While studying for his MBA in Finance and Administration, Hunter MacMillian decided to flex his entrepreneurial muscles and spare time as CEO of Notre Dame startup Forever Analytical Services. The company, funded in part by the IDEA Center’s donor-supported Innovation Gold Fund, has developed a total organic fluorine detection method for testing water samples for per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), industrial chemicals that can be harmful to human health. MacMillian says the water testing kit is designed for home use and screens waters for more than 12,000 PFAS compounds. It is, he says, “fast, safe, and effective.”
As a startup CEO, MacMillian is covering all bases. He’s responsible for fundraising, developing go-to-market strategies, sales, some technical validation work, and ongoing product-market fit. He is currently recruiting 25 customers to try the testing kits for free in exchange for completing a survey on the packaging and messaging used on the company’s materials. The ultimate goal is to provide people across the United States with an affordable means for determining if their water is safe to drink.
MacMillian is grateful for Innovation Gold Fund that pairs student startup associates with Notre Dame faculty to de-risk inventions and help bring them to market. “This has been a great opportunity to learn first-hand about startup operations,” he says. “It’s given me a chance to connect with interesting people and learn how pervasive the problem of chemicals in drinking water is around the globe. I’ve also learned that hard work pays off.”
McMillian has already set priorities post graduation in May. “My plan is to raise grant money for Forever Analytical Services to keep refining our technology.”