Stonehouse Water Technologies LLC, an early-stage Milwaukee startup that develops water purification products, has raised $1.55 million in its first funding round, the company announced today.

The funding will allow the startup, which has developed patent-pending technology for an energy-efficient water purification system, to begin manufacturing the product.

Stonehouse’s patent-pending technology provides an energy efficient water purification system for residential, commercial, and agricultural properties. The WaterPOD is contained in the size of a dehumidifier.
Mark Sellers, who sold Germantown-based manufacturing solutions company MGS Mfg. Group Inc. to Milwaukee-based private equity firm Mason Wells in 2016, was the lead investor.

“Stonehouse’s technology and team represents Milwaukee’s strong expertise in the water, manufacturing and growing technology industries,” Sellers said in a statement. “We are looking forward to a strong partnership leveraging our manufacturing and design experience with Stonehouse’s innovation and successfully piloted products.”

The company, which started in 2012, began seeking investors in August, according to Dale Kooyenga, chief financial officer, who is also a member of the state Legislature. Within a week, Stonehouse was able to secure the investment, exceeding the initial goal set by company president Hensley Foster.

Stonehouse Water Technologies, located at the Global Water Center, plans for its final manufactured product, the WaterPOD 8, to be commercially available in early 2018. The purification system can be used for residential, commercial and agricultural properties.

“We’re hoping that, by as early as 2019, we will be selling thousands and thousands of units,” said Anne Wick, vice president of community relations. “This is going to be global, it’s not just going to be local.”

In addition to manufacturing, the funding will be directed toward research and development, as well as marketing efforts, Wick said. The company has seven employees in all, having recently added two new employees.

Wick credits Stonehouse’s residence in the Global Water Center and guidance from the Water Council in helping the company secure the investment.

Stonehouse was previously part of the Water Council’s Pilot Program, an effort by Wells Fargo, Fund for Lake Michigan, and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District to advance new water technologies from the lab in Milwaukee to demonstration sites for real-world use.

“There are exciting and fascinating things happening here in Milwaukee when it comes to water,” Wick said. “And the Water Council has been instrumental. With the exposure that we get, you couldn’t get that anywhere else.”