El Segundo, California
Industry: Consumer & Lifestyle
Products: Hydration delivery systems
Using magnets, founder Ed Jaeger innovated a better and safer way to improve hydration for motorcyclists.
Jaeger is a serial entrepreneur who has 30 years of experience creating new categories within various industries. He is best known as the founder and CEO of Ironclad Performance Wear, a company that married sports technology with industrial apparel.
After leaving Ironclad in 2014, Jaeger took some time off and pursued his passion as an avid off-road motorcycle racer. During several races, he got frustrated trying to get water from his backpack to his mouth without taking his hands off the handlebars.
"Current hydration systems are routed to the rider through a tube that has to be placed in your mouth every time you need a drink," says Jaeger. "When racing off-road, I didn't want to risk hitting an obstacle at speed while reaching for the water tube and having only one hand on the handlebars. When I did get the water in my mouth, I over-drank, which upset my system. It then became easier simply not to drink, which would lead to dehydration."
Searching for an alternative, Jaeger and a team of engineers realized that the answer could be in the way hoses are connected to the driver's helmets. "We looked at auto-racing helmets in a variety of motorsports and saw that rubber fresh air tubes were held on to the helmet with zip ties or duct tape," he said. "This was done because, over time, the rubber would harden and they wouldn't stay attached. In an emergency, it created a safety issue. Drivers couldn't quickly remove their helmets and get out of the car because they were still connected to the tubes."
Jaeger and his team then began experimenting with magnets as a coupling device. "We started with the air delivery system and came up with the MagLock Air," says Jaeger. "The magnets are self-centering and have a 35-pound load so they won't pull directly apart. When the driver needs to exit the vehicle, they pull the MagLock Air from the side which only has a 10-pound sideload, making it almost effortless to disconnect."
After the launch, the MagLock Air impressed Illinois-based helmet manufacturer Bell Racing, and it partnered with the company to incorporate the system into their racing helmets.
With the connection problem solved, RainMaker focused on improving hydration delivery with a system called FluidLogic, a programmable app that routes hydration to the driver through the MagLock Air connection. "Our FluidLogic system allows someone to program their hydration needs through our app on their smart device, and the system will remind and deliver fluids based on a person's biometric input," says Jaeger. "Our research shows that most people don't drink water until they're thirsty. We wanted to provide water at optimum times, allowing someone to take a drink every few minutes for better hydration during any type of activity."
According to Jaeger, the system has gone through nearly three years of extensive testing, and RainMaker commissioned researchers at the University of Montana to study the effects of using the FluidLogic system. "The results were staggering," says Jaeger. "Using our system at speed in motorsports confirmed the science. When properly hydrated, a person shows more clarity, a lower heart rate, and has faster reaction times. Even cognitive systems are improved so that fewer mistakes are made."
The company manufactures all of the components on-site in El Segundo, where it has medical consultants and designers who are working on the systems of the future. "We've invented a new category and want to dominate it," says Jaeger. "We have the technology and the intellectual property, and now we need to get out there into the market."
Challenges: "We will have to find ways to communicate with various industries where our product will be beneficial," says Jaeger. "Right now we're focused on motorsports to showcase our products. We're constantly at various events, but it's proving to be well worth the effort."
Opportunities: The MagLock and FluidLogic systems are being adapted for a variety of motorsports, but Jaeger says there are plans to bring them to the military, industrial, and outdoor industries as well. "Our results of what been able to create have been phenomenal," says Jaeger. "Bringing all these items that we created to various markets opens up so many opportunities for us to expand."
Needs: "Capital is one," says Jaeger. "We've had seed money, but we now need to position new shareholders for an opportunity to get into this business. We have a great talent pool to help the company grow and we can stoke that fire with additional institutional capital."