This startup is using rice husks to solve water shortages | Green Business

2021-11-29 03:08:17 By : Mr. YC Store Fixture

Glanris turns rice husks into high-performance mixed water filtration media. Picture from Shutterstock/Alive1986

This article was originally published in The Green Techpreneur newsletter and adapted with permission.

It may not be common for serial entrepreneurs to get inspiration from copywriters, but Bryan Eagle does just that. 

As a young man in New York, his first boss, Carl Avery, ran a legendary advertising company: "They made a very interesting FedEx. They are a classic and great creative company. 

"If there has ever been a Hemingway-style model in advertising-it is Karl. Karl is my mentor; he is a very rude, rude and violent person, but also an excellent copywriter," Iger said.

"The first sentence of the book he wrote was:'At 9:15 on my first day at work, I learned that management is better than being managed.' This always impresses me. This is an entrepreneur. Creed."

"Carl is a good role model for me, let me see how this road works. Take this road, you eliminate a lot of other roads, because once you run your own boat, you are really almost unemployed. NS."

Brian insisted on this path. He is now busy with his 12th start-up company-Glanris. This is a circular economy solution that can transform rice husks into high-performance mixed water filtration media. Compared with traditional water filtration methods, it is faster, more efficient and less costly.

"This is the thing that excites me the most in the end." Eagle said. "Today, most of the rice husk in the world is burned, so if we can stop burning rice husk and turn it into a water filter medium, you can not only prevent billions of pounds of greenhouse gas from being produced every year, but also help the next Ten thousand years."

Glanris's potential market size spans across the world's faucets; it has penetrated into the US industrial sector. Next comes consumer brands such as Brita and municipalities—utilities in India, the UK, France, and the Netherlands are already interested in it.

"21 of the 37 largest aquifers in the world are drying up. One way to solve the water shortage is to better reuse the water we already use. We will have to desalinate more seawater. To do both Point, you need low-cost, sustainable, and green filtration products.

"This is a global problem, and we have a global solution. Our plan is definitely to produce globally. They grow rice everywhere. We want to take away the world's largest agricultural waste-218 billion pounds. Rice husk-and transform it from a burning product to a product with circular economy applications, thus solving our water safety and scarcity issues."

The demand for water is expected to exceed 40% of the sustainable supply in the next nine years, threatening the water resources, lives and livelihoods of 3 billion people is likely to depend on the speed at which Glanris sells its solutions. Here are more highlights of our interview:

Marianne Lehnis: You are a serial entrepreneur with a background in establishing telecommunications and IoT businesses. What inspired you to participate in water filtration?

Bryan Eagle: The rice husk filtration method was developed by a professor at a local university in Memphis. The mayor introduced me to some people who want to do business as a business.

I created a non-profit venture fund. This is my attempt to promote economic development by starting a business in the city. Therefore, these people hope to get money from the fund. But they really don't have a team. So they said, "Will you come to help us solve this problem?" I said, "I am a telecommunications person. All my background is in satellite terrestrial wireless communications..."

When I started reading books about where we are now, the first book I read was a book by Seth Siegel called "Let Water Be". When I read through that book, it shocked me: "Wow, this industry absolutely must change."

Lehnis: Compared with traditional water filters, is Glanris faster and cheaper?

Eagle: Our filtration efficiency has increased by 20%, which takes only 1/3 of the time and 1/10 of the cost. So, better, faster, and cheaper. We are a mixed race; our method can accomplish multiple operations in one filter, so you only need to use one tank, while the traditional filtration method using four tanks will get poor results. 

If we not only use one tank of culture medium, but let the water pass through two filter tanks—traditional filters now use four tanks—we can purify the water to close to drinking water standards at about 1/5 of the cost. 

Lehnis: Who are your current customers and how do you plan to expand?

Eagle: We are currently focusing on industrial and residential customers because it may take several years to obtain approval for use in municipalities. Today, every major company uses water somewhere in their production process, and they need to treat it before it is discharged. Many of these big companies have chief sustainability officers who say: "Why do we discharge this water? Why don't we reuse this water?" They are very interested in green sustainable solutions and microplastics in filters.

This is the fact that they can definitely start to promote the fact that instead of pumping water from the ground every day, they pump the water once and then reuse it many times. They are cleaning it with a green sustainable filter. So their CSO and their factory Managers are happy because it is an easier and simpler process; their CFO is happy because they are saving money.

Once people use our products, they will continue to buy or update their filters, so this is a recurring revenue model.

Lehnis: You have raised $2 million and opened your first production plant in Mississippi. What is the fundraising process?

Eagle: We have to do it the old-fashioned way, that is, local funds. We are in Memphis, Tennessee, and look at the funding of American startups. These are real numbers: 80% of venture capital goes to transactions in the San Francisco Bay Area. We have 20% left, distributed in Boston, New York, Washington DC, Washington State and Seattle. So 1-2% of these dollars are reserved for people in the middle of the country, so it is difficult, but we are lucky, we have an agtech fund in the city. They are excited about us and invested in us, and then there are a few very high net worth people in our town, and they are also excited about the fact that we are engaged in clean technology in Memphis. ...

We suspended the local fundraising to see if we can bring some other people there. I talked to 147 venture funds, but only one of them was invested. This is the principle of Goldilocks. You are either too young, too big, too early, or too late. However, when we raise the next round of funds, some of these funds will be very suitable, which will be used for international expansion.

This is another lesson; you never stop raising funds. I want to say that one-third of the people we have spoken to will be on the first call I make. They already know about this transaction, they have the opportunity to see us from scratch, they see that we have obtained the first batch of customers, they see that we have obtained our patents and production capacity, they have seen our success and achievements. Then we will go back and say, "We are ready to go international." Never write down those people. You never know where these things will go, where these trails will take you.

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