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Brita acquires smart water bottle startup Larq

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Brita, the filtration giant, announced this week that Larq, a maker of smart water bottles and filtration systems has acquired it. Brita GmbH is the German company founded 1966 that spun off its North/South American division in 1988 and sold it to Clorox.

Brita GmbH continues to use the Brita name in other parts of the world. However, it is not allowed to sell products under the Brita name in America. Among other things, this acquisition provides the corporation a clear reentry point into the former market under an existing — if not widely known — brand.

Larq is a Bay Area-based company founded in late 2017. It is best known for their line of smart water bottle, which uses a UV light integrated into the cap to reduce bacteria that accumulates in the dark, moist object. The company has since expanded to a water pitcher, which combines the UV light with a standard water filtration more in line with what we’ve come to expect from Brita.

“They wanted to expand back into North America on their B2C side,”Larq CEO and founder Justin Wang tells TechCrunch. “Larq provided a natural extension of that, geographically. But also, from a premiumization and digital transformation perspective, that business is traditionally 70-80% offline. They’re in the process of doing a major digital transformation and we’re exactly the opposite. Seventy to 80% is online for us.”

Larq’s retail footprint is modest, with its product available in ~1,000 brick and mortar stores. Brita GmbH, which currently has no presence in the U.S. but has a huge reach on the international market, has the retail expertise to get its foot in the front door. Larq will be in charge of online sales.

Brita U.S. (Clorox) will remain the elephant in this specific room for the foreseeable future, but the company’s one-time parent is gearing up for an interesting battle — one in which it can’t use its own ubiquitous name.

WangHowever, both Larq as well as its new parent believe that innovation is the edge.

“I think Clorox fundamentally runs that business more as a cash cow,”He says. “That’s what they do. Clorox acquires businesses, expands their footprint on store shelves and they squeeze every dollar they can out of it. Germany has depended more on innovating filters and their business models.”

Larq will continue to offer its current product line, but also look to expand it in a way that combines its technology with Brita. This will likely involve a continued emphasis on things such as app connectivity and hydration tracker.

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Original content by “Brita acquires smart water bottles startup, Larq”.

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