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Company Profile: Silivhere Technologies, Inc.

Access to clean drinking water is a basic human right, yet three billion people around the world today live without reliable water service and millions die each year from waterborne illnesses. UVA Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Jim Smith, Ph.D., has dedicated his research career to finding a solution to this public health epidemic.

Smith has been studying, creating, and refining the effectiveness of a potentially disruptive, household water treatment technology at UVA over the past six years. His technology, the MadiDrop, is a porous ceramic tablet that slowly releases silver ions into stored, household water over time, killing waterborne pathogens. The Jenga-block sized tablet contains just enough silver to disinfect harmful pathogens while ensuring safe consumption of water. This point-of-use water treatment solution is simple to use and requires minimal effort compared to other options on the market today.

LVG has been involved with Smith’s research on innovative point-of-use water treatment technologies since he began this line of work in 2004. In addition to protecting the intellectual property and methods behind the creation of the MadiDrop, LVG helped Smith launch a Public Benefit Corporation which partnered with over 160 nonprofit organizations around the world to test the MadiDrop in the field. Through this company, 30,000 MadiDrops are now being used in over 40 countries providing safe drinking water to 150,000 people.

In 2018, a breakthrough came when Smith discovered how to dramatically increase the amount of water treated each year by a single tablet and introduced the MadiDrop+.

“We quadrupled the effectiveness of our water purification tablet, and collaborating with UVA LVG’s incredible resources is helping to ensure that it gets in the hands of those who need it most,” says Smith. “We are closer than ever to reaching our commercial potential with the MadiDrop+.”

This discovery prompted LVG to re-calibrate the business strategy to suit the new effectiveness of the filtration tablets and worked to relaunch the company as Silivhere Technologies, Inc. The new company is named after the derivative of the Tshivenda South African word for silver; South Africa being where Smith has worked for years on the MadiDrop.

Beyond the obvious need for access to clean water in the developing world, LVG is exploring other opportunities for MadiDrop+ in disaster relief, international travel, and humanitarian aid. Smith’s consistent engagement with LVG has allowed the team to lead this new venture through the launch process while Smith continues to refine the technology. LVG continuously meets with company investors and members of the larger UVA friends, family, and alumni networks to identify appropriate advisors, investors and leadership who can help to shepherd the company and the MadiDrop+ to as many end markets as possible.