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

 
 

The latest cohort from gBETA Houston has been announced and is currently underway at the Downtown Launchpad. Photo courtesy

A national startup accelerator has announced its fifth local cohort, which includes five Houston companies participating in the spring 2022 class.

Madison, Wisconsin-based gener8tor has announced today the five participating startups in gBETA Houston. The program will be led by Muriel Foster, the newly named director of gBETA Houston, which originally launched in Houston in 2020 thanks to a grant from from the Downtown Redevelopment Authority.

The program, which is designed to help guide early-stage startups find early customer traction, connect with mentors, and more, is based in the Downtown Launchpad, and is free and does not take equity in the participating companies. The cohort kicked off on April 21 and concludes on June 10.

The new cohort includes:

  • Founded by CEO Steffie Thomson a year ago, Getaway Sticks has designed a shoe that gives women the painless support they need using athletic foam to create a shoe that gives women the painless support they need. Getaway Sticks provides the solutions to women’s #1 wardrobe complaint of high heel pain. Since launch, the company has earned over $35,000 in revenue from over 150 customers.
  • Through a combination of software and hardware technology, LocBox is rethinking the shopping experience for online and local purchases. If you shop, ship, or have food delivered to your house, LocBox will make your life easier. Led by CEO Sterling Sansing, LocBox has previously participated in the Texas A&M MBA Venture Challenge.
  • SpeakHaus is focused on equipping young professionals and entrepreneurs with public speaking skills through its on-demand training platform and group coaching program. Since launching in October 2021, SpeakHaus has facilitated 6 corporate trainings and coached 61 business leaders generating over $49,000 in revenue. The company is led by CEO Christa Clarke.
  • Led by CEO LaGina Harris, The Us Space is creating spaces intentionally for women of color, women-led businesses, and women-centric organizations. Since launching in June 2021, The Us Space has created partnerships with more than a dozen community organizations, sustainable businesses, and organizations creating positive economic impact in the City of Houston.
  • Founded in August 2021, Urban Eatz Delivery is a food delivery service app that caters to the overlooked and underrepresented restaurants, food trucks, and home-based food vendors. Urban Eatz Delivery has earned over $88,000 in revenue, delivered to over 2,000 users, and worked with 36 restaurant and food vendors on the app. The company is led by CEO D’Andre Good.

“The five companies selected for the Spring 2022 cohort tackle unique problems that have propelled them to create a business that solves the issues they once faced," Foster says in a news release. "From public speaking, apparel comfort, and food delivery from underrepresented restaurant owners, these founders have found their niche and are ready to continue to make an enormous impact on the Houston ecosystem."

it's Foster's first cohort at the helm of the program. A Houston native, she has her master’s in public administration from Texas Southern University and a bachelor’s in marketing from Oklahoma State University. Her background includes work in the nonprofit sector and international business consulting in Cape Town, South Africa, and she's worked within programming at organizations such as MassChallenge, BLCK VC, and now gener8tor.

The program is housed at the Downtown Launchpad. The five startups will have access to the space to meet with mentors, attend events, and run their companies.

"Creating (the hub) was a little like a moonshot, but it’s paying off and contributing enormous impact to the city’s economy. The five startups selected for the gBETA Houston Spring cohort will continue that legacy,” says Robert Pieroni, director of economic development at Central Houston Inc., in the release. “As these entrepreneurs chase their dreams and create something epic, they will know Downtown Houston is standing behind them. I am so proud of what Downtown Launchpad is already, and what it will become.”

Muriel Foster, a native Houstonian, is the new director of gBETA Houston. Image via LinkedIn

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