For Dr Saeed Alhassan, it was when a half-full water bottle sitting in a car overnight six years ago developed water droplets on its previously dry inner surfaces.

Manhat, his Abu-Dhabi based startup that discovery inspired now hopes to address a global water market predicted to be worth over $900 billion by 2023, and potentially the worsening problem of freshwater scarcity in the Gulf and other regions.

“When I observed the bottle the next day, the inner surface had significant water droplets,” he told Arab News.