Apple CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt may be at the helm of one of Silicon Valley’s greatest corporate rivalries, but when it comes to showering habits, the two men have more in common than one might think.
Cook and Schmidt are both early backers of Nebia, an eco-friendly shower system that atomizes water into a kind of mist in order to drastically reduce waste. After five years in the making, the product -- which comprises a shower head and a removable hand-wand -- is now debuting on Kickstarter, where it surged past its $100,000 goal in just eight hours. (As of now, it has raised more than $380,000.)
While Cook’s stake in the company was a personal investment, Apple said, Schmidt’s came care of the Schmidt Family Foundation, his charity organization. Y-Combinator also tendered an investment in the shower startup.
The patent-pending, self-installed system creates millions of tiny droplets of water that Nebia says cover 10 times more of the body’s surface area than a traditional shower -- all while using 70 percent less water. (While a normal shower requires 20 gallons of water, Nebia says it only uses six gallons.)
“It’s like walking through a cloud that cleans you,” described one user on the company’s Kickstarter page, which makes sense given that, in Italian, ‘nebbia’ means ‘fog.’ When it hits retail, the product will be sold for $399.
Equinox, Stanford University, Apple and Google have all installed Nebia prototypes in order to aid the development process.
Nebia is the brainchild of Carlos Gomez Andonaegui, who sought to provide a better shower experience at the health club he owned in Mexico City. He linked up with the American entrepreneur Philip Winter through a nonprofit economic development program called Endeavor. In 2014, the two joined forces with former Apple employee Gabriel Parisi-Amon, who previously worked on iPhone manufacturing design, to bring the product to life.
San Francisco-headquartered Nebia today counts seven employees.