Our big goal for this year was the barrier of 1,000 products, which we’ve been chasing for some time, Rui Teixeira, founder and executive chairman of Hoterway, told Lusa in an interview conducted online.
The Hoterway concept was born in 2015, when Rui Teixeira, a researcher at the University of Aveiro and working with phase change materials, identified the potential of this technology to efficiently solve the waiting time for hot water in buildings , explained himself.
The initial idea consisted of a shower column, which through this phase change system charges a battery inside the product with just the passage of hot water, being ready to heat the water at the start of the next shower.* 100006*
Since then, and after a ‘crowdfunding’ campaign, Hoterway has developed a new product, designed from the point of view of integration in the construction phase and which is applied in houses and hotels precisely to solve this problem of hot water distribution by the whole house.
The campaign, in 2018, had a positive response for the company, which saw the market talking, with customers reacting very well, because they have a very clear idea of the problem they have, according to the founder.* 100010*
Rui Teixeira gave the example of a proposal for a pilot project that Hoterway is implementing in 12 of the approximately 100 rooms in a hotel.
The operating costs they currently have associated with the alternative solution to ours are around five thousand euros per year, and we managed, with our solution and with an investment of around eight thousand euros, to reduce these annual operating costs to around two thousand, defended the company’s president.
In terms of acceptance among individual Portuguese customers, Rui Teixeira pointed out that in the national market there is a very clear notion of the problem that people have at home with wasting water in the initial heating process.
Questioned about the effects of heavy water, he assured that several rapid aging tests were carried out and that limescale deposition on the mechanism was not verified, but he pointed out that it can be the target of the same descaling systems used in boilers or systems with contact with water, having also praised the products’ 20-year warranty.
Hoterway closed an investment round in March with two Portuguese investment funds — Beta Capital and Inside Ventures — for a two-year business plan focused on implementing the product with a focus on the hotel industry, but without leaving apart from the issue of housing.
The company estimates revenue of 200 thousand euros this year and one million in 2025.
Growth, says the founder, has been more difficult because the technology came about through an unknown brand.
Problems in the supply chain resulting from the war in Ukraine and the covid-19 pandemic were another obstacle for the company, which had to change controllers’ suppliers and was faced with prices that rose sharply.
We had to change suppliers, we are paying much more. I’m not going to say that it’s an access limitation, but it’s clearly a very significant penalty in terms of price, and I’m talking about paying about five times more for the controllers than we were paying, said Rui Teixeira.
As far as raw materials are concerned, materials such as aluminum, copper, used for the phase change, the increases were around 30%, 35%.
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