We’ve all heard it before: drink eight glasses of water a day. How big those glasses are is always up for interpretation (or is that just us?); however, eight is the magic number for anyone who wants to be fully hydrated. But what if our bodies were actually different, and not everyone needed the exact same amount of water as everyone else? This is the very question that entrepreneurial brothers Jac and Davis Saltzgiver asked themselves a couple of years ago. Today, they know that those renowned eight glasses are actually not accurate — that people need different amounts of water — and the brothers are on a mission to help people find and maintain their optimal level through personalized hydration products. Jac and Davis live in Austin, Texas, which helps explain why this issue was at the top of their minds.
“Texas is incredibly hot, and when playing sports here or working out at the gym, I began to notice what a big impact hydration was having on how I felt and how I was performing,” says Jac. “We began to look into the market for hydration, and realized there hadn’t been much evolution in the last 50 years.”
And so Trago was born. That’s the name of the Saltzgiver’s company; it means "a gulp" or "to swallow" in Spanish. The brothers saw an opportunity to connect the concept of personal hydration with the increased use of wearable devices. along with the rise in personal health and activity data. It seems natural to connect these with how much a person drinks, but the Saltzgivers are among the first to innovate on it.
Trago’s market is people who sweat, in whatever capacity that may be (so essentially, everyone). The main product they’re working on — a Trago cap for water bottles — is gaining traction in professional athletics, with several teams already placing orders for their own devices.
The cap uses smart data such as a person’s body type, activity level and the weather of their location to determine their optimal hydration level. It connects to phones, health platforms and wearable devices, and fits all wide-mouth water bottles, including Camelbaks, Hydroflasks and Nalgenes (although it comes with a stainless steel bottle of its own). Trago also offers a personalized app that connects to the cap, allowing users access to hydration science alongside their own real-time stats. And let’s not forget the environmental impact this product will provide: Trago encourages its users not to buy plastic bottles.
The Trago cap is already making great strides in the hydration industry, even before the product has been launched. And orders are coming in strong, with thousands of completed purchases already. But success certainly hasn’t been handed to the pair. Jac and Davis have devoted more than a year to both gaining exposure for Trago and engineering a completely new product, and not without true challenges.
“They say hardware is hard, and it’s true,” says Jac. “Designing and engineering a product is really difficult. We’re working to ensure we create a high-quality product. It’s always a challenge to start a business and align all the different resources and people you need to make it happen.”
The team has a deep appreciation for the people who’ve helped them get this far. The majority of their days is spent emailing and calling customers and potential investors. They credit a lot of Trago’s success so far to the guidance and support they’ve received from advisors, mentors, partnerships, and customers.
So what do these young entrepreneurs suggest for other entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
“Try to really think hard about the market you’re going after,” Jac advises, “Solve a problem where there’s a real need, and think big.”
Over the next six months, Trago plans to have launched their water bottle cap, and will be working to optimize and refine the product based on the feedback they receive. In the long-term, the brothers hope to be serving multiple markets, from athletics to the military to the medical field. They plan to show the world that there’s a better way to hydrate than drinking sugary sports drinks, and that Trago is the best alternative.
As for general success, the brothers define it in broader terms.
“Success is staying healthy and surrounding ourselves with positive influences,” Jac says. “We also want to impact people’s lives in a positive way.”
Best of luck to the Saltzgivers in hydrating the world, one water bottle at a time.
If you could invent one product to better your everyday life, what would it be?