Alternative is excited to have San Francisco based entrepreneur Mike Del Ponte as the grants ambassador for the second installment of our Alternative Grants program. Between his experience as the founder of Soma and the social-entrepreneur nonprofit Sparkseed, Del Ponte has an impressive history in supporting and realizing innovative projects. For Del Ponte: “The best ideas are those that are not intuitive or expected and create new solutions to emerging problems and challenges.”
Two years ago during a dinner party at his home Mike had a frustrating mishap with a Brita water filter and was inspired to make a water filter that was uniquely crafted, elegantly styled and impressively simple to use and maintain for his customers. What he and his partners came up with was Soma, “the smart sustainable beautiful water filter,” comprised of a sleek glass carafe that uses home delivered and compostable filters. Leaving no angle unexplored with each purchase of a Soma water filter part of the profits go to provide safe drinking water for those in need through the nonprofit Charity Water.
Mike on the Grants program: “I am really excited about the opportunity to mentor those who are still in the idea phase to ultimately help them write and then build their ideas into reality, which is what I was doing at Sparkseed.” Incubating, refining and building what would ultimately become the Soma water filter was a trying and rewarding process for Del Ponte and his team, but it makes him uniquely qualified to offer valuable insight for the Alternative Grants awardee and the prospective candidates.
Del Ponte is partnering with Alternative Grants in awarding a one-year membership at TechShop San Francisco residency classes and $1000 to support the creation of a product prototype to an initiative in the field of sustainability in design and technology. To learn more and apply for the grant click here.
With a successful Los Angeles based first Alternative Grant award, Alternative is thrilled to be growing their program with an introduction into the San Francisco community. Mike Del Ponte’s intimate knowledge of the city and its needs makes him the perfect person to make the second Alternative Grants initiative hugely successful and deeply meaningful.
Written by A. Will Brown