Geyser Systems: Making the Most of Every Drop of Water

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Jonathan Ballesteros had spent the past 12 years designing surgical instruments when he decided to “do a lap” as they call it in Australia. So, in 2016, the engineer set out on what was designed to be a one-year-long grand Australian adventure living out of the back of a van, trail running, spearfishing, and exploring. What he soon discovered was that, while he never struggled to find food, fuel, or propane, he was constantly running out of water and was desperate for a hot shower. This propelled him to pose the question, “how do I make the most of every drop of water?” This mantra soon became an obsession and, after spending some time prototyping in someone’s barn, Ballesteros had developed a compact heated portable shower that uses 10 times less water than more traditional solutions while also freeing up space in his van for other gear and additional people. This was a game-changer not just for himself and other outdoor enthusiasts, but potentially for people battling water scarcity around the world. Ballesteros had a mission and returned to the US to make his dream a reality.

Originally from Houston and having lived all over the world, Ballesteros needed to find a home base and was intrigued by an accelerator program in Gunnison, Colorado geared specifically toward supporting the outdoor industry and attracting companies to the Western Slope. He was selected as one of three companies to go through the program that year and, through the process, not only was Geyser Systems born but he was also introduced to the extensive ecosystem throughout the state of Colorado working to support and scale local businesses. In addition to working with his local PTAC and receiving financial support from Region 9 and 10 banks and the Colorado Lending Source, it was through the Montrose Economic Development’s Executive Director Sandy Head that Ballesteros was first introduced to Manufacturer’s Edge.

At that point, Geyser Systems was at a crossroads. The business was growing, and they knew they needed to systemize different parts of the organization. And, while they were well acquainted with how that translated to the manufacturing floor, they needed some assistance applying it to other aspects of the company. The team from Manufacturer’s Edge suggested that Ballesteros and his team complete the Business Health Assessment (BHA), which consists of a 47-question survey completed anonymously by various stakeholders throughout the organization followed by a 90-minute exploration of the results and next steps. It was through the BHA process that Geyser was able to gain an outside perspective and some insight on next steps, especially in terms of where to invest time and money moving forward in order to achieve the greatest impact.

“(The BHA) gave us a 30,000-foot view of our business that, for someone who has been in it day in and day out, was just not in my field of view,” said Ballesteros. “Additionally, it was really important too that I got the perspective of my team. As a business grows, the leader of the business only gets 10% of the information as to what is really happening. So, it was really valuable for me to understand what my crew thought about our business from those different angles. That was a very big eye-opener.”

Today, Geyser Systems is scaling rapidly in both breadth and depth. Not only are they extremely competitive in the remote camping and overlanding markets, but they are also bringing their technology to firefighters, remote villages in Mexico, and much more.

“The success that we have had so far is because we are directly solving important problems that very much need to be solved in this space,” said Ballesteros. “We want to be a shining star for the growing movement that wants to tackle environmental issues and so we will collect around us and also establish a brand that directly addresses the water drought and scarcity concerns that are on the forefront of people’s minds. However, we don’t want to do it just for environmental sake. We really want to do it because people genuinely love our products, it enhances their personal experience, it solves a problem that they really needed to have solved and it does it in a creative sustainable way that makes it not just a one-time purchase but is their go-to way of getting themselves clean.”

There is a very cohesive community in Colorado for business to thrive; that means the whole ecosystem. Your universities, your investors, all the different players who are critical for a company to thrive. I was really surprised how much people work together and how is easy it is to have constructive conversations that add real operational value.

— Jonathan Ballesteros, Founder & CEO, Geyser Systems