Israeli start-up Lishtot has won the Israel StartUp Open 2015 competition. Interview with CEO Netanel Raisch.
If you Google “boil water alerts” you’ll get over a hundred thousand results. Contaminated drinking water is a huge global problem. Just this week 300,000 homes in Lancashire U.K. were instructed to stop boiling their water after three weeks. There are dozens of boil water alerts in the U.S. every day.
A young Israeli start-up, Lishtot, is presenting a revolutionary tool to overcome the challenge of contaminated water and boil water alerts. The company has developed a unique straw like electronic device which can be dipped in water, and get a reading on water quality within seconds. The target price of the device to the end consumer will be less than US$50, the device is reusable and the cost per test will be a few cents.
“Over a million people die every year because they drink contaminated water,” explains CEO Netanel Raisch. “On the other side of the scale, tens of thousands of people boil their water due to alerts every day, in many cases unnecessarily.” When a boil water alert is put into place, the population has already drunk contaminated water for about 36 hours. It takes the water authority an additional 24 hours after the threat has passed to lift the ban on drinking tap water, and for most of that time the water in part of the alerted area is already safe to drink.
Lishtot was founded in 2015 by CEO Netanel Raisch and Dr. Alan Bauer, a diagnostics expert with many patents to his name. The company raised US$400K from private investors and the Office of the Chief Scientist, and is currently working on an investment round of $4M.
Raisch meets with investors, and sees how impressed people are with Lishtot’s “killer app.” “I usually take a glass of water, dip in our straw like device, which shows the water is safe to drink,” he explains. “Then when something happens to contaminate the water, someone spits in the glass for instance, then I do another test and within seconds the straw like device reports the water is unsafe.”
Lishtot’s technology tests all the conaminaiton types including bacteria , heavy metals, pesticides, toxins and organic waste. There is no comparable solution available on the market today.
Lishtot plans to provide water quality information not only to individuals, but to also upload data on water quality to the cloud, and thus create an online global water quality map to serve populations, utilities and governments.
The company has just won the StartUp Open 2015 competition held in Jerusalem by the Global Entrepreneurship Network, and will represent Israel in the global contest to be held in November.
“It’s exciting to see breakthrough technologies to vast, and critical, unmet needs develop,” says Oded Distel, head of Israel NewTech. “Lishtot is an example of Israeli ingenuity, and we look forward to seeing them move forward and succeed.”