Introducing Our Newest Impact Investees: Change:WATER Labs, Sanivation, and Croptix

We’re pleased to introduce our newest Impact Investees, Change:WATER Labs, Sanivation, and Croptix. SV2 has made a $25,000 investment in each of these companies.

Change:WATER Labs and Sanivation both work on sanitation. The opportunity and its potential for positive impact are enormous. Poor sanitation is responsible for a wide range of problems including the spread of disease, diarrheal deaths, and water pollution. Women and girls are disproportionately impacted when toilets are not available because they risk physical violence or rape when meeting their needs in an open area, or perhaps could miss school during menstruation. Sanitation affects all 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

4.2 billion people (61% of the population) live without a toilet that safely manages waste. Change:WATER Labs (CWL) offers a low tech, low capital expense toilet solution in locations where sewer/water access is not available. The iThrone is a waterless, odorless toilet that uses a patent-pending 3- layer membrane bag to remove water from the waste, reducing the volume by 6x – 10x. Because human waste is 95% water, the solution can save cost and effort of waste collection by evaporating the water. Each bag has a target use cycle of 3-4 weeks. If CWL is successful in building a profitable and scalable solution and is able to pull it off, it will be industry defining and will disrupt the sanitation markets and service models by proving out the economics for a more sustainable, healthier and cleaner sanitation system.

Sanivation designs, builds and operates waste collection and treatment facilities for secondary (non-sewered) cities in East Africa. The waste management market in East Africa alone is $2.6B with 90% of the waste going untreated. Only 23 of 87 utilities in Kenya have waste treatment facilities. Sanivation collects waste in four towns and has treatment facilities in three of them with the other under development. Sanivation combines the collected human waste with sawdust and agricultural waste to create briquettes. The briquettes are a cleaner fuel source than wood, and they also help to  prevent deforestation. Sales of the briquettes are offsetting 65% of Sanivation’s operating expense, and with scale they believe they can get to 100% offset. The large capital expense funding comes from institutions like the World Bank, African Development Bank and IFC.  

Croptix is a smart Ag subscription platform using data and machine learning analytics to help farmers detect and manage fatal diseases in permanent crops to save their farms. Croptix uses a patented handheld spectrophotometer which takes the spectral analysis of plant tissue and uses that to assess plant health and detect diseases. As the technique is probing the internal structure of the plant, it can detect minute changes, allowing for early intervention. This technique is first being applied to the detection of Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening, which is potentially decimating to all varieties of citrus and currently has no treatment and no cost-effective and scalable early detection technology. Preliminary work has also shown the spectrophotometric imaging technique effective in assessing a number of other diseases in permanent crops such as apples, grapes, yuca, and olives. If there is a disease detected, the impact of this technology is tremendous. Entire orchards as well as neighboring orchards can be saved. This means saving the livelihoods of many farmers, not just for that year, but for several years, as Croptix is dealing with permanent crops.  Early detection also stops the unnecessary use of pesticides. This company’s work is related to SDG 12 ( Responsible Consumption and Production), SDG 15 (Life on Land), and SDG 8 ( Decent work and Economic growth).