Andy Chou: Making Zero-waste and Sustainability Not a “Pain in the Ass”

June 6, 2022

Drinkfill exists to make zero-waste and sustainability not a “pain in the ass”. We envision a future where the green lifestyle is convenient, affordable, and most importantly desirable. To achieve that, we are building smart refill stations that goes into apartments, grocery stores, and other high traffic locations. With these, customers can refill their existing containers with liquid products such as beverages or cleaning products.

Tell us about yourself?

During college, I thought I wanted to be a management consultant but after landing in the industry I quickly recognized that world wasn’t for me. I then went back to Taiwan to work for the family business and saw the hustle required to really grow a company. Though I was young and a bit naive, it gave me a sense of purpose to create something from nothing through my own hard work. In 2012, I started my first venture helping companies gamify their charitable giving. My everyday life, however, was surrounded by the pains of how difficult it was to live sustainably – and no being green is not just recycling. Few years later, with a friend, I started Soaptand which is our cleaning product arm, and a year after that, Drinkfill was created.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Don’t rush and take a pause. Don’t be afraid to re-evaluate because the road is long.

What problem does your business solve?

Living green is a hassle. It requires a lot more time, a lot more money, and typically less desirable than conventional alternatives.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

I was already recycling but reduce and reuse was challenging. Despite all my will to live more green, my schedule did not allow myself to pursue zero-waste. We wanted to create something that anyone could use, even if they didn’t care about sustainability.

What is your magic sauce?

We are people first and culture first. I truly believe every single advantage and differentiating factor can be either copied or defeated in time. By investing in our team, we can be adaptive and create new magic sauces. Through this, our team identified the key advantage we need to develop is great product development and being able to get a simple yet attractive product to market. We are most cost effective than anyone and have features that are designed in conjunction with our customers.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

Immediate goal is to (1) scale Soapstand with our channel partners in Canada and United States, and (2) restart our beverage arm as that was pause during COVID. Within five years want to capture key geographical markets and build select cities to be circular in zero-waste. We believe through key products (e.g. Soapstand and Drinkfill), we can be a dominating force with tens of thousands of stations.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

Due to COVID, we had to temporarily shut down our beverage stations. We had great traction and was about to raise money to scale our system continent wide.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

Visit one of our stations, which you can see where on social media – instagram: soapstandco and vour website – www.soapstand.com

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