TUNISIA – Kumulus, a Tunisian startup that extracts drinking water directly from the air, has successfully closed a €1 million (US$0.97m) pre-seed funding round to further improve its product and even deliver its first pre-ordered copies.

Several institutional investors participated in the round, including Paris Techstars Accelerator, Flat6Labs, WILCO and Bpifrance, and business angels.

Kumulus was established by Mohamed Ali Abid and Iheb Triki, and it builds thermal machines that are capable of producing several litres of drinking water per day.

As resources, the company only makes use of solar energy and humidity. Data gathered through the Internet of Things is used as input for predictive algorithms, which then work to improve water output and energy efficiency. Filtration and mineralization components are included in the system.

The air is drawn into the machine that Kumulus created using a solar-powered system. After going through a series of filters, the moisture in the air is separated, and the result is water that can be consumed. As a result, the purpose of the new company is to address the issue of water scarcity in Tunisia.

The company’s founders have stated that their goal is to target “markets where there is no reliable source of renewable drinking water or where water scarcity is of such a magnitude that it has become a burden on the local community.”

According to the company’s founders, existing alternatives in Tunisia, such as bottled water, transported cisterns, or non-renewable groundwater, are not always available to the country’s most impoverished citizens.

In Tunisia and Egypt, the cost of a litre of mineral water is around 10 cents, whereas the cost is above 15 cents in Morocco. The technique developed by Kumulus will produce 25 litres of water on a daily basis for less than 8 cents.

The Kumulus water machines will be available for purchase or supply on a subscription basis, with payments being paid for each litre of water generated by the unit. There will be a variety of sizes available, but the company will first begin with a machine that can produce 20 to 30 litres of water each day.

Another benefit is that there will be no usage of plastic bottles, and communities that are not connected to a public water supply will have access to their reliable supply of drinking water.

On November 9, 2021, Kumulus was awarded the POESAM International Grand Prize, which was sponsored and presented by Orange and was valued at €15,000 (US$14,535).

It got the second-place spot, with the first prize going to the Cameroonian startup company OuiCare.

This commendation will most likely, make it possible for the founders to realise their development objectives in the country.

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