Can you talk a little more about the demand for filter papers? Can you discuss some trends going on within your industry?
TereOur Folia Filters are not your typical filter paper, they're the world's first-ever consumer goods water filter that costs pennies, not dollars. Our target consumers are the 3 billion people in developing counties that make $2-10/day. Emerging markets are huge, the household water market is $20 billion/year and that doesn't include soda spend. Paper is just so affordable that using paper for valued-added services like germ-free water allows us to be 10X cheaper than our closest competitor, bottled water or soda. So we've had 50 consumer goods distributors contact us...and that's without any advertising. Food and beverage and consumer packaged goods are already huge markets, but there's a whole new demand from base of the pyramid consumers.
Billions of water filtered?
Prior to the official launch of the product in July 2017 to consumer goods distributors, we had sold an earlier prototype version of our product to NGOs. They bought 2500 of our Safe Water Books, with each containing 26 of our longer lasting 100 liter papers, 2 weeks of water for a family of 4 per filter, one year per Safe Water Book. That's about 6 million liters of germ-free water. We've just launched our product for wholesale to consumer goods distributors in developing countries, so that number will be going up quickly.
Filters made per year?
Until now we've been purposefully limiting production to about one ton of filter at a time as we iterate on product packaging and sales channels. At 100,000 filters per tonne that's still a lot of prototype product... a literal tonne. We're now starting production at industrial scale to ship pallets and cargo containers to customers. We're aiming to have our product sold in retail stores throughout developing countries. Each filter paper is one week of safe germ-free water for a family, so 52 filter papers a year, each packaged like a coffee filter, times however many millions of people our distributors reach with our product.
# of people helped?
Each of our earlier Safe Water Books was about a year of safe water for a family of 4-5. 2,500 books so that's about 10,000 people. The importance and impact of safe water are well known: reduced disease, increased productivity, etc.
# of people affected by unfiltered water/dealing with unfiltered water?
1.8 Billion people drink fecally-contaminated water which cases ~500,000 deaths per year. But there's an ever larger group of lower income people in developing countries who pay for water or soda, but overpay: paying anywhere from 10%-10X more than the wealthy. Its one of the really counterintuitive and surprising things in emerging markets: the poor pay more. That means that there's both a paying market for household water, 3 billion people paying $20B a year, but also that there's a huge savings that we can provide to people who need the money. The key is getting to large scale, once our Folia Filters are sold as a staple next to bread, milk, and eggs, it will become that much more affordable and able to be sold profitably not just to lower middle class or solid working class people in developing countries, but farther down the income ladder.