“WITH PIIPEE WE WANT TO HELP SAVE THE PLANET’S WATER”
It was in the morning, after a couple of days fasting when he went to the toilet to have a pee. And when he flushed, he realized one thing: “I just spoilt so much clean water!” It took him seven months to find the chemical solution to tackle this problem. Now Ezequiel and his wife are the proud owners of Piipee, an eco-friendly product that eliminates all toilet water usage during urination.
“Piipee is my third business. While studying the market, I noticed there were only vacuum toilets and toilets with rain water, but those were all expensive and time-consuming solutions. I couldn’t find anything that was quick and cheap. Then I went to the supermarket, I bought all the cleaning products out there and started to check the ingredients myself in order to find a formula. It had to be biodegradable, cheap but also made out of accessible ingredients.
My family and me started to pee in cups and tried lots of different chemical combinations. It took us eventually seven months to come up with the right formula. After this we could start with the patent in Brazil.”
“I don’t have an engineering background. It therefore took a lot of time to develop the concept. An engineer could do this maybe in four weeks but we needed seven months. And I have to admit: starting a new business is always tough. Everything changes when you talk with your first customer.
The biggest challenge was to start the sales. This took us five years. But after this, our company grew 3 to 4 times faster than expected. Right now, we don’t have any funds or investments, we can live from our sales. Two percent of our profits go to charity.“
THE SUCCESS FACTORS
“I think that we get a lot of media exposure and clients find us because it is a good and different solution and a sexy product. And of course the name attracts a lot of attention. It works in every language and everybody knows what it is. We have now been participating in more than fifteen programs and competitions with our product.
We are also super proud of the fact that our patent is recognized by the World Intellectual Property Organization as an innovative solution for climate change and in 2016 we were among the fourteen most innovative startups in Brazil and got invited to participate in a mission to the UK.”
“Our future dreams? We want to eliminate 100 percentage of clean water while urinating. To establish this, we’re developing a new model of urinals and toilet bowl with the Piipee solution inside. With this device it is possible to monitor in real time what kind of toilet needs to be cleaned, refilled and for example how much time it takes to clean the toilets, a perfect solution for bigger companies.”
This article is one in a series presenting finalists from previous editions of the Accelerate2030 global scaling program. The third edition of the program in currently in the national scale-readiness phase and the international finalists will be selected at the end of August. The international finalists will be present at the Impact Hub Geneva and the SwissSustainable Finance week from the 4th until the 11th of October.
The article was originally published 28/9/2017 on the blog of Impact Hub Geneva and is written by Marlou Dahmen.