A couple of years ago, Megan Glover was on a coffee date with a friend when the conversation turned to the water crisis in Flint. Glover found herself nodding along. Like a lot of residents of Indianapolis, she was familiar with the topic — Indiana abuts Michigan, and for weeks, it seemed, local media had reported on little else. And yet, as Glover confessed to her friend, a fellow entrepreneur named Chris Baggott, she hadn’t gotten around to testing her own water supply. “I’m not sure where to start,” she said.
“Hey!” Baggott exclaimed. “I think you just stumbled on your next business.”
That evening, Glover opened her laptop and searched water-testing services. Plenty of results came back, although most of the kits were either prohibitively expensive (up to $1,500 each) or required a high degree of scientific skill to operate. An idea began to cement in Glover’s mind: Her kit would be cheap and bare-bones — a beaker inside a box. It would be shipped to a consumer’s house with a return label inside. Users would fill up a beaker and drop the box back into the mail. An outside laboratory would do the actual testing, and the results would be emailed back to the consumer via in-house, proprietary software.
By the summer of 2016, Glover had a name for her project — 120Water — and $130,000 in seed money, part of it provided by Baggott, who signed on as co-founder, and part of it pulled from Glover’s own savings.
“When I say ‘bootstrapped,’ I mean ‘bootstrapped,’ ” Glover recalled. “Still, this was a company that I thought could be both profitable and have a real social impact, and I was determined to make it work.”