York student’s business sets sights on health tech giants

A third year PPE student has received over £130 000 of investment in his bid to launch hydration tracking innovation ‘thirsti Puck’ – and has already pre-sold 2000 units to a UK-wide distributor.

Phil Daneshyar, who set up his business named ‘thirsti’ during his first year of university, has designed his product to help people drink more water. Using patented pressure sensing technology, the thirsti Puck goes inside your water bottle, connects to the thirsti app and tracks how much you drink throughout the day.

The Puck “aims to take on wearables giants such as Fibit and Apple”, and works out when you are likely to become dehydrated before reminding you to drink by glowing in your bottle, or by sending a notification to your phone. It will launch on 15 May with outdoorGB.com and retail for £39.95.

“I used to feel sluggish and tired all the time and in my second term at York, I realised that I never drank water, or at least I did so very rarely.” Daneshyar commented. “Over 90 per cent of people in the UK do not drink the recommended amount of water that they should, meaning most of us spend our days chronically dehydrated.”

When asked what it has been like managing his degree and business simultaneously, Daneshyar summed it up as “intense”: “I think anyone who has ever run a business alongside his or her studies will testify to how time-consuming and stressful it can be. However, the challenge has been fun and has brought about new opportunities, which I would never have found had I not started thirsti, so it is worth it.

“You have nothing to lose [with starting a business] while you’re at university and there are so many opportunities here, from funding to mentorship. If you have an idea, pursue it, it could lead to really great things for you in the future.”

Alongside a range of courses and workshops, the University runs an annual ‘York Business Challenge’ for entrepreneurs to win funding for their business ideas – from which Daneshyar secured the first prize of £2000 last year for thirsti.

The University also offers a ‘summer accelerator’ course for young enterpreneurs, which offers workspace and a living allowance for successful applicants. The deadline for applying is 14 May.

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