Environment / Hardware / Products / Startups / Technology

Tern Water released a smart bottle with a filtration system meant to replace 150 plastic bottles

Tern CEO Mohamed Zerban said the team is planning to bring the smart water bottle to a few retail locations soon.

The Tern Water bottle. (Courtesy photo)

This editorial article is a part of Tech and the Environment Month of's editorial calendar.

It’s been about two years after Tern Water began shipping its flagship product, a smart faucet that measures water consumption and promises to track tap water quality in real time through a phone app. Now, the Bok-based company is rolling out another product: a smart water bottle.

CEO Mohamed Zerban told that those first shipments acted as a pilot, and the company realized it would need a manufacturer that could support various models of faucets. They were working on this aspect of the product when the pandemic hit last March. Manufacturing had to take a pause.

During this break, Zerban said the team was looking for another way to make clean drinking water accessible.

Enter: the Tern Bottle, which uses the company’s filtration technology to purify and keep water cold for up to 24 hours. Each bottle’s filter effectively replaces 150 plastic water bottles, the CEO said, and the company offers a subscription to replace the filter as often as each month. They’ve been available for purchase for a few months now on Tern’s website, but Zerban said they’re soon expanding to a few retail locations.

“With COVID-19, we realized we need to have a product anyone, anywhere can use and can have access to better water,” Zerban said of the bottles. “It allows us to kind of fix the problem we’re after in a really scalable way.”

The bottle currently costs $50, and comes in white, blue and black, with more colors are coming soon. It’s expected to arrive to customers three to 10 days after purchase.

The 12-person team, made up of five full-time and seven part-time employees, will be working again on the smart faucet later this year, and are in talks with a manufacturer that can produce a wide variety of faucets.

For now, they’re working with corporations, gyms and other health-centered orgs to get the Tern Bottle to more people. They’re also looking to add a real-time calculator to the website that measures clean water and conservation impact of the bottles as they continue to make it into new hands.

“I came to the U.S. from Egypt and saw the water infrastructure here,” Zerban said of attending Drexel University and founding the company in Philadelphia. “I wanted to create a local product with local impact.”

Companies: Tern Water
Series: Tech and the Environment Month 2021

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