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Strategic Ventures Impact Insights: July 2023 (Volume 1, Number 7)

SVR Global

01 Jul 2023

July 2023 (Volume 1, Number 7)

Why We Are Investing: WAVE Drowning Detection Systems

Why Drowning Detection Systems?

Drowning is the global epidemic nobody talks about, with over 236,000 fatalities annually; it is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths (see In the United States, there are over 20,000 drowning incidents each year and 4,000 fatalities - most of them children (it is the single leading cause of death for children aged 1 through 4: The development of sophisticated, accurate, and timely drowning detection systems is key to dealing with this epidemic, and WAVE is the clear leader.


WAVE’s ( unique drowning detection technology helps to bridge the gap between open water and pool safety. Unlike camera-based drowning detection systems that need to be installed and can only be used in pools with clear water, WAVE’s innovative technology can protect every swimmer - in any body of water, pool or lake, clear or obscured.

The market is beginning to take notice, and WAVE has demonstrated tremendous year-over-year growth in every area from product development to marketing, sales, and financial results. In 2Q’23:

  • Revenue has increased over 430% in 1H’23 vs. 1H’22, with a material decrease of 22% in operating expenses over the same period

  • WAVE has completed deployments at five more YMCAs and two more Boys and Girls’ Clubs of America

  • Six customers purchased an additional system

  • WAVE completed deployment at their first private for-profit camp customer

  • WAVE rolled out production of their new W2000 System Hub and Lifeguard Entry Alert (LEA) System and has successfully reduced manufacturing costs

  • They received an Aquatics International Magazine 2023 Most Valuable Product Award for their updated Lifeguard Entry Alert System

  • They announced that Ralph Welsch-Lehmann will be joining WAVE as a part-time CFO beginning in July

And WAVE’s progress continues to accelerate in other critical areas of the business:

  • Marketing continues to gain traction, with over 158K emails delivered, 27K unique opens, almost 6K unique clicks, and almost 2K 1-to-1 emails sent since March

  • This marketing push has resulted in 56 total deals added to the sales pipeline in that time

  • A new headset wearable (called a Tracker) is now in early production runs, with a sleeker, lighter, and more ergonomic design; it also requires fewer parts and assembly is much faster and more efficient

  • R&D work continues to enable the system to use a wireless feature called “Bluetooth Roaming,” allowing lifeguards wearing WAVE Staff Bracelets to move from one swim area to another in the same facility without loss of coverage

The entire team is excited by WAVE’s progress and we look forward to sharing more details with you; please feel free to contact Mitchell Hauser, SV’s Managing Partner and a WAVE board member, for more information or to arrange a meeting with Mark Caron, WAVE’s CEO.

Enhanced Safety in Pool Swimming and Open Water Environments

Swimming, our second-most-popular activity

In the United States, swimming is the second most popular leisure activity after walking. It is also one of the most dangerous, with over 20,000 drowning incidents and over 4,000 fatalities each year; world-wide, there are over 230,000 drowning deaths each year and drowning is the 3rd-leading cause of unintentional injury death, accounting for 7% of all deaths due to unintentional injury (see for more United States statistics, and for world-wide figures).

Safer Pool Swimming

Nationwide, 2,454 pool drownings occurred between 2019 and 2021. 31% of pool-related drownings involve a child under the age of 5 with most pool drownings happening in June, July, and August. In terms of non-fatal drowning injuries, there have been 18,600 injuries involving a child over the last three years; in 75% of those recorded injuries, the child was under the age of 5. For further facts and stats about drowning please click here.

Drowning fatalities have surpassed 87% in home pools or hot tubs for children younger than 5. Adults play a crucial role in protecting children from drowning near and around pools. According to the Stop Drowning Now Organization, barriers, life jackets, and being vigilant are vital in pool environments to ensure safety of all. More than 23% of child drownings happen in a pool; according to Cedars Sinai, preparation is the key to a safer summer at the pool. To prepare, they suggest:

  • Pool owners should have a fence at least 4 ft high around the pool to ensure any unsupervised children or animals make their way into the poo


  • Pool owners should also have an undistracted adult to provide supervision to children or inexperienced swimmers

  • Have flotation devices in and around the pool including a life jacket, floating noodles, or a paddleboard

  • Keep a cell phone in the pool area in case of an emergency, owners can call for help immediately

  • Pool owners should learn basic CPR in case of emergency

Good Morning America further noted that, since 2018, the month of July has seen the highest number of unintentional drowning deaths. Similarly, GMA stresses the importance of pool safety preparation including barriers and alarms, supervision, water competency, life jackets, and emergency preparation. For further information from Good Morning America, please click here.

Swimming Safety in the Open Water

Open water swimming (OWS) is a rapidly growing discipline within organized aquatic sports and recreational activities. Over the past 30 years, there has been a proliferation of such events in lakes, rivers, reservoirs, and ocean courses, particularly in temperate countries where water temperatures are more welcoming. In the same vein, the challenges posed by OWS in often unwelcoming environments are now better acknowledged and studied.

Drowning is consistently listed as one of the leading causes of unintentional injury-related deaths worldwide, ranking among the top three (Peden et al., 2008). Aquatic recreational activities contribute significantly to unintentional injuries caused by drowning, particularly in high-income countries where there is abundant access to aquatic environments and a substantial amount of recreational water-based activities. To read more about open water swimming measures click here.

Some of these challenges include:

  • Limited Visibility: In lakes and ponds, the water can have poor clarity, concealing potential dangers like rocks, logs, and uneven surfaces. Reduced visibility can also make it challenging to detect if a child accidentally falls into the water.

  • Water Temperature: The temperature of open water is typically lower compared to that of a pool, and this temperature difference can impact a child's swimming proficiency. Furthermore, an unexpected immersion in cold water can induce a state of shock, potentially leading to hypothermia, panic, and ultimately even drowning. From 1999 to 2011, a total of 16,911 deaths in the United States, an average of 1,301 per year, were associated with hypothermia.

  • Depth, Drop-offs, and Currents: Unlike a pool, open water rarely has depth markings, making it difficult to know if kids are getting into water that is over their heads. According to NOAA and CDC, there have been 435 U.S. rip current deaths from 2017 to 2023. Additionally, Currents in rivers, creeks and streams can be fast-moving and unpredictable. While some strong currents such as rapids are visible, others can flow under the water’s surface. It is worth mentioning that it is not unusual for drowning in shallow water to occur. 25-30% of drowning deaths nationwide happen in water that's only 3 feet or less. Click here for more details.

  • Other challenges: Weather and seasonal differences, poor water quality, other people in the water, and lack of appropriate equipment. To read more about OWS challenges click here.

While drowning in swimming pools gets significant attention, the fact is that most children and teens fatally drown in lakes, rivers, oceans, reservoirs, and other types of open water (79% of all drownings occur in open water). As water-related activities are increasing nationally, the health and safety of children, adults, and athletes remain a shared prime concern.

Safer Swimming Everywhere - with WAVE Drowning Detection Systems

In a study conducted by Moran (2009), it was found that over a quarter of caregivers failed to provide adequate supervision for young children at the beach, leading to potential drowning risks. Moreover, Pia (1971) highlighted the challenges in identifying distressed individuals in open water as they are often unable to call for help. To address these critical issues, WAVE DDS acts as an extra pillar of protection for lifeguards by providing continuous surveillance and immediate reaction capabilities.

By leveraging cutting-edge technology, WAVE DDS offers an efficient alert system that promptly notifies lifeguards of potential risks, enabling them to respond swiftly and effectively. This innovative solution ensures that lifeguards remain engaged and alert, significantly reducing the risk of drowning and promoting a safer environment for beachgoers and swimmers.

YouSolar is a renewable energy company that aims to address the problem of unreliable power supply and high energy costs. They offer innovative solar energy solutions that combine solar panels, battery storage, and an intelligent energy management system into a solar micro-grid. By harnessing solar power and efficiently storing excess energy, YouSolar seeks to provide homeowners and businesses with a reliable and cost-effective alternative to traditional power sources, reducing their dependence on the grid and promoting sustainable energy usage.

  • The most recent five PowerBloc orders for high-end homes total more than $825,000 (pre-tex)

  • YouSolar’s most recent sale to a winery in California’s Monterey Wine Country is another proof point of the PowerBloc’s unique suitability for the commercial market. This is YouSolar’s second sale to a vineyard

  • YouSolar has added three new members to the sales team, continuing to build partnerships with builders and architects in Northern California.

YouSolar's goal for the next 12 months is to establish YouSolar as the premier independent power solution in the high-end residential segment. For further information on YouSolar or to arrange a call with the CEO, Arnold Leitner, please contact Mitchell Hauser.

This month, we’re excited to welcome Soojin Choung to the SV team as a Venture Partner.

Soojin worked as an investment analyst at firms including JP Morgan and Fidelity, traveling and living globally across several continents. She has been involved with start-up investments and business development for early-stage climate technology companies since 2017, having led successful supply contracts and strategic investments. She is the CEO of Witness Creative Partners, and actively advises climate tech startups and mid-sized companies for cross-border business development and capital enhancement. To learn more about Soojin, click here.

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