MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Kona Deep
Product description: First introduced in 2014, Kona Deep bottled water is now widely available in more than 20 states, led by Hawaii and California, and at several thousand retail outlets. The story of how the product reaches consumers is remarkable: The pure-water source originates from a deep ocean current formed by melted glaciers in Greenland and Iceland. That water sinks to the ocean floor due to differences in salinity, density and weight. There, it begins a 1,000-year journey flowing through oceans around the globe. Along the way, it travels over underwater volcanic fissures, soaking up beneficial electrolytes and minerals before arriving at the Island of Hawaii. Kona Deep accesses that mineral-rich deep ocean water 3,000 feet beneath the ocean’s surface just off the coast of Kona on the “Big Island” of Hawaii. The water is desalinated using reverse osmosis while preserving its natural mineral and nutrient content. Nothing is added to the final product, which is clear, pure and smooth-tasting.
CEO/Founder: Patrick Turpin
Bio/background: A co-founder of the healthy snack Popchips, Patrick Turpin turned his entrepreneurial spirit to premium bottled water. With the same spirit that made Popchips a popular alternative to salty potato chips, Turpin and his team launched another winning product – this time in the ultra-competitive field of bottled water. A resident of Manhattan Beach, Turpin previously spent 20 years with leading food and beverage companies, including Costco Wholesale, where he served as vice president and launched Costco’s highly successful gas station operations, among other ventures. Turpin earned a BA in economics from Claremont McKenna College.
Significant fact: Domestic sales of premium bottled water have skyrocketed more than 300 percent over the past five years. That figure is expected to grow to 20 to 30% annually for the next few years
Why CyberTECH membership: “Kona Deep is an entrepreneurial startup that leverages technology in desalinating our unique deep ocean water source to create the world’s best water. The desalination technology allows us to remove salt while keeping electrolytes and minerals that hydrate you faster than regular botted water or even sports drinks. Having known Darin Andersen and seeing how CyberTECH has brought together such an amazing group of tech entrepreneurs and the community that’s been created, we see value on multiple levels to being involved.”
Quotable: “I am passionate about creating innovation in mature consumer products categories where one can deliver unique solutions that meet unmet consumer demand. Often times people overlook opportunities in mature product categories thinking that everything that can be done has already been done.”
Greatest challenge you’ve had to overcome: “When we launched Popchips, we started with three different product lines: rice, corn and potato-based chips. Consumers found our offering confusing and initially it didn’t work. We quickly made a decision to discontinue the rice and corn lines and focus on popped potato chips as our ‘hero line’ of product. That worked and we grew rapidly from there.”
Advice for entrepreneurs: “My lesson for other entrepreneurs is that you need to be quick and decisive to make necessary changes to your business model when launching. Follow the facts but also listen to your gut. Often times those initial decisions you make after launching are critical and you have to make those decisions with less than perfect information.”
What future holds for Kona Deep: “We will roll out Kona Deep to the Midwest and East and look to be the leading brand of this new category, deep ocean water. We foresee Kona Deep being a $50 million to $100 million brand in the U.S. market.”
Patrick Turpin, CEO