A nice, hot shower is something most of us experience daily, but did you know approximately 100L of water is wasted for every 10 minutes of showering?
“We looked at how water is used within the residential home and 50% is used in the bathroom,” says RainStick Shower Co-founder & CEO, Alisha McFetridge. “We’ve seen some efficiency with toilet flushing, but we can’t say the same thing for showers, so that’s really where we started.”
These facts, along with increasing drought levels in water basins throughout Canada, were the impetus for Alisha and Sean McFetridge—who both grew up in the Okanagan—to launch RainStick, North America’s first circular shower that saves up to 80% of the water and energy typically used, while still providing a nice flow rate.
From development to market, the product was years in the making. Alisha’s background in international business and sustainability, including a master’s degree in climate change, and Sean’s background in engineering and energy conservation made the perfect match for developing the RainStick prototype, a cardboard version they created prior to officially launching the company in 2019.
With a small founder’s contribution, along with Alisha’s win in a pitch competition in 2020, the couple kickstarted the R&D for the company; today, they are raising an investment round for the business and geting set to grow their team, which currently includes nine full-time employees and several contractors. While the couple launched RainStick in Ontario, they made the decision to relocate back to Kelowna, closer to family, the mountains, and the markets they serve along the west coast.
“We plan on adding roots to our headquarters and growing our team right here in the Central Okanagan,” notes McFetridge, who had previously worked in the city’s tech industry at companies including Bananatag and Disney’s Club Penguin. “We are very proud to be in such a beautiful region and we are often educating folks on the opportunities that exist in Kelowna exists.”
To build awareness of the company, Alisha and Sean decided to showcase at the Consumer Electronic Show 2022 in Las Vegas—out of 1,800 international companies, RainStick ended up being awarded Best of Smart Home and Best of Innovation, garnering a lot of international interest. In early 2023, the company was selected, out of hundreds of international applications, as one of 11 cohort members— and the only member from Canada—for Imagine H2O, one of the world’s top accelerators working with early-stage water startups. RainStick Shower is also featured on TIME’s List of The Best Inventions for 2023, which features 200 groundbreaking inventions from around the world.
The next version of the RainStick Shower, specifically for more cost-conscious consumers, is already in the works. The company recently announced international partnerships in New Zealand and Australia and launched distributors in California. They have also been fielding substantial interest from parts of Europe. Decentralized water technology for other areas of the home is at the core of RainStick’s future developments, all of which will take place from the heart of the Central Okanagan.
“We are a water conservation company—we know there is lots we want to do in this space, particularly in the residential home,” says McFetridge. “A lot of our water and energy use can actually be controlled in a better way. Showering is just the beginning.”