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Online Backers Fuel One Triathlete’s Big Idea

  • By Triathlete.com
  • Published Aug 18, 2011

Ohio man uses entrepreneurial website to raise funds for triathlon-friendly water bottle.

Thousands of newly developed Simple Hydration water bottles will soon be shipped around the country thanks to 180 people who funded the invention of local graphic designer Brian Hock.

A year ago, the Ironman triathlete imagined a bottle that could comfortably attach to his waistband without adding weight or bulk. In July, after months of design and negotiations with manufacturers, he posted a pitch for the completed concept to the web site Kickstarter.

Kickstarter lets entrepreneurs create a month-long social media campaign to raise awareness for a project, business or product, and then collect donations to make it a reality.

In return, Kickstarter supporters get some piece of the project. In the case of Simple Hydration, 180 donors of $20 or more will receive bottles later this month.

The idea started when Hock, who operates a graphic design business in Mariemont, was training for the Louisville Ironman last summer. He was frustrated with the lack of options for running with water.

“I hate to carry a water bottle. It’s a less efficient way to run,” he said. He discovered his best option was to push the air out of an Aquafina bottle, then stick the flattened portion in the back of his waistband. The method was successful, and he started working to improve the idea.

Hock polled friends and fellow runners through the web sites the Dailymile and LinkedIn. Responses included complaints about clunky hydration belts, the swishing sound of water and the small cap openings and slanted necks on many existing bottles.

Eventually, Hock designed a 13-ounce bottle shaped like a hook. With less than 1.5 inches of depth, the bottle can slide into a waistband or pocket, with the hook and a push/pull cap sticking out. The swishing sound is minimal when the bottle’s secure.

Hock spent about $3,000 to develop a prototype and inked a deal with a California manufacturer called Blow Molded Products to make the bottles. A Toledo company will handle distribution.

Hock’s Kickstarter campaign ended Aug. 9. He surpassed his goal of $20,000, raising $21,180 to initially produce 5,000 BPA-free plastic bottles. He’ll sell the bottles for $19.99 apiece at www.simplehydration.com.

Read more: cincinnati.com

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