CalBusiness

 

Spring/Summer 2008

Feature Stories

Your Haas Network

Scott Pinizzotto, MBA 98
Founder and CEO, Brondell
San Francisco, Calif.


As CEO of a company that sells high-tech toilet seats, Scott Pinizzotto, MBA 98, faces even more obstacles than the typical entrepreneur.


"We aren't an iPod or the latest Web 2.0 company," Pinizzotto notes. "We have the added challenge of building a brand, recruiting employees, and marketing products around a personal and delicate subject."


But working with a taboo topic hasn't gotten in the way of Pinizzotto's success. His eight-employee company, Brondell, has doubled revenue each of the past three years, with products now selling in more than 400 retail locations. Six Swash models offer a heated seat, spray warm water and dry your nether regions, and retail from $400 to $800. Two less expensive Breeza models eliminate odor.


Pinizzotto first became interested in high-tech toiletry while designing TVs in Japan for Sony. An engineering graduate of Penn State, Pinizzotto wondered why Americans were largely unaware of the innovative high-tech design of Japanese toilets.


After returning to the United States to go to Haas, Pinizzotto focused on entrepreneurship and marketing. He landed what would be a fortuitous summer internship at TheDJ.com through the school's Partners for Entrepreneurial Leadership program.


After working for Harmony Software and Indian Motorcyle, Pinizzotto still continued thinking about high-tech toilet seats. In 2003, he reunited with TheDJ.com founder David Samuel, who sold his company to AOL, to start Brondell with $1.3 million in seed money. Even billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban was an early investor in Brondell, which is named after an 18th century toilet inventor. Jerome Engel, executive director of the Haas School's Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, sits on Brondell's advisory board.


Appalled by the amount of waste generated by the toilet-100 million toilet paper rolls daily worldwide and 40 percent of a household's indoor water use - Pinizzotto is now focused on going green. This year Brondell will unveil two eco-friendly models: the $200 Swash Ecoseat, which cuts toilet paper use by 75 percent, and the $99 Ecoflow, which reduces water consumption by 50 percent with dual-flush technology.


Pinizzotto says the pricey potty seats are worth it: "It's like TiVo. Once you try it, you won't go back."


 


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Scott Pinizzotto, MBA 98

Scott Pinizzotto, MBA 98
Founder and CEO, Brondell
San Francisco, Calif.