“I really wanted to build my own dream rather than someone else’s,” said Chad Martin, a 2016 alumnus of LMU.
Chad is putting his words into action as co-founder and CEO of DripCycle, an onsite plug & play water reuse system that captures condensation produced from air conditioning units to be used on landscaping. Once the water has been captured, the system quietly cleans, pressurizes and stores water safely until time of use, resulting in lower waste of fresh water and long-term financial savings.
“DripCycle is the only company that does this type of condensation recovery,” said Chad. “Our system saves hundreds of thousands of gallons of water from air conditioning units that would otherwise go down the drain. And we use zero chemicals, it’s all natural.”
A native of Northern California, Chad’s interest in water conservation first piqued as a student at Foothill Community College. As part of a class, he watched the 2008 documentary Blue Gold which examines the environmental and political implications of the planet’s dwindling water supply, and posits that wars in the future will be fought over water.
When Chad transferred to LMU, California was in the midst of a five-year drought and the water dilemma was still fresh on his mind. He chose political science as his major with the intention of going to law school. “It just happens that water is a very political topic,” he said.
Chad’s entire career trajectory shifted when he discovered the LMU Entrepreneurship Program. He met with Dr. David Choi who allowed him to join his Business Incubator class, which gives students the workspace and guidance to build businesses that have potential for impact in the real world. It was in this class that DripCycle developed from an idea into a real venture: Chad met his business partner, co-founder and COO, Robert Wieland ’16, mapped out a strategic business plan and developed a prototype.
“Rob is my right-hand man. If I can dream it, Rob can build it. From new designs to solving problems, in my book Rob’s a genius,” said Chad.
Chad soon added a business minor to his academic studies and turned all of his focus and energy on becoming an entrepreneur. LMU ended up being DripCycle’s first client. The system is currently installed on the new Life Sciences Building and Seaver Annex. Chad is in discussions to add DripCycle to more LMU buildings across campus and expects to expand to other universities.
“LMU played a pivotal role in introducing me to entrepreneurship,” said Chad. “Dr. Choi and my classmates gave me great advice and embraced my idea at every turn. I want to thank Richard Elmasian and Tim Haworth from LMU Facilities Management for their help with the first prototype install. I couldn’t have done it without them. Actually, the entire LMU community was the driving force in getting me where I am today.”
After launching DripCycle in Los Angeles, Chad relocated back to Northern California in December to open a new office in Silicon Valley.
“The price of water is higher in Northern California and it made sense to be closer to the innovative companies here in the region.” said Chad.
Chad continues to build the business and has achieved several milestones over the past year. They’ve raised the first round of funding and secured their patent (with another pending). He spends a majority of his time presenting to companies and pitching the product to local architecture and landscaping firms. He’s already partnered with one architecture firm, Dennis Kobza & Associates, Inc. which has DripCycle installed onsite.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned is to show up prepared. I used to think the corporate world was serious and intimidating, instead I found genuine people who want to do great things and create change for the better, the way I do.”
Currently focused on commercial building installations, Chad will soon be expanding the business to include shopping centers and apartment complexes.
“I truly enjoy what I do, it’s exciting to watch our product make a difference,” said Chad. “It’s a lot of hard work, but very rewarding. At the end of the day, all we want to do is help preserve the world’s water for future generations and protect our customers from rising water costs.”
Now that’s a dream worth building.
Learn more at dripcycle.com.