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School projects are an efficient way to learn and sometimes can lead to unexpected and recognized innovations and business ideas. Jason Selvarajan, an environmental engineer graduated from Metropolia in 2013, started his Showerloop project during his studies, in attempt to create water- and energy saving solution for showering. Showerloop collects, cleans and reuses the water in real time while you are showering.
“It all started as a homework assignment for a basics of thermodynamics class. We had to explain the properties and functioning principal of a heat exchanger. With my team we combined it with an idea I had had in the past. I made a website for “ShowerMagic” (the name for the idea at first) to gauge the reaction of the classmates like a lean pitch and the results were encouraging.”
About two years later Jason started his thesis with his fellow student Kieran Holland and managed to build the first prototype for the product. The aim was to create a shower that could reduce pollution worldwide, bringing water and sanitation to people and places that don't have it.
“The school helped us with materials, labtime and work space. At the same time I was doing some business courses in the Metropolia Business School like the Startup programme that lecturer John Greene was hosting.”
The thesis was finished in 2013 and Jason graduated from Metropolia. He went to Malta for a few months.
“When I came back I started up again (with Showerloop) in a garage as I couldn’t give up on the idea. I was in Climate KIC’s Pioneers into Practice -programme – a work exchange for a few months and it paid enough that I could keep on working. In 2015 I joined the first OSCE days (Open Source Circular Economy days) and made a lot of friends and the network of makers in Finland started to open up to me. OSCE was great as it led me to AALTO FABLAB and finally to POC21, an innovation camp in France that really helped market my project.”
The start-up company was formed in late 2016 and business has been picking up ever since. Jason also has an exhibit at the Design Museum until November 2017. In May 2017 Showerloop won a Galileo Wissenspreis from the GreenTec Awards in Germany.
“GreenTec Awards, it’s a good story. I was asked to apply and someone from the organization really seemed to have a lot of faith in me. There was a big panel of judges that I never met but I’m very happy that Katharina Holstein from POC21 helped me write the application in German as that was one of the necessary tasks in the application. The gala itself was pretty cool. Showerloop stole the show as my acceptance speech seemed to resonate with artist Rea Garvey who spontaneously decided to invest 10 000 euros in our company and he announced it onstage. Pretty cool!”
Despite of the recognition and good reception for Showerloop, lot of work needs to be done for the product.
“I have been trying to find materials, tools and learn how to put it all together to make a product that has like a hundred pieces work and look nice. Investors are not interested in open hardware that’s not yet proven and neither are Finnish foundations. But we are getting there soon I hope.“
“I’d like to invite people to join me if they have skills that could be an asset. Right now Showerloop is a one man show but it should be a bigger team. I could use help to prepare a crowdfunding campaign, help build things and most importantly help with documentation as it’s an open hardware project. Serious candidates with available time are most welcomed on board!”
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