The Surprising Start-Up That Tech's Biggest Names Are Backing

Some of tech's biggest names have rallied behind a surprising new start-up. Apple chief executive Tim Cook, Google chairman Eric Schmidt and his Schmidt Family Foundation, and prominent incubator Y Combinator have all backed Nebia, a six-person start-up that makes an eco-conscious shower head.

Yep, a shower head.

Nebia is a sleek, adjustable shower fixture that atomizes water so it can cover 10 times the surface area of a standard shower. That process also ends up using 70% less water than a normal shower head (six gallons per average use versus 20 gallons). Since the Nebia retails at $400, the company says you'd earn back that cost in water savings over the course of two years. The modern-looking water fixture is made of anodized aluminum and features both a circular, handheld nozzle and an overhead nozzle.

"Nebia’s showering technology has the potential to be transformative,” Wendy Schmidt, president of the Schmidt foundation, told The New York Times in a statement. “It...can also have a significant impact on water use — not just in California, where we’re experiencing a severe drought — but around the world, where freshwater resources are limited.”
Nebia has been developing its shower technology for the past five years — and, more recently, testing it at Equinox gyms and at Google, Apple, and Stanford University campuses. It is now raising (more) funds on Kickstarter (although it's unclear how much it has already raised from backers such as Cook).

Folks who checked out the shower firsthand had a range of responses: "strange, but not in an unpleasant way," "wonderful," and "it’s like you’re standing inside a thick, soaking patch of mist." Despite its low-intensity, misty stream, the fixture still does a good job getting you clean.

Even for something that's going to revolutionize our shower game, $400 is definitely steep — but we're willing to give it a shot. Nebia aims to ship next May.

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