By Farid Mirmohseni, founder of WipeHero
Your first thought upon being asked what the world’s most precious commodity is might be gold, or diamonds. But in reality, it’s fresh, clean water, making the huge amounts of water we waste every day a problem.
One of the biggest water wasters is car washing, with around 100-200 litres required to wash a mid-sized car. If the 17 million vehicles registered in Australia are washed once a month with 100 litres of water, this means we’re wasting over 1000 billion litres of water each year in Australia alone – or 40,000 Olympic swimming pools’ worth. This wastage costs us $3 billion each year.
What’s more, waste is only the beginning, with contamination another problem. Washing the car at home on hard surfaces often results in detergents flowing into storm drains, and into our rivers, lakes, and streams. Over 13 gigalitres of contaminated water flows into stormwater systems around the country each year, which can have an effect on the health of not only flora and fauna, but people as well.
WipeHero was created to solve these issues. After four years of research and development with my father Reza Mirmohseni, a chemistry professor, we invented a waterless car ‘wash and wax’ technology that not only enabled us to wash the car, but also leaves a protective polymer layer on the car paint that provides protection against UV rays while also prolonging the cleanness of the car.
Shortly after developing the product, I came to the realisation that in order to scale globally and have a meaningful contribution to global water conservation, we couldn’t rely on the traditional retail model and had to create a service platform. It baffled me that nobody had created an ‘Uber for Carwashing’. We have eliminated the cost and practicality barriers that have prevented this business model from developing, with a mess-free, waterless wash than can be conducted anywhere in a city.
It allows a user who needs their car washed to book a certified washer, who will arrive with the waterless wash and wax cream. This patented cream is comprised of a unique formulation of polymer surfactants that emulsify the dirt and grime particles, forming a bubble of sorts around them and detaching them for the surface. It also leaves a polymer layer that provides a wax, shiny finish and also acts as a protective layer against UV rays.
WipeHero isn’t just another carwash business. We stand for a greater cause: saving the environment by protecting our natural resources and creating a sustainable business. Our objective is to create a service where people will benefit through economic car detailing, as well as the creation of work opportunities around the country.
UNSW Innovations provided invaluable support throughout the development of WipeHero. A meeting with Joe Allen was one of the first appointments I made when I had the idea for the business. He helped me think about the customer mechanics and, essentially, how to firm a sustainable business. UNSW Innovations also provided valuable legal advice.
WipeHero was among the finalists at the recent Demo The World pitch competition in China, where we met with a number of potential investors, including one interested in forming a partnership to help us enter the Chinese market.