Eric Roy founded Hydroviv in his Washington, D.C., studio apartment, designing water filters capable of handling Flint, Michigan’s high lead levels and sending them to the community for free during the height of its crisis.

Lisbon native Eric Roy, the founder of Hydroviv, pitches his product on an upcoming “Shark Tank.” The episode airs Sunday on ABC. ABC/Eric McCandless

Today, the company has eight employees nicknamed “water nerds.” Roy is eager to grow — and that’s where the Sharks come in.

The 37-year-old Lisbon native will be on ABC’s “Shark Tank” on Sunday.

After graduating from Lisbon High School in 2000, Roy studied chemistry at Colby College then pursued a doctorate at the University of Maine.

“The first company that I was a part of, we were looking at how to detect chemical weapons and pesticides in water,” he said. “I’ve been doing water for a while.”

He moved to Washington, D.C., about four years ago and watched the water contamination news in Flint from afar.


“The very early stages of that, it was complete chaos,” he said. “There were a lot of voices there, some were credible and many were not. I’m just kind of looking at this as a chemist and I’m like, ‘This is going to go poorly.’ I think as scientists, we kind of have a moral obligation to step in and lend a credible voice when there’s stuff that we actually know about.”

Flint’s lead levels were so high, he said, consumer-grade filters had “never actually been tested against those.”

“I was able to build some prototype cartridges, get them tested, and once they were validated, I was able to go to a contract manufacturer to actually have them produced,” Roy said.

He sent more than 1,000 filters for free to Flint, and, over the next two years, shifted the venture to a business specializing in building filters specific to costumers’ own water sources.

As explained on Hydroviv’s website: “Our nerds examine your water’s data,” then, “Our nerds build and ship your custom system.”

Eric Roy waits to hear from the Sharks. (ABC/Eric McCandless) ABC

Roy emailed the “Shark Tank” show last year with the twin goals of raising water quality awareness and expanding Hydroviv’s visibility.


“For a consumer product, ‘Shark Tank’ just has this reach that you can’t do anywhere else, so it’s like you’ve got to try,” he said.

Entrepreneurs who walk away with an offer from one of the show’s five investor “sharks,” “get exposure, you get a business partner, you get all this other stuff and you get investment — it’s like this little pressure cooker for a business to make magic happen,” said Roy. “It’s really an incredible opportunity.”

The episode with him and Hydroviv airs Sunday at 10 p.m. on ABC.

He’s heard through his parents, George and Judy Roy, that “Lisbon is buzzing” about the upcoming appearance.

In a short episode clip released by ABC this week, Roy ends an enthusiastic pitch with, “Who wants to be the next water nerd?”

He’s sworn to secrecy about the outcome, but he said it was a great, if crazy, experience.

“I don’t typically get shaken too hard, (but) when you walk out there on the carpet, you are 15 feet away from five giant TV personalities who have never heard of you,” he said. “It was just so intense, but I’d do it again tomorrow, in a heartbeat.”

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