Over 800 cities across the Unites States are experiencing a huge problem of combined sewer overflows being dumped into freshwater lakes and rivers. Billions of gallons of untreated sewage are discharged into the Great Lakes every year. Rapid Radicals Technology, LLC (RRT) is working on a solution to this clean water crisis.
RRT’s wastewater treatment technology reduces the time it takes for a treatment plant to treat wastewater from 8 hours down to just thirty minutes. The company works directly with municipalities and industry clients to develop custom water treatment plants, provide system commissioning services, and offer operations and maintenance training.
Paige Peters, Founder and CEO officially launched RRT in June of 2016 and soon after completed the NSF I-Corps program. We asked her a few questions about her entrepreneurial journey and participating in the NSF I-Corps Program:
Q: How did participating in the I-Corps Program affect your startup journey?
A: It changed everything! It gave me a good umbrella under which I could expand my network and a practical set of skills to engage with that network. I always had a specific reason to talk to some of the greatest thought leaders in my industry, and the technique to make those conversations count. Going through I-Corps taught me how to be wrong when it came to my technology (my baby) if the customers/market were truly telling me something different. The result of that awareness has been some fruitful conversations with stakeholders who are, at times, genuinely surprised that we’ve figured out this much about our market. At this point, we’ve conducted nearly 200 customer discovery interviews and the number is always growing. And finally, the data collected during my I-Corps experience led to a winning NSF Small Business Technology Transfer Phase I award. I absolutely couldn’t have done it without I-Corps! Our team is now all trained in developing hypotheses and asking “Mom Test” questions, and it gets brought up in conversations and meetings regularly. We’re die-hards!
Q: What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
A: Two main pieces of advice (since you asked): 1. Trust your instinct. No one else knows your idea/technology/venture better than you but listen to your customers and what the market is genuinely telling you. Ideas that lead to good businesses are ones that address problems people are willing to spend money to solve, and only your customer ecosystem can tell you that. 2. Don’t try to do this alone. There are so many resources in the Milwaukee community to help entrepreneurs succeed from accelerators to grant funds to mentorship. You aren’t sacrificing any of your journey or credibility as a founder (sole or otherwise) by asking for help, and your humility will make our entrepreneurial community stronger and more impactful for the next wave of movers and shakers.
Q: What has been the most rewarding experience thus far as the founder of Rapid Radicals?
A: The most rewarding experience has been building a team and providing opportunities to my team, whether professional development or anniversary parties. When I think about what has shaped me as a water professional, it all comes down to great mentors and strong relationships. I strive to be that for my team members and encourage them to be the same for our community and partners. I’m proud of what we’ve built in and out of the technology and am excited for this next year ahead as we continue to scale our technology and expand our services.
You can learn more about Rapid Radicals by watching this video.