The Nebia team has a very hard job. The young company is trying to reengineer the shower, a home appliance most of us use every day. Its goals are lofty: to not only build a business and create a brand that will sustain for years, but also to dramatically impact the environment through home water conservation. But none of that stuff is the hard part. The hard part is asking people—lots and lots of people—to strip down and give their shower a test run.
“It’s no small feat,” cofounder and CEO Philip Winter says. “It’s not like, ‘Hey try my app and let me know what you think!’ But that’s also been the best part.” I believe him, because after some gentle prodding, I disrobed in Nebia’s bathroom and took a shower, with a handful of witnesses watching my reaction and listening for feedback. (And just FYI, I wore what is basically a wetsuit.) Before diving into the very inventive technical aspects of Nebia and its decidedly non-Silicon Valley origins, you need to know what it feels like.
One second you’re totally dry, and the next you’re completely soaked. There isn’t any “getting into” the stream—you turn it on, and it’s like you’re standing inside a thick, soaking patch of mist. The pressure is light, almost skin-prickling, so you don’t so much feel it as just get enveloped by it. But the real test: Can it wash out shampoo? I’m happy to say yes it can; I didn’t have to return to the office with a head full of dried soap.