The Roskilde Festival startup making money out of urine

It started as a university project to ensure that the creators could get a ticket to the Roskilde Festival.  But after four yeas of development on a hobby basis at the festival, the project has now become a living.  Meet Peefence, the startup that makes mobile urinals.

The Roskilde Festival is a large annual music festival in Denmark that is notorious for hygiene, and where “urine dust” on hot summer days is known to infiltrate even remote festival areas.  Peefence aims to reduce the issue in a novel way – through mobile, flexible urinals.

“Urine Dust is decidedly harmful, and people get sick from it.  In addition, there is an environmental aspect to it, as it is bad for the soil if there is too much urine at once,” explains Frederik C.V. Hansen, co-founder and partner of Peefence.

Peefence is made of a plastic mat hung on festival fences by means of two strips.  The bottom corners of the mat are then folded up to form a trench in the bottom of the mat. Each is then connected to a piping system with a pump tha tflushes the urine away from the fence – and people’s noses.  Last year, the Peefence collected more than 40,000 liters of urine in a single subsection of the festival alone.

After four years of development at the Roskilde Festival, Peefence has become developed to become a true contender in the world of waste management.  In April of this year, it won both an IF Design Award and an A’design Award.

Peefence started as part of a formal collaboration between the DTU TechLab and the Roskilde Festival, where students from DTU solve various problems at the festival to make the experience better for visitors.

“In 2013 we had only one prototype, and there was not a pump system. Since then, it has grown so much that this year we have 400 units distributed throughout the festival. In the beginning we could even make them at home, but as we have delivered more every year, we now have to put them into production,” says Frederik.

Peefence has also developed their concept even further, by adding a bit of cheeky design to their product.  Among other things, they have tackled the problem of drunk festival goers poor aim.  “Come closer – it’s shorter than you think” is printed on Peefence to entice people to not miss the urinals.

“It’s about understanding the whole culture here, and creating a good experience around the product,” says Frederik.

The business model for Peefence is to rent urinals out.  The plastic mats are very mobile and inexpensive, which makes the product competitive.  At Roskilde, Peefence was able to deliver 400 toilets using only 2 trailers.

“We took early decision to get the product finished before we really started selling. Roskilde Festival has been a good platform to develop Peefence, ” Frederik.

The company now plans to get in touch with street events, flea markets, and festivals, and the founders need to plan to commit to the company full time.

“We are about to be at a place where the product is completely finished, and we can begin to work more with sales.  Next summer we finish our education, and must find out whether we will go fully into the project, “says Frederik.

 

Additional text by Sebastian Kjær

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