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Marc Sachdev, Founder and CFO of Aquavation (INTERVIEW)

'Motivation Through Hydration'

— June 22, 2012 — Social Good
Aquavation, which was founded by Marc Sachdev and his wife Sarah Plasky, is a unique social business in that it melds creativity, compassion and consciousness.

In this interview, SocialBusiness.org delves deeper into the business model and the inspirations that keep the duo going through their entrepreneurial journey.

Four Questions with Marc Sachdev

1. How did the idea for the business model come about?

Aquavation was co-founded by husband and wife team, Sarah Plasky and Marc Sachdev. Several years ago, Marc entered the Highlander Cycle Tour, a grueling century length bike ride in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Surveying the course, Sarah thought about the dedication required for such a challenge. Inspired, she went out and purchased an ordinary water bottle, removed the printed manufacturer logo and used paint markers to write motivational sayings. The next day Marc used his water bottle, noting that it was ‘motivation through hydration’. Aquavation was born.

The business grew to be a simple way 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, why not make it an exceptional experience along the way? The innovation to provide a ‘print run of one’ using a cutting-edge digital printing process, combined with a donation to a cause-related organization is unavailable anywhere.

2. How did you decide to join this sector?

The founders of Aquavation both came from large corporations and are fortunate enough to use the skills learned -- Marketing and Print Technology for Sarah and Finance and Information Systems for Marc -- in a totally new segment that has a direct impact on issues they care about. Realizing that nonprofits are often understaffed and resource constrained, they built Aquavation to provide corporate level skills to the nonprofit world.

3. How do you get your inspiration?

It is extremely easy for us to want Aquavation to grow and be the best we can be for our charity partners. Every single day our staff watches these amazing water bottle trophies roll down the line to be lovingly wrapped and placed in a gift box. Mothers inspiring daughters to be confident; marathon runners soon to delight in carrying their finish line with them; gift cards meant to inspire a chemo patient showing often hilarious and surely much better days; family vacations and of course, those adorable baby brag bottles Grandma's make. We see the beauty of the human spirit every day and the people who make our bottles are giving something meaningful to friends and family and making sure charity benefits as well.

4. How do you reset yourself to be creative? Do you have any rituals?

Quite honestly being a start-up, we need to remind ourselves to move away from work. Fortunately so many of our charity partners fundraise with runs and bike rides, we keep up with daily training routines to keep fit. This seems to do the trick. Oh and throwing the ball to Pearl and Ricky helps too!
Trend Themes
1. Personalized Water Bottles for a Cause - Aquavation's ability to create a 'print run of one' with a unique digital printing process and donate to a cause-related organization opens disruptive innovation opportunities in the product customization and charity fundraising trends.
2. Corporate Skills for Nonprofits - Aquavation offers corporate level skills to the nonprofit world, paving the way for disruptive innovation in the social enterprise sector and highlighting the value of cross-industry collaboration.
3. Inspiration for Human Spirit - Aquavation's constant source of inspiration from their customers' stories offers disruptive innovation opportunities in the creation of meaningful and personalized products that resonate with their target audience.
Industry Implications
1. Social Enterprise - Aquavation's business model as a social business highlights disruptive innovation opportunities in the social enterprise industry, catering to consumers who aim to make a positive impact in society while meeting their needs for products and services.
2. Product Customization - Aquavation's unique digital printing process for personalized water bottles has disruptive innovation potential in industries such as promotional products and merchandising, providing unique and customizable products that stand out from competitors.
3. Charity Fundraising - Aquavation's donation model for cause-related organizations creates disruptive innovation opportunities in industries such as fundraising and nonprofit management, encouraging the integration of corporate practices and techniques to increase revenue.
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