Aquagenuinity - Reiterating the Land of Liberty
Martin Luther’s American Dream was for future generations to live with equal rights in a civilized and democratic society. Many Americans supported his vision, sadly though, the future generations overlooked the toxins in the water in black and poor societies. The question arises, is this the best of the American Dream?
Not to Doll Avant! Already coming as alumni from Harvard, Doll decided to seek water justice and tackle the problem American citizens saw as a failure of politics.
Aquagenuinity is a water transparency program that offers every citizen the opportunity to get access to real-time data. The information included in the program informs about every single toxin citizens can find in their drinking water, in simplified English. This allows users to look after their health, and seek their rights from the local authorities while providing hard evidence.
Doll Avant had to walk the walk before she founded Aquagenuinity. However, that's the price of entrepreneurship. Nothing good comes overnight, so without further ado let's jump into her story.
Leader in the Making
Doll Avant was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. Just like any other child, she was super curious about the world, but Doll was encouraged to believe in humanity. She was imbued with the activistic spirit as she was surrounded by leaders all the time. While she was a child, her family noticed that she has the gift of arts as she could hit some tunes, effortlessly. Her family brought her up to believe that everything is possible. So, her teenage life was as diverse as emotions change during that age. She was a singer, a songwriter, a performer, a model, and a straight shooter. Her role model was her father who worked for NASA, back in the nineties.
The good teenage years drift too fast, and adulthood hits with serious life questions like: “Where do you see yourself?”, next to which Doll determinedly replied - “Harvard!”.
Becoming a Harvardian
In 1995, Doll scored high on the SAT, passing the most serious life question at that point in life. She got admitted to the prestigious Ivy League college, Harvard. Her major was Economics, but she also deepened her knowledge of her native Afro-American history.
Harvard is easily translated to hard work, but Doll anticipated the obligations and assignments that she diligently returned with satisfying marks.
During her student days, Doll’s father got sick and moved to a small town. He easily got accustomed to the new environment, but somehow his health worsened, and he was diagnosed with diabetes. Later on, he got additional diseases that no one knew where all those health problems came from, at that point.
Sometime later, Doll ran into a water report from the town where her father lived. The content of the findings was not just shocking but also disturbing - the local drinking water contained arsenic! Imagine the revolt you would feel if you had found out the water your dearest drank was poisoned. That was something that shouldn’t be happening in the 21st century, and something had to be done, immediately. These findings were the tipping point that made Doll do something.
The Skeletons in the Government’s Closet
After the shocking findings, Doll dug into the regulatory body, EPA, that controlled the water quality of the US drinking water. The thing was that EPA was doing their job but limited only to their scope of research. Meaning, they didn't regulate the levels of chromium-6, one of the industrial toxins. After Doll found this loop in the water monitoring system, she was driven to check the water quality in all 50 states.
Soon after, America was shocked by the existence of lead in their drinking water. The fall after this big unveiling of truth, Doll went back to Harvard to become a professional data scientist. She was determined to find a solution, and ensure that the US citizens drink clean water. Doll found out that in more than 3,810 US towns, the existence of lead had been found in the drinking water, other than in Flint, Michigan. Yet, the more shocking and disturbing facts she found out were that the lead-poisoned towns were predominantly settled by middle to lower-class Afro-American citizens. Being an Afro-American herself, she knew she should start acting fast and help the people in need.
Her father encouraged her to be the voice of the voiceless and to fight until she sees justice. Unfortunately, he lost the battle with the illness and passed away from kidney failure related to poisonous water.
Just like in superhero stories, the main character losses the parents, and the plot thickens! Only, this story is based on true, and contemporary events.
Doll’s road toward the founding of the company wasn’t in a flat line. Her line started increasing the moment she had to compile and organize data. To provide real-time data, in an easily understandable language, one must create high-quality architecture not to fail the project.
Creating the architecture was the mountain Doll had to climb in the beginning. In the chaos of information, Doll surrounded herself with papers, computers, and her team crowding the table until they saw the light at the end of the tunnel. Essentially, Doll’s team had to develop a hyperlocal network of sensors that collected data on the ground in every country. To develop their idea, the team installed aqua hubs in schools and local governments as partners. The partners also regularly tested and monitored the water supply in their institutions by using Aquagenuinity.
But, had it been this easy to become an entrepreneur - everyone would have become one. Challenges don’t stop that easy. So, here comes the landing investor’s one.
After finalizing their program, Doll had to present her product to investors. That was a lesson she learned the hard way. Even if her project was something that startles you, still she had trouble landing her seed money. As a bottom line, she highly advises young entrepreneurs to maintain connections and cultivate relationships because one day, when you’ll need networking perks the most, not everyone would be familiar with you.
Entrepreneurship Is the Modern Form of Activism
In 2016, two weeks after her father's funeral, Doll started her own company. She and her team of professional data scientists fused their powers and created an app that showed real-time data on the drinking water in any community.
The problem of contaminated water was already out there, so Doll had to gather more data from the EPA, public utilities, and other research institutions and create the statistics. The rest was to start the company.
Doll’s team had to add another data layer that concerned the health and regulatory information. The last call to action was to add the algorithms and analytics to make Aquagenuinity data actionable.
Aquagenuity offers real-time data to every citizen in America regarding the drinking water in their hometown. The data presented doesn’t require citizens to be chemistry experts to understand the elements in the water because every toxin is explained in plain English. That way, they'd know what they consume every day, and Doll acts on it to prevent another Flint disaster from happening.
To access the data, citizens have to type in the zip code of where they live, and the data will pop up on the screen.
Going on a Global Mission
Aquagenuinity made a huge impact in America and helped many marginalized communities meet basic human needs. However, Doll’s mission doesn’t end there. She is determined to find justice with her Aquagenuinity on a global scale.
Doll has already begun collaborating with partners in the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and Africa to initiate the drinkable water problem in their hometowns. Thus, the process of installing sensor grids and communications networks to convey real-time data has begun already. The team is determined to spread water justice in towns that need it the most.
Today, Doll Avant runs Aquagenuity as the founder and CEO of the company. In terms of funding, Doll succeeded in landing Cerra Cap Ventures in the seed round, and Urban-X in the pre-seed round as leading backers of her company. With their help, Doll hired several people that helped her with the initial preparations of the data process.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Doll Avant starts her journey towards ensuring water justice.
Up to now, Aquagenuity has raised two rounds of funding. Their latest funding was raised on May 20, 2021, from the seed round.
Aquagenuity offers employment to almost 25 people, but essentially, the company increased the number of employees through a mission called H2O Guardians.
Currently, the company raised $5 million in total.
Before reaching many towns and citizens, Doll’s Aquagenuity had to ensure its place by standing hand in hand with some of the competitors like Knoema, MeteoGroup, and Meteomatics, among few others.
Even though Doll’s journey toward ensuring clean drinkable water for everyone included a lot of curves, ups, and downs, the strong woman in Doll didn’t give up. Making sure water poisoning never happens again, Doll is adamant to dig deep and bring justice to light.