Estonian start-up Jomi Interactive reminds us to drink more water


Estonian start-up Jomi Interactive has developed a prototype product that will remind you to stay optimally hydrated throughout the day, and has already garnered the attention of CNN and others ahead of the planned product launch in the U.S. this autumn.

The is a physical device that can be attached around any water bottle, and it reminds the user when it's time to drink more water. Jomi Band syncs the data to the online dashboard and smartphone app via a Bluetooth 4.0 connection to record the user's water consumption statistics.

Andre Eistre, the founder and CEO of Jomi Interactive (the name unites two Estonian language words "joo" + "mind" = drink + me), says the idea came out of personal necessity. "I tried to follow the recommendations of my private coach to drink enough water, but I found myself constantly forgetting to do so. I could not find a suitable solution to help me with my problem, but I figured it could be solved by a bottle that would track my water consumption and send flash-signals whenever I would be falling behind from reaching my daily goals," Eistre says. Positive feedback from his friends encouraged Eistre to co-found the start-up with Kadri Uljas and take their idea to Estonia's leading entrepreneurial contest Ajujaht  (Brain Hunt), where it finally won second place.

The finals of Ajujaht
Picture: Kadri Uljas and Andre Esiter at Brain Hunt competition

During the intensive Ajujaht period, a detailed business plan started to emerge. The team received mentoring from some of Estonia's leading start-up experts and by the Estonian Investment Agency, the organizer of Brain Hunt, which provided the team with a personal mentor. As the contest progressed, the team had to constantly improve their business, marketing, and sales plans after each feedback session by the generously-criticizing jury, consisting of Estonia's leading entrepreneurs. For Jomi, the efforts eventually paid off, and the runner-up prize money of €10,000 was put to good use to continue working on the protoype.

The Product of Jomi
Picture: The product of Jomi

Although Jomi's product is still unfinished, the start-up has already received the kind of media coverage any company would be proud of. Jomi's water tracking solution has been featured on leading technology sites such as TechCrunch and Engadget, as well as mainstream channels and newswires such as CNN and AFP. "It all started when we pitched the idea of Jomi to a TechCrunch reporter who wrote the first article. From there on it spread like wildfire, and as of now we are aware of 70 references in more than eight languages," Eistre says. Articles from leading media channels have also helped Jomi in finding new business contacts. For example, in September the team is off to Paris by invitation from Danone's Research & Innovation division to discuss co-operation possibilities.

Eistre says that the team is currently busy working on finishing the prototype and the online platform, as well as getting ready for the upcoming campaign on Kickstarter, the world's largest crowdfunding platform. The aim of the campaign is to receive a critical quantity of orders to start mass production for the U.S. and other international markets. "A successful campaign will secure us not only broad media coverage, but it will help to create a sufficient network of sales channels," Eistre says. Risk assessment specialists also seem optimistic, with Business Insider and IMS Research indicating that by even modest projections, health-tracking will become a $12bn market by 2018.

Eistre says he hopes that other start-ups will continue to disrupt their respective industries, even though their ideas might sound a little crazy in the beginning — as was the case with Jomi. "The idea does not have to be liked by everyone at once, but as time passes you become more confident through sharing and receiving feedback on your idea. My recommendation is to talk, talk and talk, and not to be worried that someone will steal your idea," Eistre added.