RainStick raises 1M to further quest for smarter showers

Vancouver’s Red Thread Ventures led the raise in the Kelowna-based company

Upon the connection of our Zoom call, Alisha McFetridge selflessly asked me how my week was going. I shared the mundane trials and tribulations of my last few days before lobbing the same question back her way. I had expected a nod to the company she co-founded, RainStick Shower, raising $1 million in funding. Instead, she presented me with an additional accomplishment. “I actually just finished my master's program. I did my final exam yesterday. It's in climate change so very applicable to RainStick,” she shared.

This was an impressive and unexpected update but, with all due respect to McFetridge’s academic accomplishments, the news of the day is the influx of cash and the growth of her company. RainStick is a water recirculating system that saves 80% water and 80% energy compared to the shower you used this morning. Yet, their system still acts as a high-pressure shower. “Gone are the days of shampoo barely washing out of your hair because you compromised on low flow,” they promise. Additionally, RainStick is a WiFi-enabled smart shower that comes with an app. Users can input personal preferences such as water temperature, ask Alexa to turn on their shower and to track water and energy usage in real time. 

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McFetridge, who was born in Vancouver but grew up in the Okanagan region of BC, cites a geographical inspiration. “A lot of people don't realize, but the Okanagan is a desert. So, water conservation was always something that we thought about in the summertime. The rain would stop, the temperature would rise and forest fire season would start. It was something, certainly, that was on my mind. I always loved hot showers. Because for me, it was a time to relax and de-stress from the day. But at the same time, I always felt incredibly guilty about it. And I wanted to do something more,” she recalled. 

That “more,” of course, was starting RainStick, the company she co-founded with her husband, Sean, in 2019. Fast forward to today and the company has raised $1 million and plans to go to market in early 2022. The funding was led by Red Thread Ventures, a Vancouver-based venture capital outfit that provides capital, sure, but also management and advisory support to ensure early stage ventures scale sustainably. Red Thread Ventures oversees a pair of investment funds, of which the VCC (Venture Capital Corporation) fund—exclusive to BC-based companies—was tapped into.

For Mark Mitchell, principal and director of Red Thread Ventures, even a first meeting with the RainStick founders had him interested, highlighting “their experience in the industry and their familiarity with the problem from an engineering and societal perspective” to Vancouver Tech Journal. “That’s a recipe that I really like for investing in early stage companies,” he continued. 

For McFetridge, the feeling was mutual. Her experience in this process also exemplifies the ethos of Red Thread Ventures. “Through that initial conversation, I said that ‘I'd be interested in getting to know you guys.’ That's really how the conversation started. Mark actually ended up not only personally investing, not only getting Red Thread Ventures to invest, but he also really helped kick off our raise to support that process. I very much look at Mark and the Red Thread team for that support.”

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