Tern Water, the startup behind the smart faucet that gained a bit traction on Indiegogo last year, has begun shipping preorders of its flagship product and says a revamped website is launching next month.
The faucet attachment measures water consumption and promises to track tap water quality in real time through a phone app. It will also alert users when the batteries need to be swapped, automatically shipping replacements to customer’s homes.
CEO Mohamed Zerban and fellow 2016 Drexel University grad Connor White founded the company while in school and developed the smart faucet for about two years, Zerban told Technical.ly Philly last year.
The company raised about $9,500 during its fundraising campaign (just 27% of its original $35,000 goal) and touted the product as the “first smart water filter.”
The faucets were initially slated to ship in April, but that didn’t happen, as shared by one concerned Indiegogo backer who reached out to Technical.ly. Zerban said the timeline was pushed back because the team wanted to work on the service aspect — the specs and stats of the water — before the official rollout.
“If we wanted to sacrifice quality, we could have been done in April,” he said. “[Customers] are buying into the idea of improved water inside their homes. The product is cool and all, but it’s about the service, the knowledge, understanding what they’re consuming.”
The smart faucets will be shipped a year and a half after the company released a contested report on local water quality. The Philadelphia Water Department’s own 2017 report on water quality says Philly’s water has no contaminants above recommended federal levels after testing for close to 100 different compounds, while Tern’s report found that 90% of about 200 tests conducted had at least one risky contaminant; about half of those tests were conducted in Philly. The City later cited concerns with the Tern study: “They’re not an accredited lab,” Philadelphia Water Department spokesperson Joanne Dahme told Technical.ly.
It’s worth noting that it’s not uncommon for crowdfunded products to take longer than expected to ship to backers. CNNMoney found that 84% of Kickstarter’s 50 most-supported campaigns missed their stated delivery date goals. Following its wildly successful Indiegogo campaign that kicked off in October 2015, ROAR for Good’s flagship product finally shipped its pre-orders in August 2017. (The company has since pivoted to B2B.) Even Indiegogo’s blog notes, “Delays are common for crowdfunders.”
Although the preorders for the faucet attachment are shipping now, months after expected, Zerban said he’s excited nonetheless.
“We’ve been working tirelessly over the last year now, we’ve done a lot of testing and talked to hundreds of testers,” he said.
The company will launch its website and orders to the general public on August 1. Zerban said that 5% sale proceeds will be donated to nonprofits that bring clean water to children without access to it.
The faucet costs $250 with a free three-month subscription to the company’s service, which includes the filter replacements. After, the service runs users $10 a month.