Newsletter #1 – December 2020

Greetings from LeapFrog Design,

And welcome to the inaugural issue of our monthly newsletter! We added you to our mailing list because somewhere along the way, we met you on our journey to end water waste. You have all played a role in our mission to transform water scarcity into sustainable water abundance with our nature-inspired, ecological water recycling systems. Moving forward, these monthly dispatches will provide updates on our activities, successes, upcoming initiatives, what's inspiring to us, and other tidbits to keep you informed on our progress disrupting the water infrastructure status-quo.

We sure picked an unimaginable year to take our first big steps. 2020 has been unlike any other, a year none of us will forget and most of us will be happy to see in the rearview mirror. It has certainly been the proverbial rollercoaster for us at LeapFrog Design, filled with the foggy dissonance of great company successes in midst of tremendous tragedy and a shared uncertainty of our collective future.

We were riding high as we began the year on the heels of a successful crowdfunding campaign, during which many of you provided the support we needed to head back down to the informal settlements of Lima, Peru - the location where our vision and purpose were born and where our first prototypes were tested.

Arriving on March 4th, with zero confirmed COVID-19 cases in Peru, we were unaware of being on the verge of a devastating pandemic. Ten days later, Peru was thrust into complete lockdown, with all domestic and international travel banned. Our prototype launch screeched to a halt and we were sequestered to our apartment for the indefinite future. I'll admit, we were scared. Thankfully, we had tons of lovely people rooting for us back home, and eventually, we were evacuated by the US State Department (see a video here).

We returned home to a country gripped by uncertainty, fear, and isolation. Ugh. We tried to keep hope alive, determined that this pandemic would not crush our dreams and our chance to bring our vision of sustainable water abundance to those who need it most. And in May, two months after evacuation from Peru, we were notified by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) that our company would be receiving their Small Business Research Innovation Grant. We were elated! But still in lockdown. We had to get prepared for our one-year R&D plan and just at the same time we were accepted into the Cascadia CleanTech Accelerator. In the course of a few days, we went from despondency to delight. But how could we celebrate when not only was there a pandemic devastating the lives of millions, but we were faced with the tragic reality of violent and systemic racism at home. George Floyd's murder rekindled a cry for justice that brought the Black Lives Matter movement to the foreground and shone a bright spotlight on the equality our promised land has yet to deliver.

So we did our best to make good on our opportunity and with gratitude for our own good fortune, we forged on. We jumped into customer interviews and market research, supported by an additional NSF Innovation-Corps grant during which we interviewed nearly 150 people in the water use and reuse sector in the United States. At the peak of our interviews, the fires began to sweep across the US west coast. And our team was not untouched, with family members losing homes and life possessions.

With all that is happening in our communities locally, nationally, and globally, it has not always been easy to celebrate our successes, but when we consider what we have achieved over the past year as a company - growing our team from 2 co-founders to an inspired group of 14, raising over $300,000 and exceeding our research and development goals, we are humbled to say 2020 has been an extraordinary year of challenges and growth for our company. As we continue in 2021, we are emboldened by your support, and eager to share peaks and valleys along our journey to create affordable and sustainable water abundance for us all.

— Adam DeHeer, CEO

Read our Latest Article

Sustainable Onsite Water Reuse
Part 1 of a series on the history and future of water reuse in the United States

Our conversations and insights point to exciting possibilities for sustainable onsite water reuse in the United States and around the world. By sharing what we heard, we hope to spark further conversation and support for non-potable water reuse advancements in the United States. Read the article

What's New with LeapFrog

Meet the LeapFrog team

Our small but mighty team is dedicated to being part of the solution for water reuse, and we're building a company with the skills and the technology to make it happen. Learn more about us.

LeapFrog Team

LeapFrog Design Wins Customer Discovery Award

At the concluding event of the Cascadia CleanTech Accelerator program, our team was recognized for exceptional effort in learning about and adapting to the needs of potential customers in the United States. See the announcement

CCA Award

Series on Water Reuse

Over the last few months, we interviewed 130+ industry leaders, policy experts, and potential customers to better understand the water reuse market in the US. Follow along over the next two weeks as we publish our insights on water scarcity, sustainable onsite water reuse, and future trends!

Leapfrog on Medium

What We've Enjoyed this Month

  • Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari - book
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander - book
  • Brave Blue World: Racing to Solve our Water Crisis - documentary film