Most of us have used a pitcher or a faucet attachment to purify our water -- but a Berlin-based startup called Mitte says that's not good enough.
The problem? Simple purification can't tell the difference between contaminants and minerals like calcium and magnesium. Everything gets stripped out, Mitte says, both the bad and the good.
Mitte's pitch? Purify the water, then put the minerals back in.
That's exactly what the company's countertop device claims to do. With a Kickstarter campaign already under its belt that saw roughly 1,000 preorders, most of which live in the US, the company is planning to launch the device by summer of 2019. Pricing isn't locked in just yet, but the Kickstarter campaign, now closed, accepted pre-orders at €429 (about $500, £385, or AU$690, converted roughly). Karan Sarin, Mitte co-founder and CMO tells me "the goal is obviously to get the price down."
Mitte re-mineralizes your water using special cartridges with different blends of nutrients. For instance, the "Balance" cartridge includes a mix of calcium, potassium, and magnesium. The "Vitality" cartridge adds in trace amounts of iron, manganese, selenium and zinc, as well. Each cartridge promises to purify 250 liters of water -- when it's running low, Mitte will automatically reorder a new one (something you can set up or turn off in Mitte's companion app, which also helps you track your water intake).
Pricing on those replacement cartridges isn't set yet, but Sarin tells me the target is somewhere around 10 to 15 cents per liter (Euro cents, to be specific -- that comes out to about 12 to 18 cents in the US).
"We're not reinventing water," Sarin says, pointing out that bottled water from brands like Evian typically comes from rocky, mineral-rich regions, and gets bottled at the source. Sarin also points to a study by the World Health Organization suggesting health benefits to drinking water enriched with certain levels of certain minerals, particularly calcium and magnesium.
The pitch is already resonating with some spenders -- and not just folks who've preordered. Yesterday, Mitte announced an initial round of seed funding led by Danone Manifesto Ventures worth $10.6 million.
"We believe that Mitte has significant potential and represents a strong strategic fit for Danone Manifesto Ventures, advancing our goal of promoting health through hydration. We look forward to supporting Mitte's ambition to provide consumers with the opportunity to choose their preferred mineralization levels and taste profile." said Jean-Francois Hurel, head of investment DMV.
Time will tell if that influx of cash can help get Mitte across the finish line, and keep in on track to deliver a product on time in 2019. For now, the company says that preorders are closed, though it is accepting additions to its product wait list.
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