(00:18): Hey guys, and welcome to episode 249 of built on passion. I'm your host, Matt Dele bono. And today we have on grail co-founder Travis Merrigan grail makes extremely simple and highly effective water purification devices to help provide clean, safe drinking water to people in need while helping them to cut down on single use plastic in their everyday lives. Grails are that you might be familiar with, whether you've seen 'em on the shelf, seen them online somewhere, or whether you've actually listened to our third episode of built on passion at the time, it was the ready Eddy podcast grails. One of the first companies that we really connected with, they were pretty young. They'd been around for a bit, but they really started to ramp up what they were doing. And it seems that haven't stopped. If anything, they've kind of doubled down in planning to take things even further grail is that perfect example of a company that exists far beyond their product.
(01:10): On the surface. Their product is still a one of a kind water filtration device. It's a one pump water bottle design. You just use your body weight to actually filter out the water, simple, straightforward. And it's one of the few that actively fill there's out viruses as well as particulate matter and bacteria. And there's something to be said about that alone. However, beyond inefficient and effective design, GRAIL's bigger message is doing good, helping people and driving to make the world a better place, any way they can. When it comes to environmental awareness, GRAIL's ability to walk the walk vastly more important to them than just talking the talk in a world where people are getting more in tune about what's going on with the earth itself. People can find their own information or their own opinions. Grail doesn't feel the need to talk down to people or use something they care about to sell their product.
(02:02): They're more interested what their product can actually do to help the causes that they care about. And I think it makes a lot of sense. You don't need to force marketing into a product. I think they've done an incredible job of removing the ego piece of doing good, especially as an organization. It's really good for goodness sake, right? In this episode of built on passion grail, co-founder Travis Merrigan dives into what is, and what it's meant to be beyond a water filtration device, how a company's message and actions should exist beyond their product and how the right team is everything. It was a blast chatting with Travis. It's always great to kind of go beyond the brick and mortar of company gets more higher level things, more abstract things about how they exist within a community. And I think Travis has a lot of insight there without further ado. I give you grill. Co-Founder Travis. Me, Do you remember coming on? The podcast? I
(03:04): Do. Yeah. Yeah. It was one of the early, do you remember what the date was? I was trying to, I didn't see it on this. Yeah. It was like 2016. It was like, it was like really, like we just gotten started. You were, I think maybe like the sixth person, but number three on your, on your website. Yeah. Oh yeah. Then number three. That's it? Yeah, that's, it's kind of interesting. It all comes full circle. This is gonna be more interesting cuz it's we get to revisit this? I don't think we've really had anyone do this. I'm I'm interested to kinda, you know, dig into it. Yeah. Oh yeah. Let's go. All right, right on. I guess the start, Travis, thanks for joining me. Who, who are you for the listener who is a little unfamiliar? So I'm Travis. Hi everybody. And I'm co-founder of grail and GRAIL's a water pur fire company that, that was rounded nine years ago or so. And I do man over the time done every single job not all of them. Well, I'll let it be known from CEO, COO sales, everything. A few things I really like are sales, but we've got a really talented sales team that kind of keep me in arms length that and so what I focus most of my time on right now is pro that's. That's what I've done. That what has been consistent throughout the whole process of grail is I've focused a lot on making new products and you know, grail makes water purifiers for outdoor venture for international travel for, for emergency and taking our, our one special thing and optimizing it and making it better, both the technology on the inside and then also the, the form factor and the usability and the versatility of it. And so I, I wake up every day thinking about how to make this thing better and how to make, you know, new, new ideas that, that compliment our line. And so we have some great products right now. We're really excited about what's coming out, out in the next six months. And then we got a lot in the hopper. Good. Stuff's just gonna keep on coming.
(05:11): That's what I'm talking about. I, I remember the first pro I think that was that right when you guys launched 16. No, no. We, we had been around for four years by then. And, but what, what we were launching at the time was sort of the rebirth, the reinvention of the company. Oh man, the early days we didn't, we didn't didn't really know what we had. We, we had this one idea that we knew we, we were pretty confident was, was good. And that was a way of pressing water. That that is fast. It's powerful. And that, and here's the key thing. It uses your own body weight to press as opposed to sucking on a straw, as opposed to squeezing a little bag or using that pump. Tho those use little muscles to get tired. This is you just a single press using your body weight. Very, very powerful mechanism. But so, so we had this idea. We had this patent, we had this, this, this device, but it, it a couple things. One is it wasn't dialed in. It wasn't dialed in for who our audience was at the time. So this, we launched in 2013 and we just didn't know what we had on our hands. And it took us a while until about 26 team. When I first met you guys and the other, the other thing about an idea like that, you, you ever heard the phrase build a better mouse trap and the world will beat a path to your door.
(06:29): Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. It's not true. It's not true. Look, I mean, it's a great yes. If you have a, if you have a brew an idea, you have a chance, you have a chance at making a company. You, if you don't have a great idea, you don't have a chance maybe arguably, but, but simply having the mouse trap, isn't sufficient. Here's, what's wrong with the build, the better mouse trap and you're immediately gonna have success. Not everybody wants a different mouse trap, you know, you know, what's great about a mouse trap. It works. It's cheap. Everybody has one, you know, not only has to be better. It has to be way, way better than what they already have. Okay. And then, and then people are resistant to change. Like, no, I already got this thing that works. Like, why would I for, for grail, the number one competition. There's some great brands out there. You know, all, all do respect all those brands. But the biggest competition for grail is the single use plastic water bottle, super convenience every corner store, pick it up, throw it in your car, pull up in your backpack for your outdoor adventure. That's very easy. And getting people to transition off of that really functional, really easy thing is, is really hard work. So you got this great idea. You're, you're taking it to market at a tiny company. Just doesn't have the ability to speak loud enough so that anybody will listen. Right? You just, you, so like how bigs your marketing department, how bigs your marketing budget, how you gonna, you got this brilliant idea that's way better than the previous mousetrap. Like how you gonna let people know it's really, really difficult. And we stumbled along for cool quite a while before, you know, really when we first met you guys, 2016 is when we first started having the first inklings of success.
(08:07): You basically, you gotta find the people who are looking for this thing. And as long as I I'm, I, I believe that as long as you are into what you're doing, as long as you are believing in that thing, there's more people out there. Right. There's gotta be. How, how did you find those people? What was like the process of finding who's looking for grail and then saying, Hey, this is for you.Yeah, that's good. Yeah. Good question. A few things happen. One is that we, we got, you know, their, their previous versions that were not as good as the one that you first saw that simple. So the ultralight was a big step forward for us. So getting the product right or close to, right. Getting it a lot better for the market that you're, that you're after. Like it, it is the classic, like know who your customer is and know the kinds of things that they want. That's, that's huge. Early on Kickstarter was great. Kickstarter is fantastic. You know, I, I think the, the bloom is off a little bit. It's sort of an old channel or whatever, but like, it, it is still an opportunity to like, Hey, I got a great idea. Like, all right, let's test that, take the Kickstarter, see if anybody wants to buy it, because there are people who are first, first adopters eager to try new things support, cool companies, they got good stories, whatever.
(09:19): And and so, and so that, that was super helpful. And then here's the real secret sauce rail, you know, beyond if it's two things, one, one it's this device that makes water really simple. Two is we have consistently been able to hire amazing people like above the pay grade. We offer above the size of company that we are because people just want to buy in and want, want to be part of this thing. That's that they see the potential in grail. And so we're able to get, you know, our branding firm is off the hook, just these amazing, amazing guys that, and for a long time, you know, we're not getting paid, were near what they were, they were worth, you know, our, our head of sales, our, our, our, our engineering department, just, we are still a very small company fewer than 15 employees, full-time employees, but, you know, just, just amazing people top to bottom.
(10:12): And, and I, a lot of times my, I feel like my job throughout the entire process has just been like, so set those folks out to do what they do best, and then you make sure they have everything they need and then just kind of get outta their way and let 'em let 'em do their thing. So you know, building a great team, you know, is, is crucial. And, you know, once the team members are in place and you got a good idea and you got a good product and, and then you just, you just start building on, on little successes, right? You, you we're, we're fortunate it to be the Seattle area, which is, you know, home to a lot of outdoor, outdoor deer brands home to nice travel organization that home to REI which is everywhere, also home to Amazon which is seeing the occur to Amazon for sure. But yeah, and just, and, and have had the ability to, you know, being in this place where so many people working the outdoor industry in the gear industry and the travel industry, able to make a lot of contacts that would, might be harder other places. So just a lot of, a lot of fortunate things came, came into being, and we were able to capitalize on that, keep growing.
(11:25): Yeah. That I, I could see that. And I mean, especially what, with what you were saying about building a team that, of course, but even more so being able to kind of step back and let you know, not getting in, in your way, I feel like there's like a, like a pride piece that makes it tough where you, like, you wanna be the hero in every place, you know, to kind of like come up with like that groundbreaking idea to like kind of step back and be like, okay, like you are a BR like a shining star at this, and I'm not as good go for it. That, I mean, that takes a lot. So that's what Mark's a leader. Well, yeah, I, I, I think that ego can really get in the way of a founder. I, you know, I, I have never thought I'm particularly good at any, any particular thing other than I think maybe helping people get focused on what they need to do and, and, and, and, and help helping 'em along, you know, the, the, the platform for other, other folks and then shared credit, right. It's not me. I, I, it's not, it's not about me. It's about this awesome company and this, this product that we're building and, and let, let everybody enjoy in the success of that.
(12:27): And even, I mean, especially because what GRAIL's doing, like it's a, it's a noble cause I mean, creating plea, water, like opening that up, I mean, for what it actually is, is more important now than ever. And it's only gonna get more and more relevant. It's like, you're like setting a stage for like making sure like, okay, like this is something that every, everyone needs. Every human being, every living creature needs fresh. Yeah.I let me, better. Emily's gonna be mad at me if I don't step in and say with the product actually, does we make a water purifier bottle that renews bacteria, protozoa and virus virus is the tough one of those three plus chemicals, heavy metals, sediment, microplastics, et cetera, right back into that, a second bacteria and protozoa. Those are living organisms, bacteria floats around in swims pro same deal virus, as we all learned in the past 15 months, right? There's like a little computer code, much, much smaller than bacteria, much, much smaller than protozoa, much harder to remove from water. So most water treatment devices don't do it. One of the secret sauces of, of our product is the ability to remove virus. Why does that matter? Well, if you're in a pristine river in the Pacific Northwest, probably you don't probably, it doesn't matter much, but in if you're traveling to south America, Southeast Asia, China, lots and lots of places, viruses in the water.
(13:48): And every time there's a natural disaster virus, very often a hurricane of flood, the Texas freezing, anytime human waste gets into the drinking water system, which often happens then you, or, or, or just left untreated, let go into the rivers. You there's a chance for virus spreads, cuz virus is always human to human. Whereas bacteria, you know, you, you can get, can get Sal Manila from a chicken virus is really specific then also on the chemicals and heavy metals. There's, there's activated carbon inside real purifiers that remove bad stuff from water, how stuff tastes, how it smells, but also lead and arsenic and PFAS and BPA and, and all these, all these chemicals that over time really do conduc damage to your body. And so that's what the, that's what the bottle does. And it does it all with you fill, you, press, you drink very, very simple. After a eight to ten second press. Now you've got 24 ounces of water in your geo press and the ability to share, it's very versatile. You can cook, you can drink, you can, you can, I can fill up your bottle. Like we can make coffee with the water, et cetera. So, okay. That's my pitch. It's,
(15:03): It's probably arguably one of the, the most, or the, the least labor intensive water filtration devices. That's out there, cuz I mean, you are using just the force of gravity. You, you could be exhausted. All you have to do is just fall on it and it'll, it'll filter it out. Yeah, that's right. It's the mechanical advantage of your body. Weight is superior in almost every instance to, to, you know, most other ways of doing it. And you know, I, I should say there's other great ways of making water. If, if you just need a little sip, then then a tiny, lightweight straw, maybe all you need, if you need a giant amount of water, you need leaders and liters and liters of water, consider a gravity bag. That's a great, you know, bag to bag with filter in between use gravity, drip. Awesome. But you know, pros and cons to both of those. And we hit a sweet spot for people who are on the go, who are need something to put in their backpack either for a, you know, medium to long hike or for overnight trips. And then certainly, and this is where the pandemic set in for us a little bit was that international travel, you know, 30 to 40% of our folks are thinking about an international trip when, when they're invest a grail product and with the pandemic shutting down international travel, it was yeah, it changed the market a little bit for us over the past 15 months or so
(16:22): Was the ability to filter out viruses. Is that something that is new or was that even with the ultralight? Oh yeah, that, that has been a part of the product from the very beginning. The technology we have inside of our water pur fire is has always removed by as a, as a feature. The reason why more companies, more water treatment devices don't do that is cuz it is hard. It takes more pressure, it takes more force, it takes a different technology and you just can't generate that with your sucking, with your mouth or squeezing with your hands. It's just too hard. So we're able to generate much more force, therefore virus capability become practical. What was, what was the initial jumping off point? Like what was the moment of conception of the idea? What was, when did you say we gotta do this? Well that came in stages. The, the, the moment of inspiration on the product itself was we we'd already decided if we wanna do something in water, but but myself, Nancy Westin and Michael Bardel were sitting, it was a, a rainy January weekend. We're sitting up in a, on an island in Washington state and focusing on, on how to make water. And, and we, we had a couple of prototypes. One was it, it was basically a super soaker, a little kid's toy, even simpler than that. You, you long tube, you stick the nose in water and you pull back and then you push this push on this handle and the water squirts, and you can squirt more water further with one of those things than any kind of square gun. And, and, and we're like, there's something there, right? That, that is a, that is, that is a powerful way to push water
(18:02): Long distance water delivery system. Yeah, basically. Right. And, and, and in a, in a, a, a standup bike pump works in a kind of a similar mechanism as compared to little frame pump, the little tiny one that goes on your bike. And, and so using these as kind of leaping off points for the, the really hard question of how do you generate the force to push water across this puration and membrane. And, and so it can come off the other side fast enough in a, in a simple enough way to to be usable and, and, and, and that, and then the, again, simplicity has always been a part, you know, there's lots of ways you could lot, you know, lots of ways to make a pump that you lean your body into. You know, why not just put a filter on the bottom of a bike pump? Well, cuz the water's gotta go someplace and where's the water gonna go. You're gonna fill up a bag. You're gonna require the user to have a bottle. And what if your bottle's different? The, the moment of like, aha was like, we're gonna refill the same bottle, right? You fill the out water, you got a slightly small outer refill fill out with dirty water. You got a slightly smaller bottle that, that fits in with a purifier on the bottom. And as you press that purifier through the dirty water, it fills the inner re the inner press that, that that's now full of clean water at the end of the risk, the, the space that held the dirty water now holds clean water. And that was, that was the other ha now, now what can we do with this design? And and that really to, to be hon you know, there was a lot of refinement, but really it all took place, you know, on a Saturday and a Sunday in this, in this rainy house between walks on the beach, that just, just it all, it just, it came together and, and I don't know, it was a moment of, you know, just three people really putting the brains together and coming up with something that none of us could individually.
(20:09): It's, it's kind of cool. You can, you can see how, you know, you had this, obviously you have, have the idea, you know, the devices like launches water and you can kinda see how you, all you have to do is really just flip it on its head. And it's not the, the water that needs to move. It's the filter that moves through the water. That's a good way of putting it. Yeah. And, and in terms, I mean, even back stepping a little bit in terms of you know, there are already kind of being some preexisting water filtration devices. This is meets the perfect middle ground. And I mean, like you said, like you have the handheld filtration device, that's just a filtration device and it just goes from source to your body, but this, and then you have, you know, large gravity bed filtration devices, you know, for large amounts, this it's great. Cuz you actually just, that's your water bottle, you know, if, if you made, you've created that classification, that, that middle ground that people probably would've wanted.
(21:04): Yeah, yeah. That it's, I mean, it's sort of not in a way it's a, Nonas astounding realization that, Hey, guess what? People like bottles I mean look around like every, every place and granted, this was sort of at the beginning of it we, you know NA now Jean was the only bottle until then clean canteen in the late OS came out with a stainless steel bottle and people are like, wow. And, and now H a FLAS and Yeti and everybody, but you know, there's probably how many, how many bottles are in a, are in a drawer in your kitchen. I mean, every everybody's got eight of 'em, right. Bottle is a great way to carry water. It's the best way to carry water. And, but the problem is if, if, once you drink your bottle of water, now, now it's empty and you gotta fill it someplace. And that if, if you don't have access to clean water, how do you get it? So da, da, da, right? The, the versatility of a bottle. I can drink it. If I'm, I can share it with you. If I'm willing to swap spit, I can fill up your bottle if I'm not willing to swap spit I can, I can fill, but, you know, dehydrated food pack. And I can for, for hot water, if you're, if you're ma if you're cooking or you're, or you're making coffee, you, you have to boil the water for a minute, two minutes at high elevation, three minutes, that takes a lot of gas to do. If your water's already pure, all you have to do is heat it up. You don't even have to boil it. And now you pour sweet in your coffee without, without getting sex. Like, so, so all these things, all this versatility that's enabled with the system that is, you know, dust their car hoses and pumps, and, you know, has, has clean water in a bottle right after you're done is. And I, I think that's why it resonates with people. And yeah, that's what we're here. Just the, the simples easiest, most versatile way to, to make water.
(22:52): Totally. And I mean, like another point that you mentioned you know, just a bit ago for what grail is and can even be in a, you know, taking that even further, but to remove the focus on single use plastic, how does that kind of work into the narrative? Like, how is, is that something that's always kind of been there? Is that something that, you know, has been a quick realization? I could see, I mean, everyone's really waking up to wanting to go outta their way to step away from single use plastic people are, are doing it. I mean, something that I've always really cared about, but because I've been paying attention, I kind of see it more. So I think that's remarkable piece. Is there anything that you guys have done or continuing to do or looking at to kind of like take that even further, make that like the, you know, the big message behind it?
(23:40): Yeah. you know, certainly the, the, the message, you know, as early as I keep coming back to clean canteen and, and these, these other bottle folks, and nowadays with the, the straw of the turtle's nose and there's stainless steel straws and all the, all for the good and, and certainly it's to the point now, I think in messaging where we don't have to beat that drum very hard because people understand, right. I mean, there's, there's a, there's a core understand of, you know, yeah. Plastic is theoretically recyclable, but this is very little of it is you're probably better off throwing your single used plastic, just in the trash cans. It's cheaper to take care of. And if you're doing the recycling, which is gonna end up in trash anyway. But so, so we don't, we don't need, it's not a core part of our cause I just think people understand what, what is and, and also, you know, look when you're, when you're in the outdoors, a lot of people buy like big jugs of single use plastic take car camping.
(24:38): Well, fine. I get, you know, but, but at the end, you've got, you know, after a weekend of car camping across the United States, there's billions billions of tons. You know, I don't know what to do about that problem. The, the one, the, the thing that we focus on with, with single these plastic is around travel. And, and that is where look, I mean, this is a super viable, super easy, depending on how long you're traveling is gonna save you money over single-use plastic. But to get it into the minds of people before they leave on their trip, everybody gets down to Mexico, Thailand, wherever, and like, oh man, we're buying a lot of, a lot of water bottles. You got no other choice. If you, if you show up with that one, you show up that without another option. That that is the moment where we re grail really shines to particularly with that issue.
(25:25): And, and so, I mean, it's a matter of safety. Do you really trust in a third world water bottle and just, you know, there's nothing greater than just pulling up to hose. I've astounded people all over the world. You just, some, some gardeners water in his trees and, and you fill up the bottle and he's like, no, no, don't and you press it and you drink it. And he's his, mind's blown. You fill up his water bottle. He's stoked. It's a, it's a very, very cool thing. So it's not a huge part of our, of marketing, but, but it is, it, it does resonate with people, you know, like, look, when you're leaving for a trip, you're going to Mexico, right? Finally, you got your vaccine and you're going on a big trip. Like, you're not gonna bring your own food to Mexico. You're gonna go down to Mexico and you're gonna eat the delicious food that's out there, and you're not gonna bring your own water. Most people think, right. But you should, you really, really should bring your own water just for waste, but for, for safety and for, for a lot of things. And so that's where we're trying to continually try to tell that story basically were tell the pandemic sort of changed our changed the trajectory a little bit.
(26:22): That makes so much sense. You hear about like, oh, you know, don't drink the water in Mexico, whatever you are given bottled water and told that that's okay. But even still, you don't really know where that's coming from necessarily bottled water companies do a lot of shady crap and that's not even remotely a secret anymore. So it's kind of give that ability to be self sufficient, which is incredible. I like how you guys are enforcing, like leaning on this as like a marketing thing. And people are smart. They don't need us to tell 'em. Yeah. There's few companies that really won't militarily go after every aspect, just to turn it into a buying point where it's like, this thing is the, like the value's clear, like we don't need to be getting drags and throwing it at what we're trying to do. It's it makes sense. It's obvious. It, it works. So you guys nailed this, the press water filter, I guess, system, where do you go from here? Where do you take this? I mean, it seems like you kind, I mean, even cuz you can filter out viruses, that's huge. It's not a lot of filters out there specific that we can do that.
(27:24): We are the call, the form factor, the way people interact with their bottle, that can be, you know, what the cap looks like, what the size is. We've got some, we got some improvements. We're gonna have product coming out. It'll be in stores in October. And that we're super excited about. That's gonna, that that's in the line of like take this thing that exists and, and, and make a new, awesome form factor. That's gonna really appeal to people there's that we're working on new technologies. So there are other things that people want out of their water other than bacteria, perso and virus. And, Hmm. So how, how do we, how do we approach that market? And then and then there's also you know, hardcore expedition, like the hardest users in the world and what, what do those folks need where water is truly vile, Tru you know, just beyond the pale that probably you wouldn't go near it. But this is your best source. And and so we got, we got a line of research and development to, to look, to look into those questions. And then there's other, there's other things people do with water too, other than just drink it cold and pier things. I don't mean to be too coy. I'm not gonna share too much today, but I, we are we are working at a faster pace right now over the past six months to, to develop new products and new ideas than ever in the history of grow. You know, finally getting to the point point where we can focus on it and, and, and bring some resources to bear and just really excited about, you know, what, what is a, you know, it's a huge market. You know, you, you, you eat three times a day, maybe 10 times a day.
(28:56): I don't know. You drink at least as much. And there's lots of ways that people interact with water throughout the day. And it's not a market that's going anywhere. I, I, I think that people are increasing about, even if your water is biologically safe bacteria, proteol virus is not a problem where you live, how does it taste? What's what are the trace materials? There's a, if you ever want to go into the, down the, down the rat hole and scare yourself a little bit about your own local water, that's coming outta your tap, go, the environmental working group E wg.org has a, you, they periodically come out with water stuff that it is not good. It's, you know, some, some chemicals that we weren't even aware of 10 years ago are now the, the forever chemicals, PFAS, poly, floral, whatever, whatever, water's a big deal. And it's not, it's not getting a smaller deal and the droughts in the west and the water quality in everywhere. And I, I think it's, I think it's important. I, I think there's, I'm always encouraged when I see a new brand with a new water idea, even a new water purifier idea. I'm like, yes, hell yeah. Let's, that is a, let's get more and more and more people thinking about making clean water that doesn't come outta single use. And fantastic. And if, if they got an idea, I'm always, I'm cheering, 'em on, I'm supporting their Kickstarter, whatever. Like there's, there's a lot to do. There's a lot to do in the water space. That is so we've, we've kind of scratched and we got got some great products right now, but the future's bright for new stuff that we're working on.
(30:27): Yeah. It, I mean, you're a hundred percent, right. It's a, you know, this, the water quality issue, water availability issue is not something that's gonna be getting better. Right. It's, it's almost it's in, especially for what we're currently dealing with and you know, what we're up against, even when it comes to, you know, revitalizing water systems, which this is a huge, and it's a, it's an asked of which I can't even describe. I dunno, like I, I have no solutions for that. Yeah. And, and America is, look, I America's is filthy rich country that beyond belief, you know, and we're gonna, we're gonna give vaccines to five year olds before the seven year olds, get it in places in the third world, whatever this is the world. I didn't make the world, but we have a lot of resources to take care of this stuff. And so here locally all right. Probably okay. Western Europe probably. Okay. man, the rest of the world and, you know, it's a, it's a real problem for folks who sell high end products like me to, you know, is it, is it just for rich Westerners? Is there, is there anything that can be done internationally? And, and so we do part, part of what we do with our giving you know, water.org, we support that does, you know, a really sustainable model for, you know, not just like put pumps in the ground, they're gonna break in three years and then the village is no better off, but a sustainable model for maintaining that the parts come locally, the, the, the technicians that work on it, aren't Westerners that fly in they're locals who know how to work on this stuff.
(32:00): The parts that can be sourced locally and, and the, we Gras a member of 1% for the planet. So 1% of our revenue, not profits, 1% of the gross revenue that comes in, we, we give to environmentally focused nonprofits. But we're just much better at doing some of this work than Gras ever gonna be able to do. And so we, we support organizations that both domestically here in the United States particularly on locking up important pieces of environmental land so that we have access to them and then internationally on, on water issues. And, and and so we're just, we're super stoked to be working with very, very cool nonprofits, all, all over the world that this, that, that inspire us and, and help us you know, help us carry out the, the part of our mission that, you know, I, I think we're working towards, you know, how are we ever gonna be able to build something that's gonna help that little village in Guatemala where my wife was a peace Corps volunteer for two years?
(33:00): I, I don't know. I maybe, maybe I, I, I think about it a lot, but in the meantime, are there can grail, you know, succeed in the business market, selling to our customers and then, and then support these other nonprofits that are doing important work there. And, and for us right now, that's, that's the best way that we can, you know, look, look beyond ourselves and our own ply lumps here in the lonesome, crowded west. And yeah. And so we, it's, it's something we, we care a lot about. And, and I, I continually to work to make sure that our, that, that, that 1% goes to the best effect. Both here in the United States and across the world, I feel like the way your attitude towards it and way you're handling is the perfect thing. Cause it, it is a stepping stone and there it's, you know, you want to build something where grail can exist, so that if you do start more directly getting involved with providing clean water, that you can keep your organization going so you can help keep spreading, you know, being able to give clean water. So like you're building that base. You said, I mean, you said to yourself, you have a lot of, I guess, production expansion ideas coming up soon, and you dialed in what grail is now that method and filtering out viruses. I feel like from there, like, you know, you only build onto that. And especially when it comes to providing clean water, you, like you said, there's so many different ways that you can take it and that it's needed that it's, you know, you're, you're headed it's baby steps, baby, like stable baby steps towards that trajectory.
(34:32): And then I also, you know, just, don't forget to reach back and give a hand up, you know, where wherever you land in your industry and you're doing so well for yourself and get your fancy car, what, whatever, like, how'd you get there help help somebody that's from your old neighborhood or whatever, like take advantage as well. You know, we we've done internships, we've done. We, we try to, you know, student project, I presented to a classroom a couple weeks ago, you know, just who are interested in science. And yeah, I, I, I, I feel like there's more to give to the world. Wonderful, but frankly, pretty expensive water purifier that are only, only small number of people really in the world can by. So we, we feel pretty strongly as a company that there's a lot left to. Do
(35:19): You talk the talk and you walk along, that's, that's, that's even bigger cuz it's the, it's the involved it's again, it's not just like you know, creating a product just for the sake of, you know, having a successful use case. It's actually being involved in the issue that you're solving and finding how to be a part of the community that what you're doing is directly affecting it's great. And, and on different levels too, it's not just like you know, 1% for the plant. It's great that there's like philanthropy going on, but it's beyond that because now you're, you're what you're saying is like you're getting involved in create opening up the space education. You it's, it's rising tides raises all ships and plus I mean, yeah, collaboration is the, it breeds innovation too.
(36:05): Well, I, you know, rising tide doesn't necessarily float all ships. I, I think that that's an intentional step that organizations like mine organizations like yours, you know, need to be, need to focus on to make sure that at least, at least some, some, some of the success that we have is shared with, with O other folks. And and I, and I do, I, you know, for instance it organization like ready Yeti to consider something like a 1% for the planet membership, which I think has a lot of benefits in terms of marketing. And it's really not that big of a contribution right now, as, as, as your organization still relatively small and as you continue to grow it, it just it's built in as a line item that anyway, I, I, I think that, I think every, I encourage lots of folks to consider if not 1% for the planet, then some form of some form of giving back to the bigger world that, you know, let's, let's face it, you were born into the richest country in the world and, and are, you know, have benefited enormously from whatever kind of advantages you had growing up.
(37:08): And not that you didn't work hard enough that you don't earn what you have, but there, there is responsibility with, with all, with all those benefits to, you know, start to think at about, about how to, how to give some back to, to where you came from, or, you know, other folks in other places that didn't have the, the benefits that you grew up with. So that's the way I look at the world anyway. No, it's good. I I'm, I'm a hundred percent with you. And I know that that's, that's actually something that we talked about, talked a lot about is trying to figure out like, how do we do, I mean, cuz the outdoor industry, right? If you exist in the outdoor industry or any kinda industry that touches, you know, NA nature in any way, it's, it's really hard to be in there without taking action to kind of help keep this place sacred, you know, safe, stable, not, you know, receding. So 1% for the plan is something that we've flirted with. We it's one of those things where we want to do a little bit more than just like give up some money, the, the end goal, like kind of like you know, getting a little star eyed. We talked about, you know, different in like initiatives where it's like put together like events for like clean up groups and stuff like that. Something the more like you know, more
(38:27): Active component to it. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, don't get me wrong. Like there's, it's, it's one of those things that we know that we want to do. We know what we could do, but if we do it, we want it to be the thing that we can kind of keep on, improving on. Yeah. And that won't just lose steam. Well I tell you what I I'll, let's, let's take some time offline to, but, but just really put, you know, one percent's cool because you're not supporting the organization 1% for the planet. You do a little bit, but you you're giving to other organizations that are members of 1% for the planet, so where whatever it is. And there's a lot, there's 1500 in the United States and another thousand probably internationally. So virtually anything you'd want to do probably counts. And then it's the way that it's, it's 50% cash, 50% in kind. So advertising, could you, could you help these little nonprofits advertise on your channel? I, yes, you could. That would, that would count in part to your contribution. I, I I'm, I'm a big fan of, of the model of 1% because it, oh yeah. It is a, it it's a platform on what you do. Good works rather than being a good working in and of itself, if that makes sense. And no,
(39:41): That totally does. Yeah. And so anyway, I I'm making a pitch for those guys. I, I, I, I think that, I, I think it's a super cool organization that is, is at least anybody who's listening to this to at least take a look at you can do, you can do your entire business. 1%. You can do a single product that your company makes 1%. So it's, it's even, even as a, as a way way to get involved in the organization to see whether it, it makes sense for you. And I would say purely on marketing alone, just purely on the bill, the folks who care about this sort of thing, like with single use water bottles, like if you care about this, then you might be interested in this, this kind of product. If you care about the globe and you see the 1% you, you may be more likely to, huh, let's see what that podcast is about. Let's see what that product is all about. And, and last, you know, if you're a very, very small company, the amount of money, actual cash required is very small. And then it just becomes when girls started, we were very small company and we're still pretty small, but it's just a, you know, it's just a line item that we, we consider to be a, a good investment for us. And and it just grows as the company grows. It's not a needing to like thrust huge sums of money every month.
(40:51): Yeah. It, it creates a way to give back within your means, whether you ha don't have the manpower or like the timed even, and really figure out how to put like a percentage of your revenue towards a specific, you know, that takes a lot of moving parts. A lot of communication, whatever this I guess, kind of helps make that possible really small businesses tend to be lean. At least you can be giving something and, and lemme just be what the world doesn't need. Another nonprofit, whatever you want to do. There's a nonprofit that does it. There just needs to port, you don't have to, you don't have to file for the 5 0 1 [inaudible] [inaudible] and do that, have the office and do the whatever, build the website, like, nah, just support those guys, man. They're they're already doing awesome stuff already. What you care about, they're better at it. They've got more experience than you already have. You can keep doing what you're doing and you can support them so that they do what they're best at. And I, I, I think it's a, I think it's a great model, be it 1% or, or, or some other way, but
(41:44): You really, you really can't have a business without having some kind of actionable social piece to it anymore either. I mean, cuz there's there's so it's never been easier to start or something where if you are so solely focused on just making money, you're really not gonna go anywhere. Like the people, like no one wants that. Like even like people voting with their dollars all over the world, like that is something that if there's two companies and one person's providing, you know, something beyond just what they're actually doing, even if it's like completely irrelevant, even if it's just like some, you know, some passion that the people behind the company care about, that company that's giving back or providing something beyond the product will keep it up because you're gonna find people who care about that. Cause too.
(42:33): Yes, absolutely. You like, like attracts like it, yeah. There's a million reasons. There's a million people. People have written studies on this just to, to talk about the benefits and, and you know, I disagree with one thing you said it's, it's super easy to found company and not, not give anything back. I think that's, I think that's the default. I think a lot of, you know, a lot of you got a local insurance company and you, you go teach, go coach, little league baseball and that counts, man, that's, that's definitely checking a box for sure. And, but, you know, so what, what is it that your company could do? And I would, I would suggest that starting your own nonprofit or something, you know, starting your own beach clean up is probably the hardest way to do it. The least thing for the help. Other for, for a small company, that's best at what you're best at keep doing that and then help help little nonprofits do it better best at, and that is, and then me mutually benefit from that, from that shared interest, it's just a great way to be able to do it.
(43:32): What advice would you give someone who wanted to do more? I mean, I, I guess get involved with 1% for the planet. It seems to be like the, the, the first barrier of entry, but what would you suggest someone pay attention to if you're, if it's the environment that you wanna work in or youth organizations or whatever, social justice, you know, there there's 50 topics within each of those find one, right? Or two that you're interested. And then Lauren, who, who locally, who in your city, who in your state is doing some of that work? Just, I don't know, read the website, check it out, start to educate yourself about the ways that people are already making a difference. And, and I think as you do that, okay. So, so you find the awesome organization. That's there's an organization up, up in, up in Vermont. Guys, you work with I'm it in the name, they build mobility devices, kind of trachs for people with disabilities and, and they, they, they raise money. They buy the kit, they build the bikes, they give 'em away. They teach 'em how to use 'em and they help 'em maintain them.
(44:29): And, and so these ki these high school kids that were in these terrible wheelchairs and now have now have accessibility and that now can keep up with their buddies as they're rolling, you know, whatever, walking out, it's life changing for some of these kids adults soup, what do they need? Do they need cash? Do they need volunteers? Do they need, you know, start local, get, get a little of experience in, in something that you care about that seems meaningful. And at the end of the day, I think, you know, take one day for it. GRA grail gives our employees two days per year, paid to go donate their time to nonprofits. Doing awesome things can, can be anything, right? I've I've, you know, I've there's, there is an organization in Seattle. I used to work with a little bit that that would take junk bikes for kids fix 'em up real nice paint 'em and new parts and, and give 'em away to kids and with helmets and, and lights.
(45:20): And that was, ah, that felt good. At the end of the day, you're dirty, you're tired. Your back hurts. And man, you've built five bikes and five kids in your neighborhood. You're gonna have bikes. You could see those. Like you could see the bike lights on these kids as they're riding around, like, ah, you had a little, what part to do with that. It fills your bucket. And it can be as simple as that, as simple as a couple of hours, helping it some little nonprofit and then see, see what grows from there, you know, and engage, help. You know, if you got staff, engage your staff in it, cause it doesn't doesn't matter what I'm interested in, right. Matters what we're interested in. And if, and if you know, somebody really has a passion for we folks on our, our crew who are interested in helping youth get into the mountains. Kids have never inner city. Kids from Seattle, never had a chance, never these mountains towering above them every day of their lives. And they've some of 'em literally never been outside of the city limits of Seattle. Right? And they go up and they have these adventures and they climb, you know, they do rock climbing and they sleep in a tent and they, the world is so much bigger than before they own the join the organization. Right. And, and you know that, cuz that it's your it's public land. It's your land. You own this, you have a right to be here. This is a gut nature. It's a home game for you. This changes the way kids see the world. I think, and someone will grow up and be park Rangers and start businesses and nonprofits and who the hell knows. Even if you've never thought about it before you can develop a passion for doing good in the world, as everybody wants to do whatever that good means to you, whatever that whatever that organization is. And if you an individual can do something, a company can do a lot more. A company back to some resources can do a lot more. A group of, of companies can do a lot. And, and all, all of a sudden we've got a movement here. You don't have to start it yourself. You just gotta join in.
(47:01): Yeah, you don't, you don't have to start it yourself, but you do have to get started and it doesn't have to be huge. One step. It takes like one action or like, you know, helping one, one thing, it sounds like grail already is kind of involved in a lot of, of things on the micro and macro level within your organization and 1% for the planet. But is there anything that you kind of say like next five or 10 years that you'd want grail to be doing? Like, is there like a, like a, you know, a broader vision next time I'm on the podcast, I'll come back and tell you about our vision. I, I, I think that I, I, I think what we have done is we have dedicated some resources dedicated, some staff time, really encourage staff to, to partake. And I, I would say we're at a, beyond our infancy, but still really, you know, if Patagonia is up here, you know, we're still climbing the ladder and we're, we're quite a ways down it. I, I think yeah, I, but I, I definitely think that global water is a big issue for grey that we care about. And I think that protecting local lands, protecting, protecting public spaces and, and getting access to public spaces, especially to, to young people are two areas that GRAIL's really focused on. And that we fills our bucket to, to, to work on that stuff. Courtney, Courtney on our team in particular is, is, is super active in it. And she does some work with that local nonprofit that helps low income students get outside. Yeah. So I, I don't know. I, you know, we probably lack the grand strategy at the moment and that's, you know, so work towards we're, it's, it's constant improvement. We're, we're always, we're working towards the goal
(48:44): From a company standpoint. It seems like you guys have been like very steadily climbing the hill, like across the board too, like forget like pro like outside of the product too. I mean, even, I, I think it's really cool. The dedicating two days off for employees to kind of do something it's inspiring it. Like, it, it, it, you, you make that available and people are like, huh. Even if they don't aren't involved or don't even think about it, it's an easy thing to be like, Hmm. Maybe I should use this. Maybe I should go do something. Even if it's just like a cleanup, like something small.
(49:21): Yeah. Yeah. It's it, it, we get back more for, from it than we get, I think, but I hundred percent believe that. And I, I think other other companies do too, see, we've invented the perpetual emotional machine. You get back more than you give. What is the best part about building and running rail? I don't run rail. I should say. I'm, I'm a small part of the team that does awesome work, but okay. So, but I would say that the best part, I I'm, I'm inspired by people that are, I, I learn from the crew on our team single day. I'm just, I I'm, I'm inspired by them. And I, I, more so than more so certain than anything I personally accomplish my crew. That's one, two is I, we, we live vicariously all the most interesting customers, the entire world, our grill customers. There's I haven't met a boring one yet. And just seeing what people we don't even know, they're gonna go out and they tag us on what they're doing. Amazing things. They're doing the adventure bag crew. Is this an awesome little organization that thousands of people are picking up trash all over the world, based on this one simple idea of just carrying around a trash bag and then filling it up on your way back on the hike, simple, so easy. And yeah, they carry grails around. That's awesome. I just, they are our, our customers are amazing and they, so girls employ and Gras customers are continually inspired me to do what I do.
(50:52): That's incredible. That's, that's everything. I mean like you, the reason for grail, I mean, you know, you make grail or you, maybe you started it for an idea of your, your own liking that you believed in. But even bigger than that, it always speaks to a bigger community. And when the bigger community gives back and you can see the work that you've done really benefit people. That's the best. Yep. Like podcast, man, we got people coming in listening to good stuff and hearing the good news as it were. Yeah, exactly. Travis, thank you for coming on, man. It's been great to connect again. Yeah, man. It was a good chat. Thank you brother. For anyone who wants to find out more about grail, find out more about 1% for the planet. Just, you know, stay connected. Where is the best place for them to head?Well, our number one home on the Internet's grail.com and then on Instagram and all the socials were at the grail. G R a Y L Travis.
(51:46): Thanks again. Thank you, Matthew. If you enjoyed today's podcast episode, then we would be incredibly appreciative. If you could log on iTunes and leave us a quick review, this really helps us get noticed by other podcast listeners like yourself. And if you know anyone that would benefit from this episode, then please share it. Well, that wraps up this episode of the ready a podcast. We'll catch you guys next week.
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