Impact investing is experiencing phenomenal growth. The sector has doubled its size in the last two years, according to Global Impact Investing Network. Smart investors look for financially-viable businesses that have specific and measurable social and environmental outcome targets. One stand-out brand that impact investors are noticing is PATH, which is making sustainability accessible to the masses with the simple idea of a premium refillable bottled water that costs less than $3. PATH’s growth has been nothing short of phenomenal — going from 200 plus retailers in their first year of 2014 to now being in over 20,000 retail outlets spanning across eight countries. Additionally, PATH managed tomore than doubleits sales during the pandemic and increased retail availability by 233% over the past year.
A-list celebrity investors like Kevin Hart, Ryan Seacrest, Guy Fieri, Ninja Fortnite, Becky G, Sterling Brown, and Julia Michaels as well as athletes Frank Gore, Luke Voit, Vernon Davis, Sebastian Lletget, Mohamed Sanu, Jordan Clarkson, Kenny Clark Jr., Jayon Brown, and Baron Davis, among others, are putting their money and their mouth behind PATH. These investors are joining the company in leading the movement against single-use plastic bottles and offering consumers a sustainable and affordable alternative to a product that is used everyday.
“As someone who is constantly on-the-go and traveling, I was thrilled to finally come across a brand that is truly changing the way people drink water,” says Ryan Seacrest, Emmy Award-nominated television and radio personality and PATH investor. “Not only is PATH the coolest-looking bottled water I’ve seen, but the convenience, affordability and reusability all sealed the deal for me as an investor.”
Guy Fieri, an early investor in PATH, adds: “Our environment is being flooded with single use plastic bottles and I’m down to get us on the right path. The team at PATH was the first to introduce refillable and reusable aluminum water bottles and I’m proud to be a part of this mission to make a positive impact on our world.”
The type of involvement from their investors is deep-seated, as they are crusaders who truly want to create change with PATH, formerly called Pathwater. PATH has aligned with nearly every major industry to propel the movement against single-use plastic. More than 17 airports like San Francisco International Airport, over 300 K-12 schools, 50+ universities, more than 300 gyms like Orangetheory Fitness and nearly 100 hospitality groups like 1 Hotel have all made the switch from single-use plastic to PATH. The scale of PATH’s movement is monumental.
Who knew that a simple product would result in such massive impact? PATH co-founders Shadi Bakour, Amer Orabi and Ali Orabi did — and with that, disrupted the beverage industry and created a new movement to end single-use plastic bottles. They launched a product with three key features: the sustainability of an attractive reusable bottle, the convenience of bottled water and an affordable price of under $3.
Finding the right material for PATH’s packaging was top priority for the brand. While the allure of biodegradable materials for bottled water can help reduce the amount of time for packaging to disintegrate, the issue of overconsumption and over burdening landfills and oceans is still at play. Alternatively, PATH is helping consumers retrain the way they drink water by encouraging refilling instead of tossing in the landfill. And the drastically limited shelf-life of biodegradable PHA biopolymer bottled water might be good for the environment but not suitable for long-term use and emergency preparedness situations.
“Material like Tetrapak is deceiving since it’s even harder to recycle than plastic with all its layers,” said Amer Orabi, COO of PATH. “Aluminum is infinitely recyclable, lightweight yet sturdy, and affordable. Innovating the bottled water industry with aluminum packaging offered a solution to the single-use plastic crisis we’re facing.”
“Consumers are demanding sustainable change, and companies are already taking note,” said Shadi Bakour, CEO and co-founder of PATH. “Don’t be surprised to see five to 10 bottled water brands rolling out aluminum packaging in major retailers this year, but NOT ONE has the capabilities of refilling like PATH due to the exclusivity of our manufacturing partnership.”
With a desire to transform the future, the three entrepreneurs are determined to upend the historically profit-driven beverage industry and alter consumer habits. What sets PATH apart from competitors is the brand’s signature refillable aluminum bottle. At under $3 per bottle, PATH is essentially giving away the water for free. They want consumers to buy less product and focus on reusing.
This may seem contrary to most business models, however, “We don’t blame consumers for drinking out of plastic, that’s mainly what’s been available,” said Ali Orabi, CMO of PATH. “Our society as a whole has been brainwashed to think that it’s ok to drink a bottled beverage over a few mins then toss it out. The bottled water industry exists because of convenience and accessibility, but PATH is here to offer a better solution.”
Today’s smarter impact investors are seeing how PATH’s success is making changes from day to day. PATH is driving rapid growth over the next 18 months by bringing in new capital partners. The company is entertaining new capital partners to help scale the brand to new heights.