Brush With Destiny
Since joining the LMU community, junior mechanical engineering major Billy Walker has discovered his entrepreneurial spirit. Originally from Rodgers, Minn., Billy is at the helm of a new start-up called “Bristl,” made possible through LMU’s Business Incubator.
Bristl is a toothbrush and oral care product that combines light therapy with sonic vibrations to reduce gum inflammation, heal gum tissue, kill bacteria and whiten teeth. It is an improved iteration of the “iBright” toothbrush, which originated in Korea in 2015. Distributor’s rights for the product in the United States have since been signed over to Dr. David Choi – LMU’s Director of Entrepreneurship – and Billy’s team.
“The Business Incubator has been essential in providing us with the resources and workspace to get our start-up off the ground,” Billy said. “Dr. Choi is all about helping his students and he has a great deal of experience in start-up ventures, so the advice he has to offer is invaluable.”
Originally drawn to LMU for its top-ranked Engineering program and prime Los Angeles location, Billy quickly discovered that it’s the community of students and faculty that makes time on the bluff especially worthwhile.
“I think that what matters most during your college experience is to find your passions and the energy to devote to those passions,” Billy said. “LMU helped me find my passion for entrepreneurship and is giving me the resources to make it a reality.”
He adds that his engineering studies have been a great help in developing Bristl to its full market potential, as he and his team are able to more efficiently troubleshoot product issues and prepare to eventually launch a new and improved Bristl 2.0.
“Combining engineering and entrepreneurship for good is my goal and passion,” Billy said.
In addition to his entrepreneurial endeavors, Billy also took advantage of the Engineering program’s semester abroad in Bonn, Germany. The program allows students to gain exposure to the important technological work being carried out in the country while learning about German life and culture.
“The experience definitely gave me a better global perspective,” Billy said.
Currently, 36 percent of LMU students choose to study abroad to over 60 locations.
Looking to the future, Billy plans to devote all of his time this summer to working on Bristl, even traveling to South Korea to meet with the original product inventor and to explore engineering and manufacturing facilities.
As for what advice he has for future lions?
“Work hard and find like-minded faculty members who are willing to help you,” Billy said. “Establishing relationships will take you as far as you need to go.”