water3 is a Brisbane based eco startup that is campaigning for environmental change through innovation. Their aim? To eradicate single-use plastic in order to stop land and sea pollution from further damaging our environment and wildlife.
The company provides an eco friendly, tech-smart alternative to the plastic water bottle, to fight plastic pollution, and encourage a new generation of conscious consumers. Their spring water refill stations dispense still and sparkling water so that users can either fill up their own drink bottle, or purchase a reusable bottle from the machine itself. Users can register their details with the water3 phone app and “charge up”and “scan” their bottle, much like a prepay card. The embedded RFID technology within the stainless steel water3 bottle, gives people a convenient, cash-free way to drink water and save the planet.
We talked to founder and social entrepreneur Damien Stone to learn more.
Starting the Business
What makes water3 so unique in the industry?
water3 is unique in the beverage industry because it has an environmental conscience. We are a social enterprise with a focus on eradicating plastic pollution, so a large portion of the revenue we generate is channelled back into clean up projects and animal rescue. No plastic bottled water brand can say the same.
What challenges did you face when first launching the business?
I think all entrepreneurs are challenged in the initial stages of developing their business. With startups there is always an element of the unknown. In the beginning we attracted our fair share of detractors, with people having doubted our ability to secure placements, our ability to change the behaviours of consumers, launching without proof of concept, and our machine design. Forming a solid investor base, developing the product, and surrounding myself with the right team has been instrumental for me in expanding the water3 brand and launching our product to the market.
What do you wish you’d known when starting out that you had to learn the hard way?
Venture capital in Australia a few years ago was near impossible to find in any decent amounts. The unique way I have gone about it in the last 12 months is the way I wish I had figured out back then. But delays mean we launch with a much better product and service.
What do you find is most important to remaining at the top of your industry?
I think innovation and a social conscience are definitely key elements of keeping on top of the game. In the case of water3 we have embedded world first RFID technology within a stainless steel water bottle, giving people a convenient, cash free way to drink water and save the planet. I have found that driving a product that positively impacts the world around us is always going to remain relevant.
Looking to the Future
How do you see the industry changing over the next 5-10 years?
As time goes on, I think more and more people are beginning to realise the immense impact we have on our environment. A lot of this damage is obviously caused by consumer industries, like the beverage industry, so I hope that there is an evolution in the way that other companies interact with our planet and the people in it. If the industry continues on its current trajectory I don’t think it will be sustainable for much longer.
How will your business adapt?
We continue to drive a culture of innovation and creativity. Our business in 10 years will no doubt look quite different to what it is now; it would be dangerous to assume it won’t change.
What is your vision of ultimate success?
My vision of ultimate success is, quite simply, to make a difference. Of course I want my business to be profitable and expand, but the real end-goal for me is to reduce the amount of single use plastic entering our environment. If we are looking at a future with toxic oceans, plastic laden waterways, and a dying marine population (did I mention no more sushi?) we have to ask, “what kind of world is that”?
Finally, what one piece of advice would you offer entrepreneurs who want to follow in your footsteps?
Never ever give up. If you believe in what you are doing, if you have a passion for your purpose, then don’t let anyone tell you that it can’t be done. It will be hard – harder than almost anything you’ve ever done – but stick at it. Fear of regret is a powerful motivator.