A Zionsville-based startup that specializes in water quality technology and testing made the biggest splash Thursday night at the Rise of the Rest pitch competition, scoring the winner-take-all $100,000 prize.
Founded in 2016, 120WaterAudit was one of 10 firms chosen to deliver pitches to a panel including AOL co-founder and tech investor Steve Case, who brought his Rise of the Rest bus tour to Indianapolis on Thursday to visit innovative local companies and host the pitch competition.
CEO Megan Glover delivered the winning pitch for 120WaterAudit, which helps consumers, schools and utilities test their water for lead and other harmful contaminants.
"I'm actually still numb—I'm in shock," CEO Megan Glover told IBJ after winning. "The candidate pool, a lot of them we're friends with or we became friends with during the process. We're all A-players and we all deserve to be funded. So to even be on that stage is beyond unbelievable."
Glover co-founded the firm with entrepreneur Chris Baggott, who co-founded Indianapolis-based digital marketing powerhouse ExactTarget Inc. The company was sold to San Francisco-based Salesforce for $2.5 billion in 2013.
The initial plan for 120WaterAudit 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 encountered strong interest in the service from a different clientele base—municipal water utilities.
The company repositioned itself in response, and the move has paid dividends. It has signed contracts with utilities in Pittsburgh, Colorado and Texas to help them manage administratively cumbersome water-testing initiatives.
The Rise of the Rest pitch competition included many local tech heavyweights representing startups. They included former Salesforce Marketing Cloud CEO Scott McCorkle and former Salesforce product marketing director Susan Marshall, as well as former Apparatus President Aman Brar and serial entrepreneur Christopher Day.