The Evolution of the Waterpod by I-Drop
Purified refills are the future of drinking water. We started I-Drop to figure out how to make purified drinking water refills available to everyone, everywhere. We’ve grappled with this challenge for years and it has driven our product development since 2015.
Water kiosks and water shops have been around for a while, why aren’t they everywhere? I-Drop’s co-founders identified that there was a missing solution in the drinking water mix: a compact, standalone refill dispensing system that could be installed anywhere with world-class purification efficacy and a user-friendly interface.
Such a system would also need to be easy to service and maintain, and would require a new commercial model to make sure everyone is incentivised to focus on what they do best:
Shoppers need to buy refills and save money,
Shop owners need to sell refills at an attractive gross margin and
I-Drop needs to make sure refill water is safe and to operate an efficient, profitable and scalable business.
The first I-Drop V1 was built in our living room in Johannesburg. We finished it and drove through the night to install it in a grocery store in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Without any promotion or explanation to shoppers, we were thrilled to see that it worked: people were buying refills and shop owners were paying us the agreed share of sales revenue. Everything was tracked through our integrated “Internet-of-Things” embedded SIM card electronic system.
We have had an I-Drop machine selling refill water in that original store for over five years now and, through additional installations at grocery stores across Africa, we learned that our V1 system had its limits. As we engaged with and designed for the needs of shoppers and shop owners, we improved and upgraded our I-Drop V1 to the V2 and V3.
By 2019, we were confident that we understood this market well enough to redesign our system, resulting in the “Waterpod” by I-Drop. The Waterpod builds on five years of technical and in-market development work, design and learning.
We are excited to bring this solution, designed and built right here in South Africa, to market and continue with our mission to get a Waterpod next to every grocery store drinks fridge in Africa.