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Start-up gets Tim Cook in the shower

This start-up says it's found a way to conserve water: Use rocket science in shower-head technology.

"We have applied sophisticated computational fluid dynamics to create Nebia," Nebia co-founder Philip Winter told CNBC. "We have created a refreshing new user experience for bathing that people prefer, and we save a dramatic amount of water and energy."

It's a concept that's making a huge splash among high-profile investors like Apple CEO Tim Cook and Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google parent Alphabet.


Taking the Plunge

Nebia Shower System
Source: Nebia
Nebia Shower System

Winter and co-founders Carlos Gomez Andonaegui and Gabriel Parisi-Amon launched Nebia in September 2014.

"Our motivation is as much to reduce water consumption as it is to challenge long-held norms that you need more water to have a better experience, and in doing so change people's behavior," said Winter.

The Nebia shower system uses technology found in rocket engines to atomize water into millions of tiny droplets. The start-up claims the resulting mist has 10 times the surface area of water from a typical showerhead, which means it will coat your skin more thoroughly, while also using 70 percent less water.

"This creates an experience that feels half way between a steam shower and a regular shower," said Winter.

The unit can be installed without a plumber and includes an adjustable height bracket and hand-held wand.

Nebia currently sells directly to hotels and gyms where consumers can test the product.

The shower is also available for preorder on the company website for $349. Shipments are expected to roll out in late 2016.


Diving Deeper

Nebia Shower System
Source: Nebia
Nebia Shower System

Concerned about the high price, David Wu, a venture capitalist at Maveron, asked if Nebia planned to reduce the price anytime soon.

Winter said manufacturing accounts for half of the retail price. "It's all one big piece of anodized aluminum, and that is a premium material," he said. He added that at the moment, the nozzle technology would be difficult to produce any cheaper, but Nebia said it intends to lower costs as it scales over time.

Nir Liberboim, founder of Uprise Ventures, questioned if the mist-based system would work for women with long hair who need strong water pressure to wash out hair products.

Winter said the start-up has had 700 people test the product in different prototype stages, including women with either long or curly hair,"and I'm happy to say it's no problem right now."

The San Francisco based start-up would not disclose how much it's raised in private funding, but preorders on Kickstarter have reached $3.1 million.

Winter also said the start-up has plans to add new products that use innovative water technologies "and make them better user experiences and more sustainable."

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