Climate technology is hot, but venture capitalists must not lose sight of the importance of water.

These ferocious words come from the latest major United Nations study showing the escalating and universal repercussions of climate change. They apply to the air, water, and soil.

“There can be no doubt that human activity has warmed the atmosphere, the oceans, and the ground.”

There is a significant amount of venture capital and technology investment focused on air and land transportation innovation. Yet there is an urgent need for greater attention paid to water, a precious resource that covers 71 percent of the Earth’s surface — of which only about 0.3 percent is usable by humans — and which is at serious risk of drying up or heating up as a result of human activities.

The New York Times’ Kara Swisher predicted that “the world’s first trillionaire will be a greentech entrepreneur,” and that “the world’s first trillionaire will be a greentech entrepreneur.”

Water will become a thriving, venture-backed sector if the necessary investment vehicles and market reforms are in place. Water investments have the potential to propel the world’s first trillionaire to the top of the wealth ladder.

Accept the concept of “Water as a Service”

VC was a legend. Former CEO Marc Andreessen is credited with saying that software is consuming the planet. And I’m come to inform you that the planet is composed of 71% water.

In all seriousness, many people make the mistake of thinking of water as an easy problem that can be fixed with hardware or a quick mechanical fix, rather than as what it truly is: a complex problem that may be minimised with the correct combination of technology and software. 

Water should be approached in the same way as other software- and technology-first markets such as e-commerce, ridesharing, and fintech should be approached by venture capitalists and other investors. They should think about investing in water-focused companies that have SaaS business models and/or particular software solutions that are backed by solid go-to-market strategies and long-term objectives that are both realistic and aspirational.

Water is a market that has the potential to be disrupted

Inextricably linked to the global economy (supply chain and logistics), the people’s homes (electricity), and their livelihoods, water is essential to all of these areas (agriculture). There are several essential and, in some cases, life-saving industries such as chip manufacture, cancer, tourism, and ecosystem services that are related to it invisibly. Another industry with significant opportunity for innovation and reinvention is water, which has been traditionally regulated and fragmented.


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