With cleanliness and new ways of preventing the spread of germs and viruses at the top of everyone’s mind, there is no better time than the present for FY2019 IGEM-Commerce industry partner Washie — a company producing toilet seats with a built-in cleaning solution.
In 2019, Washie partnered with Idaho State University (ISU) to conduct testing on the functionality and efficacy of Washie’s patented sanitizing toilet seat.
The IGEM-Commerce grant program funds research initiatives, where university investigators and private sector business experts partner together to bring viable technologies to market.
Since receiving the grant, interest in the company has skyrocketed. Washie has already started installing its products in hospitals and other buildings throughout Boise and Southeast Idaho, and the toilet is quickly gaining traction across the nation.
Recently, 14 Washie toilet seats were installed in the Pocatello airport — the place where it all began. Washie has also expanded to Utah, where it will continue to grow and be installed in public facilities.
Robert Poleki, CEO and founder of Washie, said the company has seen a major increase in demand for its product with new expectations of cleanliness across the nation — making it difficult for the company to keep up with the high volume of demand.
IGEM commercialization grants are a powerful economic resource. Through its support of commercialization partnerships, IGEM makes an investment in developing new business ventures, creating new products and high-value jobs, while supporting the research capacity of Idaho’s universities.
“We are still crawling before we start running, and it has been a unique year for us,” Poleki said. “It definitely allowed us to learn from our mistakes, but the future of the company is looking good. I want to thank IGEM for, not only the financial assistance but also the guidance they provided us along the way.”
Learn more about the IGEM program here.