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

 
 

With Clutch, connecting brands with creators has never been easier and more inclusive. Photo courtesy of Clutch

An app that originally launched on Houston college campuses has announced it's now live nationwide.

Clutch founders Madison Long and Simone May set out to make it easier for the younger generation to earn money with their skill sets. After launching a beta at local universities last fall, Clutch's digital marketplace is now live for others to join in.

The platform connects brands to its network of creators for reliable and authentic work — everything from social media management, video creation, video editing, content creation, graphic design projects, and more. With weekly payments to creators and an inclusive platform for users on both sides of the equation, Clutch aims to make digital collaboration easier and more reliable for everyone.

“We’re thrilled to bring our product to market to make sustainable, authentic lifestyles available to everyone through the creator economy," says May, CTO and co-founder of Clutch. "We’re honored to be part of the thriving innovation community here in Houston and get to bring more on-your-own-terms work opportunities to all creators and businesses through our platform.”

In its beta, Clutch facilitated collaborations for over 200 student creators and 50 brands — such as DIGITS and nama. The company is founded with a mission of "democratizing access to information and technology and elevating the next generation for all people," according to a news release from Clutch. In the beta, 75 percent of the creators were people of color and around half of the businesses were owned by women and people of color.

“As a Clutch Creator, I set my own pricing, schedule and services when collaborating on projects for brands,” says Cathy Syfert, a creator through Clutch. “Clutch Creators embrace the benefits of being a brand ambassador as we create content about the products we love, but do it on behalf of the brands to help the brands grow authentically."

The newly launched product has the following features:

  • Creator profile, where users can share their services, pricing, and skills and review inquiries from brands.
  • Curated matching from the Clutch admin team.
  • Collab initiation, where users can accept or reject incoming collab requests with brands.
  • Collab management — communication, timing, review cycles — all within the platform.
  • In-app payments with a weekly amount selected by the creators themselves.
  • Seamless cancellation for both brands and creators.
Clutch raised $1.2 million in seed funding from Precursor Ventures, Capital Factory, HearstLab, and more. Clutch was originally founded as Campus Concierge in 2021 and has gone through the DivInc Houston program at the Ion.

Madison Long, left, and Simone May co-founded Clutch. Photo courtesy of Clutch

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