With one million plastic bottles being used every minute, and 91% of those left unrecycled, the reusable water bottle market is ripe with opportunity.
Rebo is one company look to make an impact in the market.
The “smart” water bottle measures water intake as well as how much plastic its user is saving. Not only that, but for every bottle-worth drunk, a plastic bottle is collected.
The founders, Pier Andrea Quarta, 33, Eduardo Atamoros, 40, and Francesco Abbate, 39, faced “lots” of challenges when they decided to launch Rebo. The first being developing a tech product without any of the team having advanced tech knowledge.
“This led us to do a lot of research, hit many walls, and finally change the approach and look for strategic partnerships that could help us overcome this,” says Quarta. “The second challenge was that of navigating the process to certify the emission reduction associated with the use of the bottle, which was key in order to get our business model to work.
“We had to read books, try many different ways (which didn’t work!), and we finally were able to find a certification fit to the profile of the project, and we are now midway into the review process with the renowned certification agency GoldStandard.”
The team has now entered into a partnership with Aptar, the biggest cap manufacturer in the world, in order to jumpstart the process.
“Our business is about Ikigai,” Quarta adds. “which in Japanese means a reason for being. It is the unique crossing between four worlds: what you love; what the world needs; what you can be paid for; what you are good at.”
The founders met at P&G and decided to create the “ultimate reusable bottle” in order to get people in developed economies to shift away from using plastic bottles.
“We decided to design a bottle that gives consumers constant rewards to change their behavior, with a positive impact on themselves and a positive impact on the planet.”
The bottle has an inbuilt tracking technology and hydration plan, and uses the information to work out the plastic bottles saved by the user drinking from the bottle. These savings are converted into credits that fund the collection of plastic waste every time the user drinks.
With the reusable bottles market estimated to be worth around $239m, the industry is competitive.
“Consumer brands are trying to offer more environmentally friendly solutions while consumers are often looking for radical alternatives,” Quarta says. “There is an emergence of smart bottles and bottles with some sort of technology integrated such as built-in NFC built-in. The industry is in development and there are untapped opportunities, such as the one we saw. It set us to develop using the technology in these smart bottles in order to have an impact on the environment.”
Quarta quit his job in 2018 to work on the project full time and said they were “very mindful” of the products on the market.
“We started development by reading 14,000 Amazon reviews, to ensure that we included all the most loved features, and we fixed problems with the current products on the market.”
In just 60 days of pre-sale on Indiegogo, the company sold 2,000 bottles across 65 countries.
“We want to be part of the water revolution,” Quarta added.