Cleanzine: your weekly cleaning and hygiene industry newsletter 23rd March 2023 Issue no. 1057
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High-tech toilet launches funding-round to save planet, save money and boost hygiene - one flush at a time
The UK designer, manufacturer and patent holder ofPropelair, said to be the world's lowest-water-flush toilet, is launching a funding round on the investment platform Seedrs.
Phoenix Product Development, which trades as Propelair, is targeting £850,000 in a convertible campaign ahead of an expected larger equity fundraising - to fulfil resurgent demand from UK and international customers and to advance the company's technology.
A leadership team recruited in 2019 grew the sales pipeline more than 20 times and redoubled this strategy during lockdown, when the UK Government became a shareholder in the business through its Future Fund. This Summer's easing of restrictions has led to a surge in commercial interest and raised expectations of a sales uplift in the UK and abroad.
The company intends to raise £5.5m by 2022 to support international sales growth and next-generation product development, and is presenting this opportunity to match existing investor credit loans up to £750,000. Propelair intends to boost its UK manufacturing capacity and introduce technical enhancements such as a more compact profile and IoT [optimisation].
Propelair combines just 1.5 litres of water with a high-speed jet of air to leave the pan super-clean in one flush. The closed lid improves hygiene by reducing airborne germs such as Covid-19 by 95%. The patented technology brings big savings in water, energy and cost to out-of-home venues, where toilets can be flushed hundreds of times daily.
As the system uses 84% less water than in most toilets, its 170 customers are saving 875 million litres a year - equal to 350 Olympic pools, while also benefiting from enhanced 'green' credentials and reduced queuing. Payback in busier sites can be achieved in months.
Propelair has built a substantial qualified sales pipeline in the UK, where 60% of orders now come from customers installing the Propelair system in multiple facilities in their estates. Interest is also being generated among potential customers in five key sectors - retail and leisure, commercial and public sector offices, conference centres, hospitals and universities, as well as off-grid, where the benefits of reduced waste removal can be even greater.
Internationally, Propelair is to lead several pilot programmes across the Gulf region and has set its water-saving tests in a shopping mall and at a premier local firm. It saw a very positive response at the 'Big 5' construction event in Dubai this month, with strong interest from potential distributors in all seven UAE emirates plus Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The stand had more than 300 visits and several follow-up meetings are being arranged.
In South Africa, despite delays in a number of contracts due to Covid-19 restrictions, the sales pipeline is expanding, spurred by a big need for water and energy efficiency plus hygiene.
"Everyone goes to the loo and as the world's lowest-water-flush toilet company, we're extremely well placed to deliver the water, energy and cost savings, and hygiene benefits, our customers demand,"says David Hollander, CEO of Propelair, previously managing director of Dyson UK.
"Even allowing for the disruption of the past two years, we've been surprised by the strong resurgence in demand.
"We have the potential to deliver our water-efficient technology to more customers, sooner, while keeping innovation at the forefront of all our work."
In a world where 2bn people lack drinking water and the UN expects a 40% shortfall in supply by 2030, Propelair's target market is huge - in the UK with 12m out-of-home toilets, and water-stressed regions such the Gulf and South Africa and later, Australia.
That said, Propelair focuses on greatest need - sites with 100-plus flushes a day, locations with social and environment targets, or those relating to hygiene and/or queue reduction.
Propelair's dedicated laboratory tests and refines the designs to ensure they conform to the latest product regulations and meet its high quality standards. Working with its supply chain partners, it ensures its products benefit from the latest technology and remain cost-effective.
23rd September 2021