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🌐 "Entrepreneurship in Water"

Water Voice

Photo by Daniel Hooper / Unsplash

Table of Contents

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Hosts: Greg Johnson & Kevin Kunz
Guest: Samuel Ian Rosen | Founder & CEO | Tap
Category: 🌐 Digital

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[17:49] “I traveled through an airport with a [reusable] water bottle that I always carry […] and I filled it up at the water fountain and the water didn't taste very good. I believe […] the filter had to be changed. And at the time, there were obviously Uber and […] all these services that you can rate your experience just after using it. And I was like, I need to rate this water fountain and give it a poor rating. So my software brain […] opens up Google Maps and I type in water fountain. And when I didn't find any water fountains at Google Maps, I had this eureka.”

[18:40] “People say they drink bottled water out of “convenience”. But not being able to find water on Google Maps, in my opinion, is inconvenient. […] If you ask artificial intelligence like Siri or Alexa, hey, I'm hungry, it will actually give you search results listings of Yelp restaurants nearby. […] When I asked that query to Alexa, hey, I'm thirsty or tell me where the nearest water fountain is, it doesn't have a database of where water fountains are. So to me that is inconvenient.”

[19:59] “Marc Andreessen, an extremely well known entrepreneur and operator who started the Netscape browser and Andreessen Horowitz has this saying, which is: Software is eating the world. So I had this hypothesis, what if we could eat plastic single use bottles with software, not with some new type of hybrid technology of a bottle that disappears after it's used, but with ones and zeros with code.”

[20:27] “Tap is a software company and its mission is to eliminate the single use plastic water bottle and democratize access to clean water by connecting water to the internet. The first version of that was, let's find out where all of these water fountains are. So whenever I have my reusable bottle, I can just push a button and find the nearest place to fill up. That was the first part of understanding the supply side of a two sided marketplace for tap water. The demand side, the buyer side, [is] you all […] at your homes, you buy water from the utility company, when you go to a station at the airport, you get water for free.”

[21:10] “It's my belief that the marketplace is broken, that […] water is completely mispriced. And that paradox is best seen at the airport, where a bottle of water is […] 4-5 bucks and tap water is free. And I believe as the world moves from a world of […] water abundance to water scarcity, as a result of climate change, that price of water will be the mechanism that is best used to conserve water [and] to invest in our water infrastructure, which we need to rebuild and bottled water will no longer be the backup or the failsafe. We will reinvest in our tap water infrastructure with software. And that's where Tap hopes to create all of this software to provide this service to the marketplace.”

[25:17] “Nestle’s CEO would say [they] are providing a valuable product, packaged bottled water to a consumer. And if [they] stop selling single use plastic bottles, people will shift their behaviors to drinking more soda, and so that’s not healthy and that's then a public issue of health. That person's correct. People will shift their consumption to sugary beverages. But what do we do about it, when the CEO of Nestle pays $200 to extract […] basically unlimited amounts of water from Michigan. They're not paying the environmental capital of the cost, the true cost of that water as a result of pulling it out of that aquifer. So essentially, what's broken is the capitalism system does not take into consideration the full price of all of the costs of goods sold.”

[26:19] “If I were the CEO of one of these companies, let's take Coca Cola, who [is] the largest polluter based on ocean plastic […]. What I would recognize is the [increase of the] margin profile […] when I remove the packaging. […] Coca Cola already has coke freestyle […] machines that you see at the […] movie theater, or the sandwich shop […]. That concentrate when they ship it weighs far less than the single use plastic bottles that are prefilled with water in a centralized system that was only centralized because of technology and plastic […] New technology, plastics make it cheaper, they consolidate it. What's happening now is software is, we will see a decentralization again. And what I would do is not ship plastic bottles with water, which is very heavy, because 65% of the cost to the end consumer of a beverage is packaging and transportation. And we haven't even figured in a carbon emissions tax yet. So […] I would focus the company on saying, hey, we're going to build a brand of a suite of package free options and we're going to be the leader.”

[34:13] “No matter the amount of money [invested by the government in water infrastructure], I believe we need to think like a startup that doesn't have money because innovation is born not from money, but from lack of it. […] The average lifetime of a water well […] in a developing country is about two years […]. The main reason is because if there's a well dug, and that water is free, people use it and ultimately they splash water on the ground and then bugs develop and then animals are attracted to the bugs and then there's a break in the well and no one takes care of it. It becomes this tragedy of the commons and it's a dilapidated infrastructure. […] However, with software, an IoT device and […] mobile payments, we can create a local economy […] of operators to take care of that infrastructure, have the money, create jobs, reinvest, build more wells, bring more clean water to people, by changing one thing, the price. By changing one thing, it going from a free well to adding some software. So […] I think there's a major need for software in the space.”

[45:18] “I think climate tech is going to be the hot category for the next few years. Wired magazine just […] wrote [that] water is the new hot investment sector.

Rating: 💧💧💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 53 min | 🗓️ 05/06/2021
✅ Time saved: 51 min

Additional Links:
Captain Planet’s Blog: Life on Earth
AquiPor Technologies