When Compendium Software LLC alumna Megan Glover started 120WaterAudit last spring, the idea was to target residential consumers across the country with a water-testing kit that cost $120 every four months.
There was some traction in that market, especially from people who live near fracking operations. But late last year, Glover, the CEO, encountered strong interest in the service from a different clientele base—municipal water utilities.
The company, which was co-founded by ClusterTruck CEO Chris Baggott, repositioned itself in response and the move is starting to pay dividends. It has signed contracts with utilities in Pittsburgh, Colorado and Texas to help them manage administratively cumbersome water-testing initiatives. Glover had originally been the sole employee with an office at ClusterTruck's downtown Indianapolis headquarters, but now she has a team of four operating out of Zionsville-based co-working space zWORKS.
Glover is also gearing up to raise the company's first round of equity financing and is laying the foundation for a software offering that helps utilities manage water-quality data.
"What we've been able to do is come in and say, 'Hey, not only can we take this program off your hands that you hate,'" Glover said, "'but we can also drastically improve it be offering best-of-breed customer-service.'"
A few weeks after the business launched last May, 120WaterAudit started receiving in-bound interest from school systems in Indiana and other states.
It started testing out the school market, but really didn't make a full push for commercial clients until officials from the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority knocked on its door. The utility had been engaged in an effort to offer free water tests for thousands of city residents and needed help managing the process.
120WaterAudit's value proposition was simple: It had the internal technology to handle the logistics and customer communications associated with such an undertaking.
Glover said the utility's process would take about three months, and people would get the results via mail. After signing the utility as a client in December, 120WaterAudit has been able to reduce that time frame and cut the utility's cost from about $185 per kit to about $60 per kit.
"Our background is in customer-interface automation," Glover said. "So we've adopted very robust logistics tools—and now developing our own—that basically takes that program from months to 14 days."
She said the platform will ingest customer data, lab analyses, and other program-related compliance data, giving utilities one tool to track progress and orchestrate notifications.
Drawing on its experience with Pittsburgh, the company began chasing other utilities, partly by attending municipal utility trade shows and conferences.
Glover said the demand appears to stem from the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, that's attracted national headlines in recent years. Aging infrastructure and public scrutiny of water quality has prompted an increase in government-mandated compliance.
Even with its new push, 120WaterAudit still has some residential customers. And, for now, its plans to keep its name the same.