A cup of water and an idea. That is the foundation Anton Van Happen’s company, Eco Green Auto Clean, is built on. Anton, along with his business partner Dinesh Gauba, founded Eco Green in 2012. Anton’s main focus was to make the one-cup-of-water car wash a reality. Now available in 50 countries, the products not only save water, but are made of plant-derived ingredients and biodegradable.
Eco Green’s store and car wash facility are located in San Francisco. Each wash saves between 50 and 70 gallons of water, while offering a showroom shine. Anton is considered a drought buster. By creating this disruptive technology, his business has saved approximately eight million gallons of water since its inception. A partnership with automaker Tesla is on the horizon. Eco Green would provide exclusive, valet service at Tesla’s Supercharger stations.
When asked, has the drought been good for Eco Green, Anton answered, “For the environment no. For us it’s going really well.” Anton is concentrating his efforts on growing his company while providing an important solution to California’s 100-year drought.
Company Name: Eco Green Auto Clean
Hometown: Hong Kong
What early experiences in life, cultivated your entrepreneurial spirit?
I grew up in an entrepreneurial family. We were some of the first people to move to Hong Kong in the 1950’s and 60’s, to start manufacturing clothing, for U.S. and European brands. I was always around business, ever since I can remember. Once I was old enough to start doing business, I did not really think of anything other than starting my own companies and growing them.
Why did you start your business(es)?
I started Eco Green Auto Clean because, ever since I was young, I loved cars and loved to clean them. At the same time, I knew the future of business was to start greener, more environmentally-friendly companies. I hired a chemist to work with me, in order to create products that clean cars with only one cup of water. The end result: biodegradable products, a high quality finish on cars, and no more water run-off.
What entrepreneur has most inspired you?
What is the biggest obstacle you have overcome thus far in business?
The biggest and hardest obstacle is creating a product that is not the norm AND virtually trying to revolutionize an industry. Many people were skeptical and did not believe the company would be where it is today, similar to how Tesla started. We are facing the same barriers. However, once people open their minds, understand the products, and see the results, they are hooked!
What have you learned from failure?
To keep pushing even harder!
How does your leadership style foster your company’s culture?
I’m enthusiastic and have the drive to push through adversity. No matter what the situation, our employees have the same drive. They will not give up until the goal is reached.
What are your top 3 responsibilities as a leader?
- Lead operations and strategic direction
- Global product management
- Help the world become a greener and healthier place
What internal process do you use to guide your decision-making?
Management meetings – being up-to-date about everything going on, within the company, is key.
How do you define success?
Reaching the goal.
Which book has inspired you?
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
What do you think is the coolest technology out there, and why?
Tesla, because it is revolutionizing the car industry with electric cars and has started autonomous driving.
Bonus: Wildcard (Anything else we should know about)
Check out the video at the top of this post!