A drunken idea at the Kaospilot outpost in Bogotá turned into good business. Jesper Krogh Kjeldsen is an alumni from Kaospilot, and he runs the company “Postevand” with two friends, one of them a fellow Kaospilot student. Jesper believes in a transparent business: telling the customers everything about his product – tap water on cartons!

 

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How did you come up with the idea of selling tap water on cartons?

 

My friend Andreas Lemche and I got the idea of making the final project together one drunken night in Bogotá. We stayed there for four months as part of the Kaospilot education.

 

We worked on a couple of other ideas before we decided that it should be about drinking water. We found out that in Denmark 2,3 billion Danish kroner worth of convenience water is sold every year. That makes 150 million plastic bottles. The water in the bottles is spring water, often transported a long way. And we even have some of the best tap water in the world here in Denmark. So this industry of convenience water didn’t make sense sustainability wise.

 

Now we sell tap water on environmentally friendly cartons, we call ourselves Tap Water (“Postevand” in Danish) and we market on the carton that people should drink water directly from the tap whenever it is possible. And when they are travelling they should chose the best alternative.

 

Why did you become so passionate about this project?

 

Because it makes no sense to buy bottled spring water. I had a feeling that it was unfair to sell that product. So I thought that if we were going to do this it had to be 100 per cent transparent. And I will say that transparency is the core of our product. There is nothing about the product that I try to hide, and there is nothing I won’t discuss. And that feels really good.

 

I come from a very commercial background, and I have never worked in this area before. But now I think I will never work with anything else. So that is the consequence of having opened Pandora’s box of sustainability!

 

When did you know that you wanted to fully commit to this project?

 

At the final exam I knew that this project was what I was going to work with. But it took me some time and a lot of courage to take the plunge and become self-employed. I had to leave a good, steady income at my old job to go out and live for almost nothing. But oh my, is it worth it! Because I am happy now, I make something I believe in and something that a lot of people are really pleased with.

 

But I am convinced that we will earn money. That is also a goal for “Postevand”. As a company we have to deliver a profit so thatwe can give employees a fair salary, otherwise it is not a sustainable company.

 

What is the goal for “Postevand”?

 

Our goal is that the sale of packageddrinking water will go down drastically. And of course we would like to be the alternative that people choose if they have to buy packaged water. But basically we would just like to get people drinking more water directly from the tap.

 

We also aim to export the concept to other countries where there is also excellent tap water. But we would never export water from Denmark. It has to be water close to the consumers so that it is sustainable. Here in Denmark we tap it at Funen in the middle of Denmark so it is more sustainable to distribute.

 

What have you taken with you from the Kaospilot education?

 

I would never have worked like this if it hadn’t been for my education at Kaospilot. No doubt that I use what I learned here everyday. Both the way I structure my work, the way I build up our project and our business model. A business is not only numbers and results, but also a lot of values, personal opinions and challenges.

 

And then I became a really good “do’er” at the Kaospilot school, I know how to make results.

 

During the three years I also went through a great personal development. When I first came to the school, I said to everyone “No, I’m not very creative”. Some of the others had worked with extreme hands on creative art projects, and I had never been anywhere near that. But I found out that I am in fact super creative. I am good at seeing how we make a business model that is different and interesting, not just for ourselves, but something that really resonates in the real world. I have learned at Kaospilot that you can easily be both an idealist and a capitalist at the same time. And that capitalism is only a dirty word when it stands alone.

 

Text by Lotte Rystedt, journalist at Kaospilot