Philadelphia-based Quench has garnered $30 million in funding for expansion, the company announced Thursday.
Quench makes water coolers with built-in filtration systems that tap into a building's existing water supply instead of using water in five-gallon plastic jugs that need to be regularly delivered and replaced. The company makes free-standing and countertop water coolers and ice makers.
The coolers use a reverse osmosis water filtration system that includes a sediment filter, an antimicrobial filter for killing microorganisms, a carbon filter that removes things like chlorine that might change water flavor, and a lead filter for reducing heavy metal content. They also contain a phosphate filter that reduces the amount of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, which also prevents water scale buildup in things like coffee makers.
The machine also has an internal ultraviolet light system for self-sanitizing that kills 99.99 percent of bacteria, viruses, or parasites that can sometimes be found in and around the moist parts or holding tanks in water coolers. Both the filters and ultraviolet lights for the coolers are collected and recycled by the company.
Quench also uses stainless steel tanks and parts for holding and distributing the water, which in addition to maintaining a plastic-free taste also eliminates exposure to plastic toxins.
"This funding will accelerate our growth in key markets across the country, as we continue to capitalize on the trend of businesses switching to filtered water coolers from traditional plastic-jug water coolers," Quench CEO Anthony Ibarguen told investors.
The company says its water coolers have caught on and its clients now include about a third of the Fortune 500 companies.
It's not hard to figure out why water coolers sans plastic water jugs might become popular. At a time when companies are looking for ways to cut costs, a water cooler that both uses inexpensive tap water, and offers a greener option that might contribute towards company sustainability goals seems like it would garner a lot of interest.
Quench is not the only company attempting to reinvent the office water cooler. Haier's Aqua Fontana water coolers offers bottom-installation of tanks, so you don't have to do the precarious flip to install the five-gallon jug at the top.
The EcoloBlue 30 Atmospheric Water Generator takes things even further. Their water coolers don't even require a tap water hookup. The system dehumidifies the air and sends that collected water through a series of filters to produce drinkable water. They also offer a solar option so you can have a water cooler that doesn't even need to be plugged into an electrical outlet.
Investors in this round of funding include previous Quench investors Element Partners, Virgin Green Fund, and Douglas Brown in addition to new investors ORIX Venture Finance, Advent-Morro Equity Partners, Potomac Energy Fund, and The Pohlad Companies.