Paper for Pennies, Water for Billions

Folia Water has created the world's first consumer goods water filter: Folia Filters™.  Our global vision is to reach the 1.8 billion people who consume microbiologically contaminated drinking water as well as the 2 billion people who pay the poverty penalty: overpaying in time, energy, or money to obtain safe drinking water. Lack of clean water is catastrophic for public health: diarrheal illnesses kill more than 500,000 children a year. 

Folia Filters™ kill waterborne pathogens at a price that is affordable to even those who make $1-10/day.  Our filter papers are designed to fit into either a regular plastic funnel or our Keystone Funnel™. The Keystone Funnel™ allows users to walk away and leave a 2 liter bottle of dirty water to drain through a Folia Filter into any household water container including a soda bottle or jerry can. The Keystone Funnel is designed to be simple to use, effective, and culturally appropriate, minimizing customers' setup time and not requiring them to buy a special water bottle. 

Folia Water's customer base comprises an esteemed group of nonprofits, church groups, water charities, Rotary groups, universities, and  small business owners in over 40+ countries around the globe.

Currently, Folia Water is scaling up paper production,  manufacturing operations, and exploring new product features. 

We aim to promote human welfare through innovation to reduce waterborne disease, one Folia Filter at a time.


Leadership

TERI DANKOVICH, Co-Founder, Ph.D.

 

Teri is Chief Technology Officer and Chairwoman of Folia Water. She has a B.S. in Textiles and Fiber Science from Cornell University, an M.S. in Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry from University of California in Davis, a Ph.D. in Chemistry from McGill University, and completed postdoctoral research at the Center for Global Health at University of Virginia and Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Her doctoral and postdoctoral work has been the invention, laboratory, and field testing of Folia Filters. She created Folia Water to bring her invention out of the lab to those who are in need of clean water.

JONATHAN LEVINE, Co-Founder, Ph.D.

Jonathan is President and Chief Executive Officer of Folia Water. He has a B.A. in History and Mathematics and an M.S., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Engineering from Columbia University. He worked on African water supply for the U.N. Millennium Villages Project for his masters research. His 16 academic publications address global environmental problems, including disposing of billions of tons of carbon dioxide pollution, deep sea oil spills, and the clathrate gun hypothesis. He and Teri formed Folia Water to build a social enterprise able to reach 1 billion people with their inventions.

Some day he would like to pave underneath the deep ocean seafloor with 1 billion tons a year of carbon dioxide hydrates. 

advisors

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PRAMOD JOHN

Pramod John is CEO of VIVIO Health, a company reinventing the therapeutic use and supply chain for the specialty drug space. He was formerly CEO of Oration, a venture-funded startup in healthcare transaction processing. Prior to this, he was VP of Strategy & Innovation at McKesson, the world’s largest healthcare services company.  Earlier, he founded two tech companies; one is now owned by Dell and the other by VMware.

With significant entrepreneurial and F500 business leadership experience, Pramod has a track record of strategic and operational success in both large scale and startup environments.  After launching his career in Silicon Valley technology, Pramod migrated to healthcare, an industry suffering from legacy systems and archaic transactional processes both of which contribute to gross inefficiencies.  Combining his technology background with more than a decade of healthcare experience, Pramod has a great deal of experience in understanding and optimizing businesses that range from very low margin distribution businesses to high margin software companies.

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JUSTIN NEWTON

Justin is an early Internet pioneer and technology startup veteran. His last four companies: AboveNet, NetZero/United Online, Demand Media and Blackline Systems have all exited with $1 Billion + IPOs. He was responsible for architecting each company’s platform for global scale and preparing their data systems for Sarbox compliance. He founded The Internet Service Provider’s Consortium (the first trade association for ISPs) and was their Public Policy Director.

Justin is currently the founder and CEO of Netki. Netki’s products allow companies to make blockchain applications easy to use and able to meet regulatory/compliance requirements. Justin currently serves on the Industry/Law Enforcement Portal Working Group of the Blockchain Alliance and the State Legislative Working Group of the Chamber of Digital Commerce. He is also on the Board of Directors of Adra Match Software.

TIM OLSON

Tim is a serial software entrepreneur with a penchant for data analytics and big backends.

Scientific innovation

Years in the making

Theresa Dankovich, PhD, invented germ-killing nano-silver coated paper filters as the focus of her doctoral work in Chemistry at McGill University in Montreal, Canada between 2008 and 2012. Her invention uses non-toxic reagents and renewable materials. She showed at the lab-scale that nano-silver paper filters were highly effective at eliminating bacteria.

From the lab into the world

For her post-doctoral research at University of Virginia in 2013, she successfully field tested the filters in rural Limpopo, South Africa. Since 2014, Dr. Dankovich and her partners have field tested her filters in Ghana, Honduras, Bangladesh, Kenya, China, and Haiti, showing repeatedly that they can purify many types of polluted water, including well water, streams, rivers, ponds, springs, and even gray water.

The next challenge was to create culturally appropriate filter holders for international markets that would ensure correct and consistent use of the filters. Through non-profit partnerships, Dr. Dankovich and Dr. Jonathan Levine (Folia Water's cofounder and CEO) began field testing different filter holders and collecting feedback from potential customers, those primarily responsible for household water purification and hygiene, in Bangladesh, Honduras, and South Africa.

From a cool technology to a robust product

In 2016 her company, Folia Water, achieved many technical milestones including design iterations, technology scale-up, product development, and customer engagement and feedback.   Folia Water can produce over 1.5 tonnes of Folia Filters per day - that's around 150,000 filters! The Keystone Funnel™ was developed as a filter holder that fits with a variety of household water collection and storage container around the world, including two-liter bottles, jerry cans, Bangladeshi kolshis, 5-gallon buckets and Guatemalan tinajas.  Case studies of customer engagement through filter distribution trials were carried out in South Africa and Honduras for a total of 6 weeks with ongoing followup.  

A Social Enterprise For Base of the pyramid markets

The BASE OF THE PYRAMID

More than 4 billion people live at the base of the economic pyramid, with less than $1,500 in annual income per capita. These 4 billion people are the most underserved human population; as such, they often lack financial and physical access to life-saving technologies, medicines, and safe drinking water. 


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FOLIA WATER'S SOCIAL MISSION

Folia Water is a social enterprise and a Pennsylvania Benefit Corporation. As such, we operate according to a triple bottom line: People, Planet, & Profit

 

People: 

  • Provide safe water to billions in the developing world at a price they can easily afford. 
  • Create jobs and opportunities in the developing world for micro-entrepreneur retailers as well as local and regional suppliers, manufacturers, and distribution partners. 

Planet:

  • Prevent the environmental impacts associated with current methods of purifying water (burning wood for boiling water, or using harmful chemicals such as chlorine).
  • Ensure that all Folia Filters use ethically-sourced wood pulp and are biodegradable and recyclable at end-of-life. 
  • Locally source materials when possible to minimize carbon footprint. 

Profit:

  • Make a sustainable profit to reinvest in scaling Folia Water's efforts worldwide.
  • Reinvest in research & development of new technologies to improve lives. 

Folia Water is proud to partner with BoP Hub. BoP Hub was established in 2011 with a vision to design business to end poverty. A Singapore-based business accelerator platform, BoP Hub's mission is to catalyze and strengthen cross-sector collaboration and participation in social entrepreneurship.