Tara Lujan, Co-founder, HydroTek
By Oliva Evans
“Being a goalkeeper, things get chaotic. I tend to always focus back to the core on simple things I can control and do right,” says Tara Lujan as she reflects on her time playing soccer. A former collegiate and semi-professional athlete, Tara is the co-founder of HydroTek, a startup focused on personalizing and simplifying the science and technology behind hydration.
In May, Tara will graduate from Trinity University with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and a concentration in management. This 22-year-old entrepreneur has spent the last two years juggling her life as a student and startup founder.
Tara’s journey into the tech startup world began in 2019 when she observed that she and many of her teammates were complaining about being dehydrated.
“I thought, ‘Why are we as athletes struggling to stay hydrated?'” shared Tara. “This is something we should be good at.”
Her initial idea was to develop a smart water bottle that could track how much water a person consumed, but it wasn’t until she met her co-founder, Zach Taylor, that the idea evolved into what is now HydroTek’s first product, the Sapphire Smart Lid. The lid they are developing replaces the user’s original water bottle lid and links to an app that tracks consumption, unlocking improved performance and daily health.
Tara and Zach entered Trinity University’s Louis H. Stumberg Venture Competition in 2020, where they earned first place, a $25,000 prize, and the validation to take their startup to the next level. They continued their startup journey at Geekdom, a collaborative startup community in the heart of downtown San Antonio.
“HydroTek has become more of a software company,” Tara explained. “We are working to incorporate health metrics, kind of get a whole look into a person’s habits, and then recommend how much water they should be drinking in a day.”
While Tara originally sought to solve the problem of hydration for athletes, she believes this technology can help a greater audience of consumers.
“If we can build the product right, build the software right, we can make it versatile to help a wide range of people. That was my aha moment. This is not a single product for a single problem. There are many more applications beyond our original idea.”
Tara and her team are currently working to develop the software behind the Sapphire Smart Lid, conducting research and development to test their product design and understand consumer needs. As Tara looks to the future of HydroTek, she is ready to adapt and meet the evolving needs of her company.
“Since we’re so early in a startup, in three years, we could be in a completely different place. I want to grow and meet the demands of HydroTek. If that means I must pick up a new specialized skill or learn a new area that I’m unfamiliar with, I can start now so that I’m ready when HydroTek needs me to deliver.”
Tara is also interested and invested in giving back to the tech startup community.
“After winning Stumberg, I told myself I am now in the position to give back and help raise others to that level. I always use my achievements and accomplishments as an opportunity to help others, especially since I know that the significant things I achieved, I didn’t do alone.”
As a startup founder, Tara is prepared to face the ever-changing landscape of science and technology and take on every new and chaotic challenge that comes her way.
“I find when I get flustered, or I don’t know what the right next step is, I break it down into simple tasks. Small wins come from achieving those tiny simple tasks.”
It’s the same process she used when making calls on the soccer field as the goalkeeper. It’s the same process when understanding how to navigate the day-to-day challenges and triumphs of startup life. It’s taking the chaos of science and technology and presenting it to the consumer, giving them the tools to simply drink water. It’s simply hydration by HydroTek.
If you would like to be the first to use HydroTek’s product or would like to follow along on their journey, sign up on their email list to be notified of their launch this summer at hydrotek.io