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From local to global in 4 years: The timeline of Hydraloop’s success in the TopDutch region

If you don’t know Hydraloop, you soon will. The WaterTech innovators have had a market entry many entrepreneurs can only dream of. From starting production in a TopDutch shared smart factory in 2017, to expanding across Europe, to winning Best of the Best at CES 2020, gaining worldwide exposure and sales. Hydraloop’s smart water recycling system has caught the attention of corporate and residential building owners across the world. What’s the secret to their success? Let’s take a look at the timeline for Hydraloop’s rapid growth in the TopDutch region.

Although the smart water recycling company as we know it was only founded in 2016, Hydraloop’s story actually began over 10 years ago, when now-CEO Arthur Valkieser was enjoying an early semi-retirement after selling his successful media group. He invested in a friend’s business, which was aiming to develop a water recycling system, and began meddling himself with their prototype. Then the 2009 financial crisis hit and in 2015, the company had to shut down. But Valkieser was passionate about the huge global impacts that could come from dramatically reducing water usage, so he decided to embark on the mission himself, together with his partner Sabine Stuiver, who is now the CMO.

Making TopDutch home

Originally from the middle of the country, Arthur Valkieser specifically chose to establish the company on the WaterCampus, in the TopDutch city of Leeuwarden, to be able to use its facilities. ‘We were a member of the Water Alliance (a Dutch WaterTech business development facilitator, also based on the WaterCampus) from the beginning and I thought it was a great idea to have a company and work in an environment with other people proficient in WaterTech. That makes it easy to bounce ideas off each other. The region is a knowledge center in the field of WaterTech,’ explains Valkieser.

The final product? A domestic water recycling system with the size of a fridge, and beautifully designed. For every 120 liters that would normally be used in the house, a Hydraloop user only needs 74, and can recycle up to 63. That means for every 74 liters of tap water, they have 137 liters of usage – saving a family of four about 92,000 liters a year.  

‘In November 2017, we introduced our new system at the AquaTech in Amsterdam, in collaboration with the Water Alliance,’ continues Valkieser. ‘This garnered a lot of attention, so it was time to start production. First, we were looking for a place of our own because our offices on the WaterCampus did not have room for production. But then we got told about a factory not far from WaterCampus, called Technologies Added that produces for other companies. This was ideal: We could keep our own offices on the WaterCampus, we did not need to invest in our own production plant, and we were still able to produce.’

Hydraloop CEO Arthur Valkieser and CMO Sabine Stuiver at the WaterCampus

Opening doors across the world

In 2018, Hydraloop’s industry network grew even further after they won the Water Alliance Innovation Stimulation Award (WIS), which introduced them to a global market through the Global WaterTech Hub Alliance. These new contacts helped enable Hydraloop to open a US office at the Global Water Center in Milwaukee the following year. ‘The United States is becoming an important market for us. We needed local contacts there to help us explore the market. Thanks to the Water Alliance, we found an entrance to further explore the market and to expand,’ explains Valkieser.

Thanks to the Water Alliance, we found an entrance to further explore the market and to expand.

Arthur Valkieser, CEO Hydraloop

Clearly, the company was enjoying a successful first few years. Plans for further, gradual internationalization were written up, and the Hydraloop was building up a solid clientele, especially in regions where water is scarce. But 2020 turned out to become a defining year in the company’s success. Back in January, they participated at the world’s largest consumer fair CES – the Consumer Electronics Show – in Las Vegas. The newest products from over 4,500 brands were presented, yet it was Hydraloop that garnered the praise and caught attention from international tech experts. The smart water recycling system won four awards, including the Best of the Best –the prize for the overall best product in all categories, beating global companies like Samsung and BMW. Being featured in international media like Time Magazine and Newsweek, Hydraloop was projected into the global mainstream. Orders started flowing in from across the world.

Taking the next steps

Now, Hydraloop is an international company. To keep up with the rapid growth, Hydraloop has scaled up its production, moved offices and is hiring plenty of new staff.  Fortunately, the TopDutch region is not short of WaterTech talent. Education at the institutes in the WaterCampus starts at primary school, and goes all the way up to unique PhD and MBA programs specialized in WaterTech – with an average of 40 uniquely skilled graduates being produced every year. The Water Alliance also works to connect their members with the best international talent to meet their growth ambitions as smoothly as possible.

The fact that Hydraloop produces at Technologies Added brings about extra benefits for achieving such speedy growth. The shared smart factory provides the flexibility needed to produce on a larger scale whilst still constantly developing the product. There’s also plenty of space in the surrounding areas for the factory to grow as their clients do.

And for the future? Hydraloop’s vision is that in 10 years’ time, no house will be built without its own greywater recycling system. And it doesn’t even have to be Hydraloop branded – there’s plenty of room in the growing sustainable WaterTech market for competitors. But as the challenges of water scarcity increase, there’s no excuse anymore to not use water wisely. 

And what about Hydraloop’s place in the TopDutch region? ‘It’s an inspiring environment, also because the Wetsus research institute is located there. And the Northern Netherlands, home to so many water businesses, keeps offering plenty of possibilities for cooperation,’ Valkieser concludes.

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