Ocean Bottle was founded in 2018 by Nick Doman and William Pearson, who met at London Business School. Will previously completed an undergraduate degree in engineering and spent a year out at sea in the Indian Ocean following this. Here, he saw first hand the devastating state of pollution in our ocean and felt determined to do something about it. Nick comes from a background working in venture capital, having worked on the investments team at Blenheim Chalcot, the UK’s largest venture builder, he is driven to redefine the impact business model.
Here the founders share their story – from inspiration to success.
At Ocean Bottle, our mission is to enable anyone that gives a damn about the planet the opportunity to turn the tap off ocean plastic. Each of our award winning reusable bottles funds the collection of 1000 plastic bottles in weight and supports the livelihoods of plastic collectors living on the front lines of the ocean plastic crisis in coastal communities in Indonesia, Brazil, Egypt, Philippines and Haiti. Working with our partner, Plastic Bank, collectors can exchange plastic for money or the things their families need, such as products, microfinance, healthcare and groceries.
A big part of the inspiration for Ocean Bottle came from spending time working out at sea on the Indian Ocean, where Will discovered an island of trash in the Maldives called Thilafushi. Here, plastic is predominantly burnt and left to drift out into the ocean everyday. Having seen this, as well as rivers choking with plastic, it became apparent that we had an insurmountable task ahead of us in solving the plastic crisis. He then discovered Plastic Bank, who were setting up infrastructure in some of the worst-hit places, and realised that this was a great solution that we should connect people all over the world to. Enter Ocean Bottle, the product that would connect people to creating an enormous impact on the problem. Will and Nick first met when they were placed next to each other from their first lecture at London Business. They made an instant connection around their passion for the environment and between Nick’s desire to create a new impact business model that put mission first and Will’s interest in starting something to help solve the ocean plastic crisis.
We incorporated the company in 2018 and then travelled out to Norway to design the product with our design partners, K8. The design of the product itself took a full year and thousands of hours. We ended up with a Norwegian looking thing which balances aesthetics, sustainability and new levels of versatility. We launched our products in September 2019, and fast forward two years, and we’ve sold to customers in 88 different countries and funded the collection of 1,607,606 kgs of ocean bound plastic, equivalent to over 140 million plastic bottles which would stretch from London to New York 5 times. In the last year, 20.45% of our revenue has gone to funding plastic collection.
We couldn’t be more excited for what’s next, and there is a huge opportunity to make an even bigger impact. This year, our goal is to fund the collection of 3 million kgs of ocean bound plastic. We are also planning to launch our refill and reward platform so that Ocean Bottle owners can go and refill their bottles and fund more plastic collection for free.