better for the environment,” added Parisi-Amon. “And that work is not done.”
Winter said as much as our call wound down earlier this week. “As the population grows, and we use more water per capita, and we have more frequent episodes of drought and more acute droughts, the equation is not a very positive one,” said Winter. “We have to figure out ways to use water more effectively.”