Jonathan Ballesteros, founder and CEO of Geyser Systems, created his product when he was faced with a blind date after spending five days in the Australian outback with no shower.
As he frantically scrubbed away at the layer of grime covering his body with only a washcloth, he wished for a water pump system that had an attachment to make showering outdoors more efficient.
What’s your background and how did it prepare you to build Geyser Systems?
JB: "I’m a tinkerer, so this product is a culmination of everything I’ve learned throughout my career.
My background is in aerospace engineering, industrial engineering, and mathematics, and I've been in the inventing space for awhile. I was knee deep in peristaltic pumps and fluid modeling, so I learned how to manage fluid in very minute quantities for certain procedures. From there my desire just grew. I wanted to keep learning and understanding beyond the factory what can we do to improve design.
But really what it came down to just regularly facing this problem. Not just in the back of a camper van, but in a diverse array of situations. I’ve organized family trips to different parts of the world where I would be captaining these big huge yachts that had a crew of 12 people, and water was always the first thing to go. Water ended up being a common problem across a lot of circumstances, which is how we got here."
Tell me a little bit about the ICELAB @ Western Accelerator Program and how it helped your brand get to where it's at now.
JB: "I could speak volumes about accelerator programs, but this one is definitely one of a kind. We got accepted to a variety of different accelerators, and we chose this one because of the true operational value that it will provide. All the program wants is to see our success as a business, and to be given the guidance of some of the biggest and most active players in the industry is just monumental. I mean, you just look down the list of what it’s going to provide and it’s an absolute no-brainer, it’s almost like a unicorn in the realm of accelerators. You have Active Interest Media providing a free marketing campaign, Outdoor Retailer giving exposure via digital and on-site marketing of the OR show’s “Innovation” 2019 initiative, and Outdoor Industry Association providing additional support and membership. You’ve got the mentors that are not just taking a break from industry, these are members who are currently fully activated in their role. These people take time during their weekend or evening to guide us to the next step and help us understand how this industry operates uniquely from any other industry.
I could say how much I have benefitted from the practicality of the accelerator, but I would also say that I’m just blown away by the inspiring leaders that I got a chance to meet and I’m really proud to be a part of this industry. I really had no idea it would be so much fun and so awesome. It’s just a real honor to be a part of it."
What’s been Geyser’s biggest success so far?
JB: "The biggest success so far has been gaining REI's business, definitely. We were one of the companies to go through the innovation series at REI and got to pitch in front of the buying team to show them we were ready."
What are some long term goals you have for Geyser Systems?
JB: "Here in the more immediate future we face a humanitarian crisis when it comes to water not being accessible to a lot of people. If you look in the streets of Portland or San Francisco, there are a lot of homeless people that could regain a little bit of dignity with a shower. Then there’s natural disasters, rescue missions, etc. We want everyone to be well positioned so that they can take care of themselves in a crisis. I don’t see this just as a luxury item, I see it as a critical safety item so that a crew, whether it be for something more fun or for a rescue scenario, can stay sanitary and refreshed.
We do have ambitions to address the 2.3 billion people living in extremely water-stressed conditions. We think that this technology can be easily implemented on an existing water well and really help lift a community. Instead of using all their water to maintain a basic standard of sanitation and cleanliness, they can also use it to feed the people and grow food. That’s something that we see in our long term future."
When will Geyser Systems hit the market?
JB: "We’re going be on the shelves and available to the public March 1, 2020."