This Company Wants to Sell You 'Raw' Water
Mmmm … yummy. A big glass of unpurified, unsterilized water from a stream or other water source that may contain harmful microbes and bacteria. Does that sound like a good idea to you? For some startups, it sounds like a great one!
These companies actually believe that "raw water" is even better than that horrible, filtered, disinfected stuff that comes out of our taps. And they're out to create a new hot industry based on these ideas.
One company doing this is Live Water, which sources its products -- delivered of course in a reusable glass -- directly from a spring in Oregon. It also sells tools to help customers do their own raw water sourcing. According to its website, raw water is a "new, yet ancient idea," that, unlike filtered or bottled spring waters, is not subjected to UV light, ozone gas and other sterilization techniques that "destroys beneficial sources of minerals and probiotics" that helps prevent "anxiety, weight gain, fatigue, and countless other ailments (that) are linked to an imbalance of proper gut bacteria."
Does science back up these theories? Uh, not much. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, American drinking water supplies are among the safest in the world. The advances made in filtration and disinfection in this country have reduced water borne infections to an amount so low that it is "one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century." But heck, I guess these entrepreneurs think we can do better.
Live Water is not the only company promoting the benefits of raw water. Last week The New York Times did a lengthy piece on the growing industry which featured other startups who have raised tens of millions of dollars in venture capital funding to pursue the opportunity.
Among the entrepreneurs behind these start-ups is Cody Friesen, who sits on the boards of LinkedIn, Netflix and OpenTable, and Doug Evans, a familiar face in Silicon Valley well-known for his failed Juicero venture last year. With a track record like his, why not follow? After Evans’s company went bust in September, he went on a 10-day cleanse and became hooked on the unfiltered stuff.
Is this the start of a cool, new industry or just another passing fad that's capitalizing on the latest desire for natural foods and "off-the-grid" living? One CEO, Seth Pruzansky of Maine-based Tourmaline Spring, touts his company’s "sacred water" and strongly believes this movement is definitely more than just a fad. "The natural food industry has been in the dark ages when it comes to water," he told the Times. "Now there is a renaissance."
It’s crazy. It’s silly. It’s gross. And it may be really bad for you. But you know what? Good for them.
Yeah, that’s right: good for the raw water entrepreneurs. They’re passionate. They’re investing their time and their money. They believe that their product is good and can genuinely help people. They’re savvy enough to embrace the trend of natural products, organic goods and back-to-nature lifestyles that is sweeping the country. They, like any good entrepreneur, are taking a shot at making some money there. So, as long as they’re in compliance with regulations and not breaking any laws, why the hell not?
I don’t go to strip clubs. I don’t gamble. I don’t own a firearm. I’ve never used an abortion clinic and I will never, ever drink a glass of raw water. It's just not my thing. But good for them. Sure, it’s fun to make jokes about stuff like raw water, but I don’t question the rights of the people who do these things and the businesses that provide these services. And neither should you.