Newsletter #9 - October 2022

It’s been an exciting summer at LeapFrog Design!

Drought continues across the US and much of the world, UK, China, India, affecting food prices and soon, energy prices. The good news is the new Inflation Reduction Act will help support retrofitting homes for better sustainability and resilience. This, along with other regional and municipal programs, is helping pave the way for our commercial launch in Oregon and California, with an initial focus on Bend, OR, and Los Angeles, CA. It’s official, we are ready to start taking orders for our greywater treatment system, helping folks keep their green. Because people love plants!

We’re so motivated and honored by all the support we’ve received from the National Science Foundation, Business Oregon, the USGBC-LA, VentureWell, and especially, especially, our early adopters.

We are so excited to be launching our beta products in our first commercial demonstration projects. Whoohoo!

We’re kicking off Phase II of NSF SBIR funding, and feeling fortunate that Congress has agreed to keep the SBIR programs alive. The support from Business Oregon’s SBIR matching grant has allowed us to hire in sales and marketing, enabling us to better communicate with those in need of our reuse technologies. As we expand from Oregon to California, we are so thrilled to be working with the USGBC-LA folks as part of their 2022 Net Zero Accelerator. Ben Stapleton and Colin Mangham have been terrific partners as we make our entry into the LA market. And they recently recognized LeapFrog with the Net Zero Trailblazer award. Other notable winners include Janine Benyus, Co-founder, Biomimicry Institute (2020) and Lindsay Baker, CEO of the International Living Future Institute (2022) as well as co-founder of Living Building Challenge Carlos Battisti (2020).

Another gem from this summer was our participation in VentureWell’s ASPIRE accelerator. It was a masterful preparation for expanding corporate ownership opportunities as we open a Seed Round to accelerate our growth during the critical period of go-to-market period. Stay tuned for ways you can join the grey to green transformation, as a customer or even part owner. Take care out there! And keep tending your garden.

— Adam

Product launch underway

We're so thrilled to have several sites operational in and around Bend! The installs went very smoothly and all systems are operating beautifully so far. We look forward to learning from these early installs so we can continue to finetune our system for widespread use.

If you are interested in having a LeapFrog Design water treatment system at your home, join the waitlist! We will be expanding our service area based on where we see interest, so spread the word to your friends, families, and neighbors. Either fill out the “Join the Waitlist” form online, or email us your name, city, and state.

LeapFrog Design's water reuse treatment planters capture water from sinks, washing machines, and showers; clean it just like nature would; and then make it available for irrigation and toilet flushing.

VentureWell ASPIRE Program

This spring we participated in VentureWell's 2022 ASPIRE Climatetech investment-readiness program. ASPIRE brought together mentors, coaches, and guest speakers representing angel investor, venture capital, and corporate perspectives to provide individual support to the startups to help us identify relevant partnerships and vet our fundraising strategy.

Here's the official announcement.

VentureWell logo

USGBC-LA Net Zero Accelerator

Adam DeHeer was awarded the Trailblazer Award at USGBC-LA and Verdical Group's NetZero Conference 2022.

We've been learning so much from the NetZero Accelerator and have been putting lots of new knowledge into action already. Sessions have covered a wide variety of topics, including public funding and grant options, pilot scoping, storytelling, branding, and sustainability ROI. In September we exhibited at the NetZero Conference, and in addition to making lots of great new connections we were honored and humbled to be awarded the Trailblazer Award, celebrating leaders working to build a net zero future.


Business Oregon matching grant

We’re proud to have earned a nearly$100k matching grant from Business Oregon to be used for non-R&D activities, building our team, sales and marketing, and engineering. This grant allowed us to add several new team members.Cam Platner, Design EngineerMichelle Gee, Research EngineerJanet Hager, Director of Communication and Marketing

Expanding our team will allow us to reach more prospective partners and customers, develop new technologies, and increase our capacity to manufacture and place more water treatment systems in more homes.

See the official grant info here.

What we're reading

Constructed Wetland Batteries: Research into combining the symbiotic technologies of constructed wetlands and microbial fuel cells has emerged in recent years with the aim of improving the wastewater treatment capacity of wetlands while simultaneously producing electrical power. The entire team is fascinated and excited by this emerging technology, and the potential it could hold for LeapFrog Design projects down the road.

The Hill: Water-sharing negotiations among the seven states in the Colorado River basin have failed to produce results, a Nevada water official said in a letter obtained by The Hill, on the eve of a Tuesday deadline when the federal government will step in. The division of water from the river is divided among Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming under a century-old compact based on water levels that no longer exist. As a result, more water is allocated than actually flows through the river.

Federal News Network: The Senate passed a three-year authorization of SBIR and the Small Business Technology Transfer Research program by unanimous consent on September 20. “SBIR and STTR represent the best of government-industry partnerships — harnessing the creativity and ingenuity of American entrepreneurs to solve our nation’s most pressing public health and national security challenges,” said Cardin in a release. “This bill will keep SBIR and STTR going for an additional three years, increase commercialization of technology developed through the programs, and protect our nation’s intellectual property. Passing this important bill gives our nation’s innovative small businesses and research institutions the certainty they need to continue developing the technology that will power the economy of tomorrow.”

The Hill: The Inflation Reduction Act includes $4 billion in new funding specifically for the Bureau of Reclamation to address the drought pummeling the Western U.S.

Featured plant

Lizard Tail (Saururus cernuus) is a hairy, rhizomatous aquatic plant growing up to four feet in height. The spikes of tiny white flowers resemble a lizard tail. They bloom for about a month in the spring, and the whole plant exudes a pleasant citrus aroma. Lizard’s Tail is an important food source for wetland animals such as beavers and was historically used to treat swelling in the body.

Photo By Eric Hunt - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,