Water management system Wellntel

Water Management System Wellntel Grows as America Notices Its Resources

DataDay Design is interviewing CEOs and Founders of start-ups and early-stage companies to chat about entrepreneurship and learn how these businesses are navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. This interview is with Marian Singer, CEO, and co-founder of Wellntel, a cloud-based water management and information system that helps customers quantify and sustainably control their water resources. 

You can read more of our interviews with America’s brightest entrepreneurs here

What is Wellntel?

Wellntel is a patented monitoring technology, data management, and decision support platform that helps customers get the insight they need to understand and dynamically manage their water consumption and use. 

Why and How Did You Start a Water Management Company?

The idea came to Marian and her co-founder, Nick Hayes, during a project at their boutique consulting firm in Milwaukee.

Together, they spent a year on a groundwater project for a global client and realized that the measurement system for groundwater was lacking. They decided to change the system for how water is measured by bringing in new technology to make monitoring ubiquitous. 

Pictured: Nick Hayes and Marian Singer

In the past, academics or the government measured water. They’d typically send an individual out a few times a year to a monitoring well where they’d use a special tape measure to determine the groundwater level.

Six months later, they’d measure again, knowing nothing about the changes or trends in between. 

That approach created more questions than answers. Were the changes naturally variable, or was it a trend to be concerned about? This sparsity of data was fine when groundwater was relatively stable, but with growing populations, industrial agriculture, and climate change, groundwater has become much more dynamic. 

A lack of rich datasets and insight make it increasingly difficult for communities, businesses, and farmers to know that they have sufficient water resources to stay in the places they are and ensure sustainable development, production and harvest and safeguard real estate value.

This is how Wellntel was born. Marian and Nick decided to take advantage of the advances in remote sensing to create a non-invasive, battery-powered sensor that could be installed at the top of any well and connected to a cloud information system, measuring constantly. This creates a greater understanding of the ebbs and flows in ground and surface water levels. Additionally, it helps provide detailed information to make better decisions. 

How Has Wellntel Grown From Its Earliest Stages?

Wellntel commercially launched in 2015 with private well owners as their customer target. The business pivoted to public agencies and private business well owners, including beverage manufacturers and farmers in 2017. The company began to sell in “networks” (multiple sensors) to help businesses and communities track groundwater levels over large areas. 

In 2018, Wellntel broadened its scope to include the entire water cycle. That meant not only focusing on groundwater supply, but also on surface water supply, precipitation, recharge, and total water use. The company brought third-party data feeds into their cloud platform. Specifically, the USGS online monitoring network, NOAA’s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association) weather monitoring station data, and other manufacturer’s sensors. Now, Wellntel is an all-encompassing water management system. 

Water management system Wellntel
Wellntel’s water management system

How Is Climate Change Affecting Water Management and WellnTel’s Growth?

The climate change conversation has typically focused on the carbon cycle. However, in the last few years, companies have begun to answer a larger range of questions from their investors. Businesses have realized that their access to capital is increasingly impacted by their ability to be sustainable and prove sustainability. 

Water, for many industries, is either a key input to their product, or it’s a key part of their production process. At the same time, consumers have begun to say, “I want to buy things that are sustainable”. In addition, communities are refusing to let corporations pilfer their resources (in the US, water is one of the main resources communities fight over).

 A perfect storm has developed in which businesses have a vested interest in improving their sustainability, especially around water use. This transition in corporate America is accelerating interest and action around water management, a decidedly positive trend for Wellntel. 

 How has COVID-19 Impacted WellnTel and Its Digital Strategy?

Similar to most other businesses, during the first three months of COVID-19, things really slowed down. Luckily, there were no cancellations, just a few postponements. Wellntel took advantage of that pause to better orient themselves towards the future via strategic planning, a website relaunch, and a renewed focus on marketing. 

In the past, the company would typically speak at eight conferences a year. Since those conferences are all virtual now, the one-on-one conversations they’d usually have are much harder to come by. This change forced Wellntel to think about how to utilize digital marketing to better market its value.

For example, the company has focused on improving its SEO presence and invested in email marketing to pinpoint customers. Overall, they’ve placed a greater emphasis on raising their digital presence.

In the last couple of months, things have begun to speed back up. Since Wellntel’s sensor work is outdoors, and its cloud-based system is ideal for remote collaboration, the company has weathered some of the harsher impacts of COVID-19.

You can read more of our interviews with America’s brightest entrepreneurs here

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