Social Entrepreneurship: Aquavation

By: Sarah Plasky

Everyone needs water, why not make it an exceptional experience along the way?

Aquavation® was co-founded by husband and wife team and Simon Business School Alumni, Sarah Plasky ’99 and Marc Sachdev ’95 to test the notion that social entrepreneurship can draw upon the best thinking in both the business and non-profit worlds to serve a market desiring to make a difference.

Several years ago, Marc entered the Highlander Cycle Tour, a grueling century length bike ride in the Finger Lake region of upstate New York. A few days before the ride, Marc and Sarah toured the Highlander route looking at a steeply graded road Marc would encounter at mile 78.  Another road was so steep the organizers had spray-painted Marc’s name and had hired a bagpiper to help propel cyclists to the top without them having to look up and waste precious energy.

Sarah left amazed, once again, at another of her husband’s ambitious cycling goals and what she calls his ‘weekend warrior spirit’. Inspired, she went out and purchased an ordinary water bottle, removed the printed manufacturer logo with nail polish remover and used paint markers to write motivational sayings such as: “12,000 feet of vertical is nothing!”, “Bopple will NOT topple you!”, “Miles and I will be at the finish line, we love you!”  The next day Marc used his water bottle for hydrating during the ride, remarking that it was ‘motivation through hydration’. Aquavation® was born, and Motivation Through Hydration® is now a registered trademark along with Aquavation.

And so it all began with the simple idea of providing a personal way to celebrate and commemorate a family member’s participation in an athletic event. The idea evolved to include the ability to support fundraising for cause related organizations. Everyone needs water, so why not make it an exceptional experience along the way? Making a bottle and a donation became a dream.

It has taken us many years to perfect the technology and manufacturing process; the design of our bottle; selecting partners as interested in quality and safety as we were; and to innovate a ‘print run of one’ using a cutting-edge digital printing process.  The product has now evolved into offerings which raise considerable donations for Aquavation Charity Partners through business sponsorships to gain marketshare for those businesses using personalized bottles during corporate, golf, and employee events.

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