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Everybody Poops

by Tricia Whitlock

Knowing exactly where a bathroom is right now makes you among the world’s privileged half that has continual access to a toilet. 2.6 billion people in the world today do not have access to basic sanitation needs, costing the world over $260 billion but, more importantly over 1 million children’s lives every year.

A team of humanitarian designers and engineers from Georgia Tech have designed SafiChoo, an inexpensive, mobile sanitation solution intended to reduce oral-fecal contamination and the spread of  diseases. SafiChoo meets global needs by allowing users to sit an squat while also separating waste via urine diversions and filtration.

SafiChoo has the potential to save millions of lives by bringing innovation to sanitation. We caught up with the awesome GT ladies that are making it a reality. 

Jasmine Burton, Becky Byler, Brandie Banner, and Erin Cobb

SafiChoo, LLC derived from an interdisciplinary senior design capstone course that Jasmine, Becky, Brandie and Erin took last fall at Georgia Tech. With most of us as Atlanta natives that know about the myriad of start up and business related resources in the city, it made the most sense to be located here.

Jasmine Burton, Becky Byler, Brandie Banner, and Erin Cobb are based in the United States (Atlanta, specifically) as we finish our collegiate careers at Georgia Tech. We are the founders, owners and main employees of SafiChoo, LLC. We have also recently employed Dickson Ochieng, who is a Kenyan native that has helped us pilot and test our toilet solution in Naivasha, Kenya.

We are a team of 4 women with 2 industrial designers (Jasmine and Erin), 1 biomedical engineer, and 1 civil engineer. We recently won People’s Choice and First Place in the 2014 Georgia Tech InVenture Prize competition where we received $25,000 in funding, a patent, and direct admission into FlashPoint Start Up accelerator program. Additionally, we won Best Pitch and Best Poster (awarded by Hypopotamus) at the 2014 Georgia Tech Ideas to Serve Competition. From this momentum, we have been able to apply for LLC status and thus officially becoming a Start Up in April 2014. Subsequently, we have been chosen as one of the 2014 Celebrating Entrepreneurship – StartUps to Watch Award Recipients by the Metro Atlanta Chamber.

Check out their winning pitch from InVenture. (Skip to 34:30)

Check back tomorrow for part 2 to learn about their funding status, prices, and what their customers get. 


[Photo Credit: Safichoo]



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