Young Innovators Success Stories: Jonny Cottom, Breakbottle, London

Posted on: 11/01/2023

The innovative design making it easier to maintain reusable bottles

Jonny Cottom first had the idea for Breakbottle when he realised how difficult it was to clean and maintain his reusable water bottle.

When Jonny won the Young Innovators Award, Breakbottle was in the prototype phase. He had 3D models of the bottle and lots of technical support, but there were still obstacles to overcome.

“There were many hurdles to jump over, both from a technical and a commercial perspective. We wanted to make sure we stayed true to our design mission whilst maintaining costs within the set budgets,” Jonny recalls.

Make or break

One of Breakbottle’s biggest milestones during the programme was launching on Kickstarter. Jonny describes it as a “real make or break moment” for the business.

“We’d done our planning, tested our offering and built an audience through Facebook, Instagram and email to generate as much interest as possible. But we didn’t know how it was going to go until we hit ‘launch’ and the campaign went live,” Jonny says.

“It was an exhilarating and exhausting experience. Thankfully, with the help of a really engaged community, we reached our funding goal and the project went ahead. This was the first genuine market test and it not only confirmed that there is a market for Breakbottle, but it gave us the funding and support to actually bring it to life.”

Another special milestone was receiving the first bottles. It gave Jonny something solid to show to third parties and post about on social media, but it also made the months of effort feel worth it.

“The hundreds of hours of design, the late evenings, all the extra attention to detail on each little corner, feature and surface – it all came to a head when this little bottle finally arrived in my hands for the first time.”

Grow the community

Jonny is currently getting ready to ship the first batch of bottles to crowdfunding backers and launch the product on his website, in stores and on Amazon.

After that, he has a busy 12 months planned for the business. He wants to develop new products and grow the community around Breakbottle, with a view to raising investment.

“One of my ambitions is to build out our offering in the clean, sustainable drinking space. We’ve been surveying our audience and have a number of additional products that are in development. We hope to test, learn and bring them to market early next year.

“I also want to create a large community of like-minded customers, brands and corporates that count Breakbottle as a brand they trust and can rely on. That will allow us to build mutually beneficial relationships.”

Small, consistent steps

Being part of the Young Innovators programme has helped Jonny to better manage where he invests his time.

“I’m pretty self-motivated, but working with mentors, interns and other stakeholders has helped focus my time in key areas at each stage of the journey and make better use of the limited time available,” he says.

“Make those small, consistent steps in the right direction and you’ll be surprised to see how big of an impact they can have in the long run.”

He’s also been inspired by the other Award winners and their innovative approaches to challenges.

“It’s a really positive and motivating environment. However experienced or inexperienced you are, there will always be room to grow and be inspired by those around you.

“I would encourage any future applicants to make the most of this network and build relationships that are beneficial both ways. Taking a positive, learning mindset into a room full of young, passionate founders can never be a bad thing in the long run.”


Join us and become part of the Young Innovators community. Find out more about the programme here.

Read the other Young Innovators’ success stories here.

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Young Innovators

The Young Innovators Awards are an annual competition from Innovate UK that finds, supports and celebrates young people with great business ideas.


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