Written by Kevin Volz.
With Lake Erie spanning the entire northern border of the state, Ohio is in no danger of running out of fresh water. Unfortunately, other regions of the country aren’t so lucky. Many communities face significant challenges when building, maintaining or expanding their water systems, but SplashLink.com is hoping to change that.
SplashLink.com compiles thousands of different projects out for bid, along with grant, financing and other funding opportunities, all into one web-based platform to facilitate the cooperation of key players in the water industry. The company focuses on connecting companies that offer solutions within the water industry to those who need their help, such as utilities and municipalities.
“There are markets all around the world that are under high water stress and risk for contamination, and we’ve got many businesses right here in northeast Ohio that could be the key to solving their problems,” said Jason Wuliger, vice president of SplashLink.com. “It’s connecting these two parties that can be difficult.”
Content listed on SplashLink.com is compiled in two ways. Funding and bidding opportunities can be posted directly to SplashLink.com.com by the issuing business, nonprofit or government entity. In addition, SplashLink.com uses a crawler that finds postings from over 4,000 different sites in the United States and Canada, and hosts them on the SplashLink.com platform so they are easily searchable.
“Rather than make people go to individual websites when a project is posted for bid, we do the work for them,” said Ebie Holst, founder and CEO of SplashLink.com. “We make sure the content is relevant and up-to-date so our users don’t have to hunt for that information themselves.”
In late 2014, SplashLink.com received a $100,000 Innovation Fund B award, partially funded by Ohio Third Frontier. While the company plans to use this funding to invest in brand development and marketing, their main goal is to evolve their services and become an online hub of interactivity for the water industry.
“We want to create tools that will allow key players in water to communicate and innovate with each other directly,” said Holst. “We think we can make this process move much quicker than it does today.”
SplashLink.com is a subscription-based service, with hundreds of subscribers currently using the platform. They have also partnered with major water industry associations, including the Cleveland Water Alliance and the Akron Global Water Alliance. Having ties with local partners is just one of the reasons Holst says starting a business in northeast Ohio has been successful and extremely rewarding.
“I moved back to Ohio from Silicon Valley in 2001. Since that time, the entrepreneurial community here has changed dramatically,” said Holst. “There are networks available and the opportunity to get help from those who know what it takes to start a company.”
“It’s really the quality of the workforce that sets Ohio apart,” said Wuliger. “We could not have accomplished everything we have so far without the high quality of people we’ve been able to hire.”