This week in our Startup Spotlight blog series is our 2023 XTC @ CES Sustainable Smart Cities Category Winner – Watersight!
Six Questions for Eli Assoolin – CEO, and Eyal Yatskan – CTO, Co-Founders of Newsight from which Watersight is a spin-off
Eli Assoolin is the Co-founder, CEO, and Chairman of the Board at Newsight Imaging. He brings over 24 years of experience in the semiconductor industry and sensor technology to the company. Throughout his career, Eli has held various key positions in chip design and CAD, including at companies such as Motorola, DSP Group, and Magma ICCOM. He also served as the General Manager of Maple Technologies. Eli holds a BSc in Computer Science and an Executive-MBA from Bar Ilan University.
Eyal Yatskan is the Co-founder, CTO, and a board member at Newsight Imaging. He has an impressive track record with over 25 years of experience in the semiconductor industry. Throughout his career, Eyal has held CTO, R&D Manager, and VLSI Department Manager positions in full custom ASIC/FPGA design at leading companies such as Rachip and TransChip. Eyal is also a Senior Lecturer at the Holon Institute of Technology, Hightech Experts Training, and CDC. He holds a BA in Computer Engineering from the Technion and an MBA from Boston University.
1. What problem is WATERSIGHT solving and how?
At Watersight, we understand the importance of having real-time visibility into the quality of our drinking water. The traditional methods of monitoring and sampling can be costly and time-consuming, and oftentimes, water quality is only discovered after contamination has already taken place. Striking a balance between visibility and cost presents a challenge for the market right now. On one hand, we aim for maximum coverage of the water network and treatment plants, and on the other hand, we prioritize affordability, minimal impact on the environment, low energy usage, and seamless connectivity in our system.
2. What are the backgrounds that led you-two into Newsight and Watersight?
Eli Assoolin – CEO and Co-Founder of Newsight
My partner Eyal Yatskan and I decided to focus on chips for spectral analysis and machine vision when we founded Watersight’s parent company, Newsight Imaging. Our background is in semiconductors, and we realized that once we succeeded in implementing the spectrometer-on-chip we wanted, we would have to focus on applications that not only had the best economic feasibility, but also the greatest impact. So we approached the top innovative company specializing in water, Mekorot, the Israeli national water company, which worked with us during a long process of testing our spectral technology based on machine learning and AI that our talented team developed. Personally, I’ve always appreciated what developed countries usually would take for granted: clean water is one of the most important things. I’m a proponent of a greener world and better living conditions for underserved populations, and if we can contribute to that while meeting our investors’ goals, that’s the best thing.
Eyal Yatskan – CTO and Co-Founder of Newsight
Growing up in a country with limited water resources taught Eli and me the invaluable importance of clean, fresh water. That’s why working with Mekorot to improve water quality is a dream come true for us. Our spectrometer-on-chip technology has the power to make a meaningful impact on both our daily lives and various industries worldwide. Joining forces with Mekorot at Watersight has been incredibly rewarding, and we are grateful for the support of investors who share our vision of using technology to create a better world.
3. What is unique about your technology and what is the validation status?
It is our approach that is unique. And it’s all thanks to our patented CMOS spectrometer sensor chip made by our parent-company Newsight. This chip allows us to take up to 4000 multispectral images at different wavelengths every second, giving us a massive dataset to work with.
We then use machine learning and AI to analyze this data, allowing each of our patent-pending sensing devices, called AquaRing, to get smarter over time and detect anomalies more effectively. This means that we’re able to provide real-time visibility into the safety of drinking water or any other liquid.
Our approach to water quality monitoring is condition-based, meaning that we assess the overall condition of the water by analyzing its spectral fingerprint. This allows us to detect potential indicators of water events more quickly, rather than simply seeking specific parameters that may have reached certain levels. This type of monitoring is more responsive to changing conditions and is crucial in ensuring that water quality is maintained.
Our system is a game changer in terms of size, cost, power consumption and the fact that it’s a connected device that works instantly with the cloud and it’s AI-based monitoring system which provides a more comprehensive solution. On all these parameters, we are superior to existing solutions.
4. What are your Go-To-Market ideas and traction received so far?
Our go-to-market strategy targets the water utilities, beverage manufacturers, agriculture, smart water meter and faucet manufacturing markets. We’ve launched 2 pilot programs, AquaRing III and AquaRing X, to test our product in real-world scenarios and gather feedback from our pilot partners. Our pilot partners receive first-class support for the first month and a discount on their purchases of AquaRing (for the AquaRing X program).
Our business model involves a one-time deposit for the AquaRing, followed by a monthly subscription fee. So far, our pilots have shown positive results and we’re confident in the potential of our product in the market.
5. What’s next?
Our vision is to see hundreds of thousands or even millions of AquaRings operating around the globe in their important mission to test water quality and alert many centers. We think the system could be significantly upgraded to check for biological contaminants and over time, using the next-generation chips and machine learning algorithms, become the industry standard for many important checks. We envision AquaRings in the water grid, buildings, water meters, desalination plants, residential filtration, developed countries’ water systems, agriculture, and even medicine and other industries. We believe that with our flexibility, our chips, and the great power of AI, we can achieve great success.
6. Tell us about your experience with XTC and what were the benefits/takeaways?
At Watersight, we are thrilled to have won the XTC competition at CES 2023 for Sustainable Smart Cities. This significant accomplishment has opened up many opportunities for us, and provided us with a valuable platform to network with industry leaders and explore new partnerships and investment opportunities. Participating in the XTC was a great experience for us, and we are grateful for the recognition and support from the community. The XTC award is highly regarded around the world, and we are proud to be a part of it.
Interviewed and edited by John Martin
Together We Can Empower Global Innovation!
Enter the XTC competition
Join us to excite and impact
Help shape a better future