Summary: A lotus device that can be placed into a stored water container and will create copper ions that can kill bacteria, and viruses and other harmful microbes in the water
Tell me about TruePani.
Shannon: The TruePani kit is a lotus device that can be placed into a stored water container and will create copper ions that can kill bacteria, and viruses and other harmful microbes in the water… So in India, people don’t have running water 24/7, so they use these small storage containers to hold their drinking water for a whole day. And the problem is these water containers can get really really dirty because of poor hygeine habits like open defecation, people not washing their hands, animals in the home, and then people dipping their hands in the water to get a drink of water. So it’s at the last point of use, this water that has been previously cleaned is then dirty again. It kind of doesn’t really make sense. So that’s our governing idea behind TruePani.
So where are you at this summer?
Shannon: This Summer, with CREATE-X’s startup summer, we’ve been focusing a lot on manufacturing, as well as doing some initial testing in the lab to show that the prototype that we have works...simultaneously we are talking to a bunch of Non-profits and NGOs that work in underserved areas for water quality purposes. We’re hoping to partner with a few of them to participate in a case study where we would take [the lotus] over to an underserved area, to a village that an NGO is already operating in and basically pilot it and see the data we can get back on how it works in a real world situation.
You have enough money for that?
Shannon: For Manufacturing, yes. We’re probably good for the next 3 months with funding, and then after that we may need to try to find more funding but at the same time that we’re doing all of the stuff with the lotuses, we’re also trying to set up a storefront stateside to help fund our efforts. So we have right now, on our website, one product we’re selling and we hope to have more products coming in the next few weeks to put on our online storefront and to start selling in local businesses as well.
Any advice to budding entrepreneurs?
Shannon: The biggest take away is that you’re gonna have really good days and really bad days.
Samantha: It’s like a roller coaster.
Shannon: Yeah, some days, we have a really good meeting or we get really good results in the lab or something and we’re like “yeah this is awesome, TruePani could totally be a sustainable business down the road” and then some days you talk to someone or you just get some bad news back or you just have a really big hurdle that you’re trying to face and you’re like “I don’t know how this is ever going to work” but I kind of think that’s just our general story right now is that at this beginning stage, it’s a sort of big roller coaster.
Is this the route you thought you’d go?
Samantha: For me, I went to Tech thinking I would go into Medical School and I have I all my medical school classes that I need to take. And I just took the MCAT but it was kind of like I took the MCAT because I paid for it and kind of had to take it. But I don’t really want to go to Medical School anymore. So for me it’s really shifted my focus, and luckily because it was in the last year, the whole 4 years before I started doing TruePani I had no idea what I wanted to do, and I just kind of chose TruePani because it was like “oh that’s kind of interesting.” But now after doing TruePani I have a definite idea of where I want my life to go or where I want to focus my efforts.
Shannon: It’s really weird, I thought I was going to take this job in LA and do more of a project management role and that would be awesome, but at the same time it’s really kind of shifted my focus like that I want to do something in the public health world. I think we’re both interested at some point our MPH (Masters of Public Health) possibly… I think we both kind of know that we want to work in this space of social entrepreneurship and public health.
This Q&A was edited for content.