water you waiting for

International botanical water company plans expansion into Houston

Amid a growing water shortage, this international company has developed an innovative way to harvest a new water source — and it's bringing it to Houston. Image via Getty Images

More than 2 million Americans don’t have access to clean drinking water, according to one study by the U.S. Water Alliance group.

To help close that water gap, international firm, Botanical Water Technologies, has plans to expand its presence in the United States with the Houston region being a strategic area to roll out the implementation of a patented water filtration technology. In addition, the group is launching a blockchain enabled trading platform with Fujitsu to help support the business.

“Water is finite,” says James Rees, chief impact officer at BWT. “Due to global growth and climate conditions, we are going to have between 20 to 30 percent less water available to us by 2025. Communities are facing issues with water infrastructure. Some communities don't have water. This is where BWT plans to come in to help.”

BWT’s 7-year-tested technology, created in Australia, works by extracting water out of fruit and vegetable processing. The units collect water that condensates from farming such as tomato or sugar cane processing and creates a potable, clean drinking water output.

The blockchain enabled platform allows a water processor the ability to go on to BWT’s water exchange and acquire the water that is being harvested now and for future seasons.

“If you’re a beverage company or an environmental impact organization, you’ll be able to go online and actually see what water is available in each region,” he says. “We’ve got the way to effectively match all that up.”

BWT is in the midst of raising $15 million in capital and is targeting strategic U.S. Investors with plans to close the cap raising by end of year. The company has also identified over 10,000 locations globally that could be harnessed with this technology which is equivalent to three trillion liters of new sustainable water that’s available, says Rees.

BWT plans to make this water available for three different uses: an alternative for a big beverage company to source its water, to replenish water basins that have been overdrawn, and to provide to communities that don’t have access to water.

“In Houston, you have a number of green tech incubators starting up here,” says Rees. “A lot of the oil and gas and traditional energy companies are thinking about sustainability, and they also have the people on the ground. So, whether it’s programmers, businesspeople, sustainability officers … it’s a big collective of people in Houston and Texas focused on green tech. Texas, and particularly Houston, is actually quite progressive around sustainability.”

Looking into the future, Rees explained that water scarcity will only continue to become a bigger issue for communities due to global population growth, climate change, industrial and real estate expansion, and the way we use and treat water.

BWT has plans to implement its US expansion beginning with areas in California and move into Texas over the next two years.

“In Texas, we’d like to identify fruit and vegetable concentrators within our water scarce areas who are producing and have the ability to use our technology,” he says. “Also, there’s a lot of talent being drawn toward Houston that was traditionally med tech but now we’re seeing climate tech. We’re happy to be here and develop a head office here to help grow our business within the US.”

James Rees is the Houston-based chief impact officer at BWT. Photo via LinkedIn

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Building Houston


VR training startup, HTX Labs, has raised funding from an outside investor for the first time. Courtesy of HTX Labs

HTX Labs, a Houston-based company that designs extended reality training for military and business purposes, announced last week that it has raised its first outside capital.

The company has received a $3.2 million investment from Cypress Growth Capital. Founded in 2017, HTX Labs — developer of the EMPACT Immersive Learning Platform — has been granted funding from the Department of Defense as well as grown its client base of commercial Enterprises. The platform uses virtual and extended reality that "enables organizations to rapidly create, deploy, measure, and sustain cost-effective, secure, and centralized immersive training programs, all within engaging, fully interactive virtual environments," per a news release.

“We have been looking to secure outside capital to accelerate the growth of our EMPACT platform and customer base but we hadn’t found the right partner who provided an investment vehicle that matched our needs,“ says HTX Labs CEO Scott Schneider in the release. “We found everything we were looking for in Cypress Growth Capital. They have a non-dilutive funding model that aligns with our capital expectations and have the level of experience that really makes this smart money.

"Cypress has a decade-long track record of success in helping emerging software and services companies achieve scale," he continues. "It is clear that the team’s collective entrepreneurial and operating experience will be of tremendous benefit to us as we focus on expanding our customer base in a very intentional way.”

The fresh funding will go toward growing and scaling the company's operations — both within the current Department of Defense and expansion opportunities into key commercial markets, like heavy industry, manufacturing, and higher education. Additionally, the funding will support increased customer adoption.

“Scott and his team have built an exceptional business that is poised for dramatic growth,” says Cypress Partner Pat McCaffrey in the release. “HTX Labs’ modern, immersive training solution provides clients with a force multiplier for modernizing training and an unmatched ROI.”

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