This month, we had the pleasure of getting to know one of the newest members of our Creative and Digital community. Aquarate joined us in March this year so we spoke to CEO Rebecca Taylor to find out more about their innovative technology that is improving the lives of senior residents across the healthcare sector.
With a background in Product Design Engineering, Rebecca founded the company after personal experiences of caring for her grandmother. She started to wonder how other people ensured that those they care for are getting enough food and water. From there, the idea for a cup that accurately monitors hydration and is integrated into existing care systems was born.
Five years later, Aquarate is supplying care organisations across the UK with their remarkable technology.
Thanks for speaking with us, Rebecca! First of all, can you tell us about Aquarate and Hydracare?
At Aquarate, we’re empowering care professionals with accurate and automated fluid data to enable healthy hydrated individuals. The Hydracup is a smart mug that records mL by mL what an individual has drunk throughout their day. Through the Hydratrack software, carers can proactively monitor any changes or needs against dehydration.
Where did the idea come from?
The idea started whilst I was studying design and caring for my Gran at a distance. I noticed dehydration was causing all sorts of confusion, falls and discomfort. I talked to doctors about the issue and saw that, not only is dehydration linked to kidney problems, but elderly people are needlessly dying from dehydration in hospitals. This was enough for me to develop the technology.
So why are elderly people and care home residents more at risk of dehydration?
Hydration is fundamental to all of us but when we are elderly it becomes paramount to get the right level of fluids. With ageing, our kidney function decreases and muscle mass drops which reduces water stored in muscle. OIder people are also more likely to have difficulty remembering to drink, accessing drinks and swallowing. On top of this, when you’re in care it becomes another person’s responsibility to make sure you are consuming fluids.
This technology seems to be making a really positive impact. What feedback have you received from the care homes and hospitals you work with?
We’re blown away by the market’s response! Even after COVID-19 the market is still in need of an integrated hydration solution. We’ve had feedback from Mike Fisher, CCIO and Cardio Consultant at Liverpool Royal, who acts as Clinical Consultant for Aquarate. He said that this 21st-century technology is improving the quality of their care by solving a very old patient safety problem. Tim Brookes, who is Telehealth Project Manager at Wirral Health & Care Commissioning also pinpointed the digital solution we provide for the benefit of the user and care provider.
You recently shared on International Women’s Day that only 19% of the tech workforce are women. What do you think would encourage young women and girls into STEM careers?
When I was little, I was fascinated by how my toys were put together and would feel every texture. All children need to be encouraged to follow what they naturally love to do rather than sectioned by gender stereotypes. It’s important more female mentors share their experiences so young girls have access to positive female role models in this space.
Absolutely. And what would be your advice to a young person looking to start their own business?
Get a one-page business plan together – I’d recommend Lean Canvas. Getting ideas from potential customers is the most valuable part. As well as finding someone who’s done something similar before to mentor you. Then go for it!
You’ve fundraised for Liverpool Cares in the past. We love to see organisations in our community collaborating! What was it about their mission which aligned closely with your own?
Yes, we loved this! Our team walked 500 miles in February to raise money for Liverpool Cares. They tackle loneliness and isolation across our city, by bringing older and younger neighbours together. Part of our values at Aquarate involve giving back to the healthcare community, whilst providing unconditional care.
They’re a great organisation to work with. How are you finding being part of the Baltic Creative community so far?
It’s great here and we have the space we need to grow further. We’ve been so welcomed by companies close by and we look forward to getting to know you all better.
You too! Finally, what does 2022 look like for Aquarate? Do you have any exciting plans you can share?
2022 is a big year for us! We’ll get our hands on large volumes of stock to fulfil our customer waiting list and we expect our team to grow to twelve by the end of the year!
Aquarate is based in the studios at 16 Jordan Street. You can find out more on their website and don’t forget to follow on social media at the links below.