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Helioz founder Martin Wesian: "It's always worth trying, failure is only an alternative"

Martin Wesian was born and raised in Vorarlberg. He was lucky enough to earn his first professional spurs with a very successful start-up. Its growth from zero to 40 percent market share was a very interesting and formative time for Wesian, which made it clear what a committed team can achieve. In the years that followed, Wesian was able to experience the difference between rich and poor in South America and Asia as a backpacker, restaurant operator and diving instructor. In the end he worked for several years in Vienna in the arts and culture.

With Helioz, Wesian is now trying to close the discrepancy between rich and poor, at least on a small scale. The Wadi UV measuring device, which helps with the reprocessing of drinking water in India and Uganda, among others, was tested positive by the WHO this week ( reported).

What is your passion?

Change, improvement, change. The status quo is usually unacceptable or at least in need of improvement.

When did you discover the ideas for Helioz for yourself?

The germ for this was probably planted in South America through my illness with cholera. I lost over 15 kg in 2 weeks, which as a well-fed European I was able to put up with relatively well. When children lose 20% of their weight, things are very different. What was decisive was that while I was suffering from cholera, I was able to get access to medical care that my local friends couldn't. It was only then that I really became aware of the discrepancy between the local population and my privileged access as a European. The advantage of my place of birth alone gave me opportunities that the local people were denied.

Why this project?

It simply cannot be that in our high-tech world the poorest of the poor are still dying from polluted water. More children die from water-borne diarrhea than from malaria, AIDS and measles combined. An incredible 2,000 children a day. While huge sums of money are being invested in solving malaria and AIDS, there is little innovation for easily avoidable infections caused by water. Therefore: Traditional solutions such as boiling, chlorine and filters have not been able to change the problem for the better in the last 50 years and they also do not match people's needs and possibilities. A new, disruptive solution is necessary.

Where do you find the space to live out your passion?

In conversations, in my head, in exchange with the team and in our projects.

What do you do without in order to be able to live out your passion?

Unfortunately, reducing leisure time, social contacts, sports and culture is part of living out such a passion. A fate that is probably known to most of the founders, regardless of the type of start-up. Personal commitment is necessary, but it is also fun and can also be fulfilling.

What is the best thing about your job?

I experience the best moments during my stays in our destination countries. The exchange with the people in Africa or Asia and their problems, but also, above all, their wisdom and zest for life are always impressive.

Who are your most important and strongest supporters?

Not necessarily in this order or alternating: son, team, investors, customers, friends.

Who will build you up if it doesn't work out that way?

The best way to switch off is when I'm out and about with my three-year-old, as my everyday problems don't interest him. He is concerned with discovering his world - and he takes me on a journey of discovery every time.

Where will your work take you?

It remains to be seen where this work will take me personally. Either I end up as a social case, or as an employee of a very cool company that takes on the world's most pressing problems and develops affordable solutions for them.

Much more interesting, however, is the question of where will Helioz's work lead?

Helioz is already perceived in the industry as a know-how carrier and an important player. Now it is important to convert the whole thing into an economically well-functioning model in order to be able to support participation in the international discourse financially.

What would you do if Helioz didn't exist?

I would probably have continued my previous work in art and culture management, but interrupted by assignments in the field of development cooperation. In 2010 I had a weekend in which I had to decide whether to found Helioz or to do a mission for Doctors Without Borders. The latter would have excited me a lot and would have given me a lot of know-how in general and for today's work. After a weekend with little sleep, it became Helioz

Are there certain topics that are of particular interest to you?

Politics, social injustice, art and culture.

How do you manage to get people excited about your passion again and again?

No idea! I also don't know whether I can inspire or whether it is the wadi. I reflect and present my experiences as well as my deep conviction that a better world is possible. But the main thing is that it inspires and moves things forward.

What do your friends, your environment, your family actually say about this commitment?

Super; Find a good job; Keep it up; Why do you never have time

Do you have any tips for our readers?

Whether I can give the readers tips is an open question, but I learned two things from Helioz:

1. We in Central Europe in particular should be more aware of the privileged environment in which we were born. The fear of a worsening of our life situation should not drive us, but the improvement of the life situation of others should be our goal.

2. I believe that everyone can be or already is a founder. Who has not been annoyed about products, solutions or services because they were impractical or simply missing? The only step in founding is to believe in yourself and to establish the better or new solution. It is always worth trying; failure is only an alternative.

Do you have a wish?

In general, it would be nice to see if the focus on one's own advantage were not in the foreground, as it is usually only possible at the expense of others. Kant put it most aptly: “Act only according to the maxim by which you can at the same time want it to become a general law”.

“Way to Passion” is a project by Reinhard Herok and Thomas Peham. Her goal is to use interviews to show how passionate people can contribute to a better world. "Way to Passion" provides with selected content for secondary publication, thank you very much!