Photo: Nick Garcia
"Between side hustles and opportunistic jobs, we seemed to always get a paycheck in the mail right as we were funning out of money," says Lawrence Lamondin (right), with brother Richard.
Florida's water conservation company EcoSystems goes with the flow
Founders: Richard and Lawrence Lamondin
2018 Revenue: $6.7 million
Growth 2016-18: 4,234%
Seven years ago, entrepreneurs Richard and Lawrence Lamondin could have been forgiven for wanting to quit. A 300-unit condo building in Hollywood had hired their environmental services company to change out old toilets with water-efficient models, and they soon found themselves elbow-deep in bathroom retrofits.
“We actually went in and replaced toilets. I had never done that before,” says Lawrence Lamondin, 30, a graduate of the University of Miami. “We had a plumber, though. To this day, we hire people around us who specialize in a trade.”
He and his brother, Richard, 32, own Miami-based EcoSystems, which designs and implements water-saving strategies for hotels and multifamily housing properties nationwide. They originally envisioned the company as an environmental consultancy but narrowed their focus to water conservation, helping clients cut down on water bills — and conserve water in the process — with low-flow toilets and other green changes.
“With every budget we looked at, water was one of the highest line items, and there was almost nobody doing anything about it,” Lawrence Lamondin says. “As we started researching, we learned that by 2021, 35% of the entire U.S. was not going to be able to afford their water bills due to rising rates. On top of that, 20% of all toilets were leaking.”
The Lamondins grew up in Aventura, the sons of a real estate developer. In 2012, Lawrence Lamondin got his bachelor’s degree in psychology from UM, and his brother, a University of Southern California graduate, moved back to Florida from Shanghai, where he had been working for a global executive search firm. They founded EcoSystems with help from UM’s Launch Pad, a student entrepreneurship program, and opened a real estate brokerage on the side to support themselves financially for the first few years.
“In college, I cultivated relationships that really helped us down the road,” Lawrence Lamondin says. “One of my good friends ended up working at a real estate investment firm on Brickell. He helped introduce us” to clients.
After a series of individual projects, they landed a large contract three years ago from Iowa-based BH Management Services to install water-efficient toilets, shower heads and sink aerators at about two-dozen apartment complexes across the U.S. They estimate that over the years, they’ve saved 2 billion gallons of water and $16 million in utility costs for clients.
“We dropped our side hustles in 2016. It took that long to get to the point where we felt comfortable enough to bring on full-time staff,” Lawrence Lamondin says. “In the early days, we’d go out to the field, execute the project and then start the sales process all over again. We kind of did it all.”
With annual sales of more than $10 million, they’re now part of Endeavor Miami, a startup accelerator that provides entrepreneurs with mentoring, access to capital and other support services.
“In the next three years, we want to continue to broaden our scope of offerings,” Lawrence Lamondin says. “In five years, we’re looking to be the largest and most impactful green company in the country.”
Read more in Florida Trend's February issue.
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