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Flo-Bro, a Dutch-Czechian startup that battles plastic pollution all over the world, has recently launched a Kickstarter campaign. After twelve months of development and five prototypes, the company devised the first universal and portable water filter for travelers, effectively fighting plastic bottle pollution. Earlier, Flo-Bro won first prize in a startup competition, enabling them to bring the finalized product to the whole world.
The birth of the idea
Co-founders Radek Oborný and Robin Rijnbeek thought about the concept of their now finalized product while traveling through South-East Asia. Here, they encountered the effects of plastic bottle pollution first-hand. Rijnbeek stated the following on these experiences: “We noticed that every traveler we encountered used four or five plastic bottles of water per day. Even natives used plastic bottles, as it is one of the only ways to get clean water in these areas. Luckily, my partner Radek Oborný worked at a water purification company at the time, and therefore we could easily get a water filter for our travels. However, we knew we were part of a small minority.”
After they dug deeper, they came across some stunning statistics. For instance, one million plastic bottles are sold every minute. And according to Flo-Bro’s online blog, only 7% of all PET bottles end up being recycled. The vast majority of these bottles gets thrown away in the world, after having been used for a single time. And even when the bottles do get recycled, they cant be re-used in packaging because of hygienic reasons.
Rijnbeek said the following about their experience: “PET bottles are everywhere – washed up on beaches, or hidden in the deepest parts of nature. That’s when we realized that there isn’t an easy-to-use, portable water filter for travelers, that provides a solid alternative to bottled water. That motivated us to work on Flo-Bro.” As stated on the online blog of Flo-Bro, the company doesn’t believe that PET bottles are a bad invention. Just like with everything else, overusing is the problem. This is where Flo-Bro’s filter comes in.
The Flo-Bro One
The finalized product is extremely compact and intuitive. The Flo-Bro One is a small-sized and lightweight device that is designed to fit in every bag. The co-founders combined their experience in business and membrane engineering to realize the concept of the product. Also, the core benefit of the Flo-Bro One is the membrane testing and flushing technology. It makes the water filter fully re-usable in the long term, rendering expensive replaceable cartridges obsolete.
Flo-Bro focused on a universal design during the development stage. As a result, travelers should be able to use the water filter indoors, as well as outdoors. This basically means that you can use the filter from any water source. Some good examples are rivers, lakes, and streams, but also sketchy taps and shower hoses.
The Kickstarter campaign
On the 7th of November, the Flo-Bro One water filter became available to everyone for a discounted price at the company’s Kickstarter campaign. Bringing this finalized product into the world was also made possible by the company’s success at Podnikavá Hlava. This is a yearly startup competition that takes place in the Czech Republic. This year, Flo-Bro entered this competition in March and subsequently won the first prize to this competition in June. The main financial prize was used to boost the product’s development.
Changing water tech industry
The company still needs funding though! Flo-Bro aims to reach $20.000 in funding by December 15th, 2017. At the time I am writing this piece, Flo-Bro still needs approximately $5700 to reach this goal. Everyone is encouraged to back this project here. It is Flo-Bro’s goal to bring safe drinking water to all corners of the world, subsequently changing the water tech industry once and for all.