Startups  April 21, 2015

Startup offering garden retailers water-saving mats

LONGMONT – A Longmont-based company is launching publicly Tuesday with a new line of capillary mats that its founders believe will reduce water usage for plant retailers by as much as 70 percent.

Founded in 2012, WaterPulse Inc. employs 12 people at its headquarters at 1375 Ken Pratt Blvd., and company officials said new sales people will be added outside Colorado in the coming weeks.

WaterPulse’s mats for retailers lay under potted plants and have internal injectors that spread water evenly under the plants. The soil then draws the water it needs up through drain holes in the pots. The system is one that provides much more efficiency than overhead watering, which can be uneven and labor-intensive.

The technology of capillary mats isn’t new, admits WaterPulse co-founder Mike Croy, who is vice president of sales and marketing. Companies in Canada and Australia produce large mats for nurseries and greenhouses, he said. Traditionally, those mats allow plants to draw the water they need before a drainage cycle removes excess water.

Croy says such mats haven’t been used very widely in smaller-scale retail environments because of the need for the drainage cycle and the issue of where to drain the excess water. WaterPulse has tailored its mats for that use by sealing the mats and including the injectors, which deliver an easily controlled amount of water. The company has patents pending for its injector technology as well as the material inside the mats that helps the water move around smoothly.

Croy said the mats also eliminate the need for employees to water plants throughout the day, reducing labor costs.

“We can save a tremendous amount of water for those organizations,” Croy said.

The company developed its technology internally along with a third-party engineering firm. The mats, Croy said, will cost retailers about $2 to $3 per square foot.

Croy co-founded the company with chief financial officer Collis Woodward and Randy Durbin, who is no longer with the company. Croy said he couldn’t disclose startup costs but said the company has been funded by investors mostly out of California, which is in the midst of a serious drought.
Croy said WaterPulse is selling the mats initially directly to retailers, targeting the West and drought areas in the South first. The company also has a consumer version of the mats on the drawing board.

“We’re hoping to have that sometime in the fall,” Croy said. “We do expect that once consumers start to see it they’ll want them as well.”

LONGMONT – A Longmont-based company is launching publicly Tuesday with a new line of capillary mats that its founders believe will reduce water usage for plant retailers by as much as 70 percent.

Founded in 2012, WaterPulse Inc. employs 12 people at its headquarters at 1375 Ken Pratt Blvd., and company officials said new sales people will be added outside Colorado in the coming weeks.

WaterPulse’s mats for retailers lay under potted plants and have internal injectors that spread water evenly under the plants. The soil then draws the water it needs up through drain holes in the pots. The system is…

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