how nice

Houston restaurant veteran pops open award-winning and sustainable new bottled water

HOW water comes to you via subscription. Photo by Alex Montoya

Houstonians who are picky about their bottled water but also environmentally minded now have a refreshing local option — one that even comes to them.

A new, “hyperpure” oxygen-enriched water brand has rolled out in Houston in single-serve and subscription options. Dubbed HOW — Hyperpure Oxygenated Water — the award-winning super-filtered water (via a 14-level filtration process that removes impurities down to the nano-level .0001 microns) is now available at 35 specialty retailers around town.

HOW secured gold medal awards in the coveted category of Best Tasting Purified Drinking Water in 2019 and 2021 at the annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. That contest is widely known in the industry as The Oscars of water tasting competitions.

The new water comes courtesy of local serial entrepreneur Bob Peebler, whose 40-plus year career in business has spawned multiple ventures, including the instantly recognizable health-conscious Ruggles Green restaurants.

Fresh air

Peebler’s water journey started six years ago when he met an inventor in Santa Barbara who was building a perfect water system that not only produced hyperpure water, but also an experimental system that raised the oxygen levels of the water up to five times beyond the oxygen content in tap and bottled water.

“This difference in the inventor’s system was how he used a patented system that injects 98 percent oxygen into a swirling vortex that creates nano bubbles that find their way to embed in the water,” Peebler tells CultureMap. “The bubbles are so small that when the body absorbs the water, it ends up raising the oxygen levels of the body’s tissues. After seeing lab measurements, I was convinced that this was different. The other intrigue is that in-solution oxygen creates a silky texture which makes the water a pleasure to drink.”

After coaxing the inventor to build a system at his home in Ojai, California, Peebler shared the water with his friends, who couldn’t get enough of it. The serial entrepreneur was inspired.

Precious metal

Hardly surprising that the Houstonian responsible for Ruggles Green and its healthy and planet-first approach (reusable containers, biodegradable utensils) would create an eco-friendly new product. Aside from the health benefits offered with HOW, Peebler wanted reusable and recyclable delivery systems. And that meant no plastic bottles, but rather, aluminum.

“No one is certain how microplastics affect our health, but I’m guessing it’s not a good thing, and I know it doesn’t help the taste,” says Peebler. “More importantly, there are 1 million plastic bottles purchased every minute, and roughly 70 percent of that mostly non-recyclable plastic waste ends up in our oceans, lakes, bayous and landfills. In contrast, the aluminum bottles that HOW uses are infinitely recyclable.”

A winning formula

Learning first-hand how wasteful the restaurant industry is, Peebler ensured his Ruggles Green operations recycled grease, composted waste, used diode lighting, and employed other environmentally friendly approaches. With that in mind, he’s ensured that his water tastes good, is good for the planet, and the bottles are reusable or easily recycled.

Currently available for home delivery (subscribe here), HOW can also be found at spots such as Midtown Market, Phoenicia Specialty Foods, Rice Epicurean Market, O Athletik, Total Nutrition, and all four Local Foods locations. Bottled in a specialty plant in Mineral Wells, Texas, HOW is slated to be released to Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio.

It’s all part of Peebler’s ambition to provide a wealth of water that’s good for people and planet.

“If we deliver a superior tasting product that just happens to be better for both your health and our planet,” Peebler adds, “we believe that’s a winning combination that will resonate with consumers.”

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

You can now hop online and invest in this promising cell therapy startup. Photo via Getty Images

A clinical-stage company headquartered in Houston has opened an online funding campaign.

FibroBiologics, which is developing fibroblast cell-based therapeutics for chronic diseases, launched a campaign with equity crowdfunding platform StartEngine. The platform lets anyone — regardless of their net worth or income level — to invest in securities issued by startups.

The funding, according to a press release, will be used to support ongoing operations of Fibrobiologics and advance its clinical programs in multiple sclerosis, degenerative disc disease, wound care, extension of life, and cancer.

"We're excited to partner with StartEngine on this campaign. StartEngine has over 600,000 investors as part of their community and has raised over half a billion dollars for its clients," says FibroBiologics' Founder and CEO Pete O'Heeron, in the release.

"This is an exciting time at FibroBiologics as we continue progressing our clinical pipeline and developing innovative therapies to treat chronic diseases," he continues. "This new funding will fuel our growth in the lab and bring us one step closer to commercialization."

The campaign, launched this week, already has over 100 investors, at the time of publication, and has raised nearly $2 million, according to the page. The minimum investment is set at around $500, and the company's indicated valuation is $252.57 million.

In 2021, FibroBiologics announced its intention of going public. Last year, O'Heeron told InnovationMap on the Houston Innovators Podcast of the company's growth plans as well as the specifics of the technology.

Only two types of cells — stem cells and fibroblasts — can be used in cell therapy for a regenerative treatment, which is when specialists take healthy cells from a patient and inject them into a part of the body that needs it the most. As O'Heeron explains in the podcast, fibroblasts can do it more effectively and cheaper than stem cells.

"(Fibroblasts) can essentially do everything a stem cell can do, only they can do it better," says O'Heeron. "We've done tests in the lab and we've seen them outperform stem cells by a low of 50 percent to a high of about 220 percent on different disease paths."


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