Aquam Raises $26M to Expand Tech, Services for Aging Infrastructure

Aquam, a San Diego company with technology for cleaning out and re-lining aging utility pipelines, has raised $26 million in a growth capital round led by NewWorld Capital Group, a New York private equity firm that makes investments in sustainable energy and natural-resources related deals.

As municipalities and utilities confront intractable infrastructure problems that range from the drinking water crisis in Flint, MI, to a 2010 natural gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno, CA, Aquam says its proprietary technology and services can extend the life of pipelines, and make them more resilient. The privately held company said the funding would enable Aquam’s family of businesses to advance technologies under development and expand around the world.

Private equity firms have been focusing increasingly on opportunities in and around sustainable energy, and NewWorld Capital has made a number of investments in solar and wind energy companies, including San Diego’s now-closed OneRoof Energy. Seattle’s PitchBook identified the Foresight Group, GE Energy Financial Services, and Glennmont Partners as the most-active private equity investors in sustainable energy in 2016.

Investors also have been focusing their attention on water and energy infrastructure. The San Francisco startup Enview recently raised $6 million in a round led by Crosslink Capital to detect problems in pipelines and electrical power lines.

In the recent statement from Aquam, CEO Dan Squiller says, “This investment enables us to remedy toxic lead levels in drinking water, rehabilitate natural gas and water lines, and expand to address other systemic issues emerging around the world.” Squiller, who was named as Aquam’s CEO less than five months ago, previously headed Verengo Solar and PowerGenix.

With more than 250 employees throughout the United States, Canada, the UK, and Ireland, Aquam says it chiefly serves public and commercial operators of water and natural gas pipelines. Aquam says it can help operators assess the condition of their network infrastructure and address leakage, contamination, and shrinkage.

In the UK, Aquam estimates that as much as 22 percent of water is lost via leakage through centuries-old infrastructure.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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