Where Ideas Go to Work
Home / News / Tern Water Propels Clean Water Solution Forward Pennovation Center

Tern Water Propels Clean Water Solution Forward at the Pennovation Center

Media Contact: Jennifer Rizzi, Director, Communications, Facilities & Real Estate Services, 215.573.6107, rizzi@upenn.edu

August 9, 2018

The University of Pennsylvania’s Division of Facilities and Real Estate Services recently added another remarkable innovator to the community of researchers and entrepreneurs going to work inside the Pennovation Center, the University’s business, technology, and laboratory incubator.  Named a Top 20 Philadelphia Startup on Technical.ly Philly’s realLIST 2018, Tern Water (Tern) is making groundbreaking advancements in widespread access to safe and sustainable water.  The water treatment service company occupies 245 square feet of lab and office space at the Center.

Founded by Egyptian-born engineer and CEO Mohamed Zerban and fueled by his desire to deliver an affordable clean water solution, Tern aims to equip the public with the data and tools needed to tap into the water industry and improve the standard for home water.  In 2017, the Philadelphia-based company debuted a water test kit called “Know Your Water,” a simple but eye-opening service that allows consumers to submit water samples for analysis.  Results for seven major contaminants are compared with Tern’s health standards, assigned a rating, and returned to customers complete with tips to help ensure the odds of obtaining high quality, purified water at home.    

After having succeeded in raising their pre-seed round, the company is poised to release its flagship product, the Tern Smart Faucet, in the winter of 2018.  The first-of-its-kind gadget is designed to snap onto any kitchen spigot and sync with a proprietary smartphone app to provide real-time data on water usage, quality, and efficiency in addition to purified water.  Once an existing filter has exceeded its optimal lifespan, Tern automatically places a replacement purifier in the mail.  The modular attachment currently serves as a central talking point in the Pennovation Center kitchen, with pre-orders to be open to the public soon.

Zerban is excited to join the concentration of cutting-edge entrepreneurs stationed at the Center, and believes Tern “stands only to benefit from the ripple effect of ideas and innovative technologies” emerging from the regionally recognized ecosystem.  Backed by Penn’s long legacy of aiming to increase access to education and experimenting in pursuit of impact, Pennovation has quickly become a magnet for inquisitive minds, forward-thinkers, and early adopters.  Much like other startups drawn to the Center, Zerban’s entrepreneurial vision starts locally and extends globally.  By aggregating user-submitted data to pinpoint areas with aging pipelines and advocating for safe water for healthy humans, Tern plans to partner with local water utilities to better prioritize the infrastructure repair process.  Over time, their goal is to improve the health and well-being of entire communities.

“Entrepreneurs leasing space at the Pennovation Center are bringing revolutionary ideas to reality,” says Anne Papageorge, Vice President, Facilities & Real Estate Services at Penn.  “The Center provides the infrastructure and support for individuals and teams to bring their research to the forefront, grow successful teams, launch transformative enterprises, and spearhead social change.  Tern is joining a community that embodies and inspires innovation, and we are excited to welcome them.”

About The Pennovation Center

The Pennovation Center is a 58,000 square-foot three-story facility designed for start-up companies, entrepreneurs, and inventors looking to be part of a unique community of innovators, and includes a full service technology incubator; basic wet and dry laboratories; private offices, Inventor Garages, as well as a coworking space for up to 200 members, operated by 1776.  It opened in October 2016 as the centerpiece of the University of Pennsylvania’s Pennovation Works, a 23-acre development adjacent to the University campus on the southern bank of the Schuylkill River providing facilities and amenities to bridge intellectual and entrepreneurial initiatives among University researchers, private sector innovators, and start-ups.   Owned by the University, and operated by its Division of Facilities and Real Estate Services, Pennovation Works houses research labs from Penn’s schools of Arts & Sciences, Dental Medicine, Design, Engineering & Applied Science, and Veterinary Medicine, and companies such as Qualcomm Philadelphia Research Lab, Netronix, and Limelight Bio. Approximately 85 companies and 350 innovators are currently located at Pennovation, where ideas go to work. 

Visit pennovation.upenn.edu and follow @PennovationCenter on Facebook, @Pennovation on Twitter, and @PennovationCtr on Instagram.

Learn more about Tern at https://www.ternwater.com/ and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @TernWater.

Man getting water from faucet