Interview with Christian Käser, Luca Serratore, Gregor Heusser, Nicolas Wild, and Linus Lingg
Describe your product or service:
“Bottle+ is a reusable water bottle [used] to enjoy sparkling water anytime, anywhere, and without single-use plastics. It works with a detachable adapter that includes a CO2 gas tank which is sufficient to produce up to 15 bottles of sparkling water on the go. Once the gas tank runs empty, you can simply refill it at your home refilling station that works with standard CO2 cylinders you can buy in stores.”
Describe your company values and mission:
“Our mission is two-fold: On the one hand, we want to revolutionise the sparkling water market and change the behaviour [of] how people consume beverages on the go. On the other hand, we want to fight global plastic pollution. Not only by reducing the need to buy PET bottles on the go but also by partnering with Cleanhub (a startup from Berlin) and therefore removing non-recyclable plastic waste from the environment with every bottle sold.
One of our core values is sustainability, on which we try to build our business on. Not only in regards to the environment but also in regards to social aspects. We are also setting a focus on quality, design, user-friendliness, and transparent communications.”
How are you funded? I.e. venture capital, angel investors, etc.
“Currently, we are funded by startup accelerators, prize money from startup competitions, and angel investors (who are also part of our advisory board). To ensure further funding, we are currently running a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.”
How big is your team? Tell us a little about them (I.e. co-founders, freelancers, etc.)
“We are five co-founders who [have] worked for the startup [for] more than a year now. Most of us have been friends [for] many years or even since childhood.”
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
“Yes! We are all impact-driven people and believe that starting your own business is the best way to achieve an impact, both environmentally and socially.”
How did you come up with your startup idea? How did you decide to actually act on the idea? What gave you confidence that you were on the right track?
“We are all sparkling water lovers, but we [are] missing the opportunity to drink sparkling water on the go in an environmentally conscious way. For that reason, Christian signed up for a university course called ‘Lean Startup Academy’ and validated the idea with social media ads together with Nicolas. The feedback was awesome, and we decided to further work on the idea.”
How did you come up with your company name? Did you have other names you considered?
“We did two brainstorming sessions and proposed our five favourite names to our community (about 350 Newsletter subscribers back then). Their feedback was very clear: Over 60% voted for Bottle+!”
What is the greatest challenge you faced in starting your business, and how did you overcome it?
“The biggest challenge so far was actually getting started. In the beginning, you see so many challenges and problems and can easily become overwhelmed by that. So, it is important to just take [it] step by step, and soon you are able to see first results and progress, which is awesome!”
Who is your product or service made for? Who is your target market?
“It's made for everyone who likes to drink sparkling water. And especially for people who like to drink sparkling water not only at home but also on the go. Be it during commuting, travelling and city trips, cycling, hiking, or any other outdoor activities. The sustainability aspect is of course also important for many of our customers, as more and more people want to start living sustainably and therefore stop buying single-use products (e.g., PET bottles).”
What's your marketing strategy?
“We currently target people that like sparkling water and share our interest in sustainable products to reduce (plastic) waste.
Our pricing is at the upper end of home carbonation devices due to our production costs and our design. Therefore, we target people with a higher willingness to pay in the age range of 25 to 45. To reach these people, we market our product online through social media marketing on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.”
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
“With our crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter! Within a few hours, over 100 people pre-ordered Bottle+.”
What's your favorite entrepreneurial book and podcast?
“We love the Swiss Podcast ‘FinanzFabio.’”
What is the biggest lesson you learned during your journey?
“Believe in yourself and your startup idea. If you're persistent and doing it with passion, you will get somewhere! And if it's not your first idea, then it will be your second or third.”
Who is your support system?
“It's friends, family, and the co-founders themselves.”
How do you stay motivated?
“Every positive feedback, be it from customers or from business contacts, helps to stay motivated. It's also great to see when hard work pays off, which was the case for us so far, fortunately.”
Did you have to develop any habits that helped lead you to success? If so, what are they?
“We think that most of the habits we have were already developed before starting the entrepreneurial journey. But one important habit to mention, which we didn't have from the beginning: Don't be afraid to reach out for help, advice, or any other support in the startup environment.”
What are you most proud of as an entrepreneur?
“To have developed a product that people love and that has a positive environmental impact.”
More on Bottle+
Bottle+ CEO Christian Käser and four other men invented a reusable water bottle that allows you to create your own sparkling water using a refillable CO2 gas tank.
We were fortunate enough to hear some valuable insights during our interview with Christian Käser, Luca Serratore, Gregor Heusser, Nicolas Wild, Linus Lingg of Bottle+ that will inspire, motivate, and teach aspiring and established entrepreneurs alike.
We have developed this list of five creative and impactful ways to support sustainable consumer goods startup Bottle+.
Bottle+, a water bottle startup that creates portable, sparkling water with the push of a button, has recently surpassed its crowdfunding campaign goal.