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Startup behind ‘WaterCube,’ aimed at water scarcity, picks Tampa for HQ

·3 min read

An environmental startup behind a device that purports to pull water out of thin air is moving its global headquarters to Tampa.

Genesis Systems on Tuesday announced its relocation from Kansas City to Tampa with the first public demonstration of its WaterCube, a machine designed to combat global water scarcity by generating water from the atmosphere, even in arid regions.

The company will officially launch sales of the product from Tampa via a distributor that’s priced early units at $650,000 apiece. Genesis Systems has a staff of about 20, which it aims to increase to 125 in the months to come. The company has already started hiring engineers and administrative staff.

Co-founder and chief operating officer David Stuckenberg said Tampa beat out other cities, including Tulsa, Okla. and Austin and San Antonio, Texas, due to Florida’s economic climate and proximity to Port Tampa Bay and, on the east coast, PortMiami.

“It came down to several things,” said Stuckenberg, a former Tampa Bay resident who said he once flew planes at MacDill Air Force Base. “One was the ability to move our products into the global market sat a low cost, that is very well supported here with access to two blue water ports, each going to a different direction of the hemisphere. (Also) the talent pool that’s available here that we’re going to hire as this company grows, and the lifestyle that’s going to support that talent, and the cost of living.”

The company has raised about $10 million in early funding, Stuckenberg said, but it’s targeting another round of fundraising in the $200 million range this fall or spring. The company has already attracted high-profile interest from the likes of Newt Gingrich, and Stuckenberg said the potential for manufacturing, military and emergency usage is vast. In locales where water is more scarce, a WaterCube could produce water not only to drink, but for use in labs and factories.

“Everything has a water footprint,” he said. “As time goes on, companies with all kinds of products, from governments to commercial to the private sector, they all are looking at where they’re going to source sustainable water.”

The company also announced Tuesday that its products will soon be able to integrate carbon capture technology that’s “second to none in the world,” Stuckenberg said.

In a statement, Mayor Jane Castor called the relocation a win-win for the city, saying it bolstered Tampa’s manufacturing industry while also “solving real world challenges.”

“With sustainability and resilience as one of our city’s strategic goals, which includes improving water resiliency, I am extremely excited to welcome Genesis Systems to Tampa,” Castor said.

The company is operating out of a Tampa office with local investors, but Stuckenberg said it plans to find its own headquarters soon — most likely in Tampa, though it will look across the bay if it can’t find a facility that could house administrative, research and fabrication offices.

“It’s early, but the great news is we can certainly find what we need,” he said. “And if we can’t find it, we’ll build it.”