The team behind the DayOne Response Waterbag at the 2015 Tech Awards.

The Bag with a Secret

A water purification system makes waves in two different worlds

The DayOne Response Waterbag has a secret identity. If you check out the product’s Amazon page you may read about the perfect solution for a long hiking trip — a lightweight bag that purifies up to 10 liters of water at a time. Or an excellent addition to a family’s emergency preparedness kit, since it stows away easily and produces a family-sized volume of potable water.

The Waterbag’s alterego? A humanitarian solution to communities struck by disaster or that lack access to clean drinking water. DayOne Response has partnered with organizations such as World Vision International and the International Federation of Red Cross to bring clean water to West Africa during cholera outbreaks, the Philippines following a typhoon, and refugee camps in Uganda.

So how does the San Francisco-based DayOne Response handle this double life of marketing to outdoor enthusiasts in the U.S. and delivering a lifesaving tool in global disaster relief?

“That’s a challenge for us, but an exciting one,” said Tricia Compas-Markman, founder and CEO. “The value that we have is very different for a family in the Philippines compared to a family here in San Francisco, even though they both use the same product. Demonstrating that value poses a great opportunity, and it’s something that motivates us.”

Since being honored with the Intel Environment Award during the 2015 Tech Awards, DayOne Response has seen progress on both fronts for the Waterbag. Not only did the product make it to Amazon, but DayOne added a position in Ethiopia that will expand the Waterbag’s reach in the region.

The Waterbag also saw some technical improvements, as a partnership with Cascade Designs helped refine the filter in the bag earlier this year, improving flow rates. Procter and Gamble, which manufactures the water purification packets used in the Waterbag, also helped with a marketing push in March for World Water Day.

For DayOne the next step is to make sure its product gets into people’s hands before a disaster, whether that’s here in the Bay Area or around the globe. Just another challenge for the company that’s equal parts Silicon Valley startup and humanitarian helper.

“The Tech Awards was great. It reflected the spirit of entrepreneurism, but did not neglect the humanitarian reach of each laureate,” said Compas-Markman. “It also helped with the validity of what we are doing. It’s the kind of recognition that goes a long way with a lot of our partners who may be much larger than us.”

The Tech Awards, presented by Applied Materials will be held on Nov. 17, 2016. For more information visit: www.thetech.org/tech-awards-presented-applied-materials.

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