A good idea can come at any time, as long as you’re ready to listen to it. There may be no group in town that knows this better than the founders of Lagoon
, the Cincinnati startup that seeks to help homeowners understand and reduce their water usage.
Late in the fall of 2013, good friends, entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts Eric Elias and Nathan Heidt wanted to work on a side project together. The two got together, along with Heidt’s lifelong friend Will Wiebe, and began working on ideas to submit to the University of Dayton’s Business Plan Competition
“An hour before the application was due, we really weren’t passionate about anything,” says Elias, now CEO of Lagoon. “We wanted a market that wasn’t already over-saturated and, ultimately, an idea that we cared about.”
Heidt, now CTO, had just finished a cross-country bicycle trip. Along the way, he saw the impact a drought was having in regions of Texas and California on its farmers and citizens and became inspired to learn more about water usage. The group started thinking about a product that could educate and inspire others around the issue of water usage.
“I just asked Nathan and Will if it would be possible to measure water usage from the outside of a pipe,” Elias says. “They said it could work, and we all knew immediately that we were on to something.”
Fast forward to the present and Lagoon has made major strides forward, and is no longer a side project being worked on out of a barn. The team ended up winning third prize at the UD Business Plan competition and receiving $10,000. The startup has also since been accepted into the 2014 class of the Brandery
, the top 10 nationally ranked accelerator located in Over-the-Rhine.
The technology for Lagoon is similar to that of the Nest
model in that it reinvents home automation for the digital age. A Lagoon sensor is placed around the outside of a home’s main water line and a Lagoon base station is placed in the home. Using the home’s wi-fi network, the two devices communicate with each other to monitor and track water usage and then send information to the user’s smartphone.
“As a homeowner, I never really understood my water bill,” Elias says. “It’s like receiving your credit card bill with a single line item—it’s very unclear. Plus, right now, you get a water bill 30 days later. That’s a long feedback loop. We want to bring it closer, to the week, to the hour, to the minute, so you can understand your water usage even for your morning shower you just took.”
Already, Lagoon has entered into a partnership with the Hamilton Mill
and the city of Hamilton, Ohio, to pilot its technology with the city’s residents.
“Hamilton is a city that is focused on being eco-friendly and sustainable. Having a smart home water system within their homes fits that,” Elias says.
Lagoon is poised to make even bigger moves as the year progresses. The team urges residents to check out its site and explore how having a Lagoon in their home can help them save money and save the planet.