Pydro Aims Save Billions Of Litres Of Drinking Water With Clean Energy

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Did you ever imagine there would be a way to produce thousands of Megawatt hours of clean energy able to save big amounts of drinking water? The Hamburg based startup Pydro, before Pipe Hydro Energy, aims to bring this idea to life with the aid of its innovative smart pressure management system for water pipes. Co-founder Felix Müller tells us about this revolutionary idea. Learn more:

Who is Felix Müller and how did he end up co-founding Pydro?

Before co-founding Pydro I was a Startup Consultant for innovative technologies at Startup Dock, an incubator at the Technical University of Hamburg, advising young scientists and students on how to turn their ideas and prototypes into businesses. My partner Mulundu was one of the people I advised. As I really liked his idea and saw that we would benefit from each other’s skill sets, we teamed up to found the company.

Describe Pydro in 50 or less words.

We developed a plug’n’play smart pressure management system for water pipes, which consists of an in-pipe hydro turbine and monitoring system to control pressure levels, recover superfluous energy and monitor water flows.

Why did you decide to pursue your own dreams rather than someone else’s?

I don’t care pursuing someone else’s dream as long as we have the same dream. I think it’s rather a question of whether you are willing to get out of your comfort zone and are able to motivate yourself or rather being motivated by your boss.

Describe your typical working day from coming to the office to leaving it.

I arrive at the office at around 9:30 am. By then, I already answered all-important messages, checked my wunderlist, chat, etc., on the metro. My co-founder and I have about one to two team meetings a day. At the desk it’s a continuous change between talking on the phone, writing emails and being productive on a certain project. At around 12:30 pm we go for a half an hour lunch, and in the afternoon there’s a meeting with our working student. My co-founder usually comes early and leaves early, so I often enjoy some time on my own after 6 – 8 pm when I’m alone at the office. Then, I print some documents I’m interested in reading on the way home in order to take the best advantage of my time.

In what ways do you measure your success and how do you make sure you don’t lose track?

We clearly measure our success by milestones set by ourselves. Who can estimate better what you are able to achieve in a certain amount of time than yourself?

Already pivoted? Did customers use the Sichone Turbine like you imagined it in the beginning?

We are still in prototype development phase but we have talked to many potential customers and everyone can imagine installing our turbine. The feedback from our potentials customers is as we hoped.

With ferocious competition and a booming trend to build new companies: How do you make sure you don’t get lost in the shuffle?

We know our competitors and are convinced that we are building a better product. We are developing the product closely with our potential customers (i.e., User Centered Design) to ensure we’ll build a product that is actually needed. Of course there is always risk of large companies or new startups entering the market, but having no competitors should make you question yourself. The perfect situation would be having a handful of competitors in a new market niche.

What would you say is the creative factor that differentiates your startup from others?

What we are really working hard for, is a mindset that is always open to alternative ideas even if that means that our old plan, in which we invested so much work, might not be realized. Creativity means destruction of the state of the art and you have to accept that, otherwise, creativity can’t cause disruptive changes.

Bootstrapped or financed: What fuels your startup now and what will in the future?

Bootstrapping wouldn’t be possible. Only our prototype costs about 15.000 EUR. However, we received two public grants and won some prize money from idea competitions.

In 7 years from now: How did your startup change the world?

Pydro will have produced thousands of Megawatt hours of clean energy and saved billions of litres of drinking water.

Who did you co-found Pydro with and how would you describe your team?

By September our third co-founder will join our team. My partners are Mulundu and Michael. Mulundu has a background in mechanical engineering and Michael in mechatronics. I would describe our team as diverse in the skills set but equally driven and motivated to be successful with Pydro.

What do you look for in team members?

Firstly, it’s the cultural fit. If I don’t have the feeling the person would be a good match it won’t work. Secondly, it’s the motivation and inner drive in working in a startup, and finally the skills of the person.

Why would a talent join your team?

Because his or her profile is a good match for the requirements mentioned above.

On the 30th of May this year your startup received an important prize at the Hamburg Innovation Awards. Could you tell us a little bit about it?

We received 15.000 EUR for the founder’s prize in sustainability from a foundation in Hamburg. We won because we convinced the jury with our innovative idea, its large market size and the impact our product can have on sustainability.

Apart from this important innovation recognition you received, what was your most memorable moment so far?

The time we won the idea competition “Wasser im Netz” which was rewarded with 10.000 EUR by the German company Hansgrohe, renowned manufacturer of water taps. It was a worldwide competition and we prevailed against 100 other ideas. The media coverage afterwards was also great, as we appeared in three newspapers and on various internet sites.

What advice would you give fellow founders for their startup?

Never stop believing in yourself. Go out, talk to potential customers and surround yourself with people who have the same drive and entrepreneurial spirit as you. Don’t give up in those moments when you think there is no way to make it work, because remember that life is a roller coaster ride and founding a startup is probably the biggest roller coaster you can ride.



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