The company is trying to make it easier for water utilities to spot contaminants faster, and it just received financial backing from several investors, plus a cash award from a Google-affiliated fund.
Varuna, a company providing sensors and software to help utilities better monitor water quality, has raised $1.5 million from several investors.
The company pulled in $100,000 from the Clean Energy Trust, an investment firm focused on clean technology in the Midwest, as well as backing from Urban.Us, Corazon Capital and others. It received a separate cash award of $100,000 from Google’s Black Founders Fund, which did not involve an equity stake.
Varuna’s approach is to target water utilities, which often rely on manually read water quality sensors that cost a lot and only touch a few parts of a water system, with less costly sensors that measure fewer contaminants but touch more parts of a system. By feeding information about a water system’s architecture and history into artificial intelligence algorithms, the company then seeks to provide a utility with more detailed information on the contaminants in water.
Such an approach could potentially help utilities with aging water infrastructure to see problems earlier, before they become major crises — see Flint, Mich., for details.
Aside from the most recent investments, Varuna also participated in the URBAN-X accelerator program last year.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with more complete information about Varuna's fundraising total.
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