Technology: Beyond the Bottle. Startup Uno Looks to Become ‘USB of Beverages’ to Curb Plastic Waste
Joins Entrepreneurial Rush to Capitalize on Solutions
February 21, 2020
Here’s what the entrepreneur Tal Shub imagines: A patron walks into a café holding a stylish, re-usable cup that includes a built-in lid and retractable straw. The consumer inserts their cup upside down into a port that resembles a shallow automobile cup holder. In seconds, the port disinfects the cup, straw and lid, washing away all signs of that morning’s coffee. The person then uses the port’s interface to order an iced green tea lemonade and refills the cup. Data from the port and an RFID chip in the cup are married for the café owner. Such a system will be pilot tested this year in one New York-area community by entrepreneur Tal Shub, co-founder of a startup called Uno (click for video). The company offers a window into a beverage frontier where entrepreneurs are leveraging consumer concern over plastic waste and looking beyond the bottle to create new commercial opportunities. While Uno is pre-revenue and won’t be profitable for five years, Shub estimates, entrepreneurial activity around plastic waste is instructive, as consumers are more willing than ever to embrace new paradigms that could one day challenge existing business models...