The term “Global Water Crisis" is scary and intimidating. From Netflix documentaries to National Geographic articles, the title of our future’s wicked problem is inescapable. Upon our research, we learned that virtual water, the water embodied in the production of products, accounts for 40% of global water consumption due to overproduction. Industries, over individuals, make up the majority of water consumption. Although feeling powerless, we realized that individuals have the power of choice. Our team plans to disrupt the beverage industry by encouraging consumers to treat each dollar as a vote towards products that do good, and work with businesses towards the future they want to see. Our brand, qlearly, aims to enable the next generation of mindful citizens through web-enabled QR codes found on the drinks of local, water-responsible beverage companies, placing power back in the hands of individuals.
What it does 📱
qlearly’s product is a QR code designed by qlearly and printed onto select beverage containers by partner businesses.
Users will buy these drinks, scan the code using their phone camera, and be brought to the qlearly web page where they enter their product number. The website will then show the amount of virtual water contained within the specific product, how that compares to the industry average, and the geographic location from which the water was consumed. This information is obtained through partnerships with the manufacturer and independent research. Next, the user is prompted to donate a percentage of their drink purchase to an initiative that contributes to water conservation or research. Once the user chooses an initiative, qlearly’s servers will receive a notification that this specific code has been used. The user will be presented with a summary of their donation order and a personalized, exciting tally of how much money they have donated over a lifetime using qlearly. This data can be stored and sent to qlearly using browser cookies, all adding up to continual enjoyment from qlearly-endorsed drinks.
From there, the user can choose an option to share their donation statistics with a personalized infographic which the user can share on Instagram Stories. This photo highlights the lifetime donations of the user and how it ranks compared to all other qlearly users on our server, encouraging users to improve and share their accomplishments, creating a conversation and community surrounding qlearly.
qlearly earns revenue by collecting commission on sales where the customer interacted with the code. We hope to create mutually beneficial relationships with our partner businesses: they gain an improved brand image and customer engagement, while qlearly gains recognition and generates revenue.
How we built it 🔨
qlearly’s web-app was first designed in Figma, a graphic design software. As a team, we laid out how the product would look and how it would be navigated. Since qlearly’s success depends on continued consumer interest, we focused on making a simple, easy-to-understand look, which also captivates attention using bright colours associated with value and water
The technical submission (web-app) was built in Webflow, primarily designed for mobile devices. The graphic designs which we made in Figma were also used in the web-app.
Challenges we ran into 🧐
The two main challenges we faced in this hackathon were precision and projection in our business plan and the difference in location between team mates.
We spent a lot of the time in the hackathon editing our pitch and researching specific business details. Projecting our financials was particularly tough: we scrutinized our details and tried to make our assumptions as feasible as possible.
Another big challenge for our team was the difference in location between members. Half of the team is located in British Columbia while the other half are in Manitoba and Ontario. The significant difference between time zones meant that our team had to work separately at times. This sometimes posed a challenge when it came to communication, sharing work, and making final decisions. Nonetheless, we are extremely proud, and happy with qlearly!
Accomplishments that we're proud of 💡
We are very proud of both our concept and our business research. We believe that qlearly could be highly disruptive to the beverage industry and push corporations to be more water responsible. During our hacking time, we focused on doing a ton of market analysis and financial projections in order to justify the feasibility of our idea in the real world. We believe that this is a very strong aspect of our video pitch that we are all proud of. Overall, our team felt that we did a great job in nailing the business details, and cementing our idea as something that could become a highly successful and impactful venture in the future.
What we learned 🧠
We each individually acquired our own new skills.
- Wesley (Grade 12) acquired more image manipulation skills, video editing knowledge and improved his vocabulary and clarity while writing the script for our video.
- Taylor (Grade 11) saw significant improvement in her writing and editing style, putting more of an emphasis on simplicity and concise communication. Taylor also was taught how to use Figma from her teammate Justin and is now feeling more confident using graphic design tools.
- Emma (Grade 11) learnt how to navigate team dynamics through flexibility and being open-minded when hearing each member’s ideas. She also learnt about the importance of business skills for a tech-based company. Sales projections, funding and conveying a company's message are key to a successful business pitch.
- Justin (Grade 12) learnt how to project financials, focus on target markets, and how to make seamless experiences in Webflow and Figma.
What's next for qlearly 📈
qlearly has a qlear plan on how it will achieve its business goals!
Within the first quarter of operations, qlearly will focus on building its web-app and developing its software. Our aim is to develop a minimally-viable product, rent server space, and bring our product to small businesses who may be interested.
After we have our minimally-viable product, we will go to local businesses in Atlantic Canada and pitch our brand and product. When we find an interested business who is looking to partner, we will work with them to get their product information on our web-app and our codes on their labels. We estimate the time it takes to find our first business and for our first codes to hit the shelves will be roughly 2 quarters.
Once consumers begin interacting with qlearly codes, our test marketing period begins! We will gather data on how many codes are scanned, how many donations are made, and more. Once enough information comes in, we will examine it and make improvements to our product and strategy. From there, we will continue to pitch to beverage companies and gauge customer reactions.
After several months of test marketing and making incremental improvements, we hope to expand to markets in Ontario and other Canadian provinces. We hope our success in Atlantic Canada will convince businesses of the potential of our brand. Entry into these larger markets will mean more sales and revenue for qlearly, fueling further expansion.
Far into the future, qlearly may look to expand outside of the beverage industry, and partner with businesses who make sustainable clothing, food, and more!
For more details on qlearly's business plan, visit our About page!