In this briefing CEO OriginClear shows how Tesla started with an inferior car, and ended up dominating the electric automobile market and how this came about. He demonstrates how the disruptive innovation principles of famed analyst Clayton Christensen explain not only Tesla's success, but also what they forecast for OriginClear given its unique positioning.
Riggs: Hello everyone and welcome to the live Zoom briefing of the 30th of January.
Water Is The New Gold
This briefing is now called Water Is The New Gold, as you know. Really that underlines that number one, this is a sustainability thing. Water is with us, it's not going to go away, but at the same time it's increasingly scarce. Why? Because we're frankly using the rivers and oceans as a toilet. Only 20% of the sewage in the world gets treated, that's 80% of what we dump goes into the water. This is not true so much in the West, our percentage is more like the opposite percentage, but then we have almost no sewage treatment in other countries, and that's a major problem. Also, population growth is an issue, so as populations grow, we have a problem keeping up.
“Recession-proof”: I only mention that because I don't think there's a recession on the way, but I'm not an expert. There's a lot of concern about things being overheated or where is it going and so forth. Water is pretty stable now. It's been a slow growing business and this is where I'm going to address it, but at the very least it's stable. If you can find a stable platform for your base load, shall we say, for your market and then drive it faster, that's a win-win, so let me get on with it.
The usual Safe Harbor statement which tells us that anything I say in this presentation may not actually end up exactly as I say. I know the sun's going to rise tomorrow, but as far as what we say is going to happen, it's our best estimate. Of course, we will continue to tell you what we know, as clearly as we know, as truthfully as we know, but reality sometimes ends up different.
Then the other thing is this disclaimer. We are operating under a special open solicitation type offering where investors can come in who meet these minimum requirements for being accredited, which is you have to make a certain amount of money, et cetera. We are allowed to discuss the offering publicly and to promote it, which I think I may do next week just because we haven't done so specifically. I'm not going to do it in this presentation, but if we do discuss it, that is the exemption we're operating under. And you of course know that all stock involves a risk.
Regulation A Filing
We filed it last week, but we announced a Regulation A filing this morning.
What is Regulation A? In 2013 Congress passed something called the Jobs Act, not something the SEC was happy with because it said, "Hey, anybody can invest in companies." For more than 60 years, actually longer, since 1934, there had been safeguards against what's called widows and orphans, people who don't have the money to spare and who were being preyed upon and who were harmed by the recession. These were good common-sense rules.
In 2013, Congress said, "Well, it's not fair to the people who don't have $200,000 in yearly income, et cetera, so what about them?" The SEC eventually did codify this in a way that they were happy with it, and gradually the Regulation A market has matured and we've wanted to do this for a long time. I've felt for a long time that it's terrible that we always got to rely on big investments. There should be smaller investments. They can be structured in a more democratic way. We have a lot of people who believe in us, and so to not have that going on is a problem. As I say, it took a while for it to mature, but now it is mature, and it's a strong marketplace. Think of it really as a Kickstarter for stocks, that's really what it is. It's crowdfunding, and because you invest within the offering, you get special benefits, that's what Regulation A is.
A company that we are friends with recently filed their Regulation A offering, they got it through in 52 days. It can take that long, it can take longer, but it's not as major as a full on initial public offering. I think that in the second quarter this will be up and running and I think it will be very, very good. At this point, I can't get into the specifics, but I think I'll be able to possibly in the future.
It's important to know that I'm not making an offering right now. While this is with the SEC, it is not being marketed. I'm informing you only what was said in the press release. Which is number one: it's a Tier 2 offering. Tier 2 allows you to raise up to $50 million. We're raising just a bit more than $19 million. The minimum investment is $500 and the structure is as preferred shares, meaning not common shares, that generate a 10% dividend paid monthly. That's about all that I can say right now.
It is publicly filed. If you go on the EDGAR site, look under OriginClear, you'll see the filing and you can read it to your heart's desire. Of course, you can always check in with me, email me. The best email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Devin will get the email, he'll answer any questions, pass it on to me, I'll get involved. So that's the Regulation A picture and we think that's very exciting.
The Permionics Interview
Last week I featured an interview with our friend Satyajai Major, the Managing Director of the outstanding company, Permionics, in India. First of all, a few people got the idea that the whole company was going to just get its business from India. That's not true, the vast bulk of what we make in revenue is made in the United States. What was good about Permionics is that they are enabling us to become mainstream and not just a niche or a specialized offering with our technology. They are very good, they've got over 10,000 sites, they've been around since 1982, they're well established, they work with large corporations. They are integrating our technology with other technologies in what's called a Technology Train. You don't sell technologies, you sell products.
Until now, we've relied on our licensees to create products from technologies, but frankly they have other priorities. So, we found really is Permionics has been a very good partner. They've been sending us substantial business for our Texas operation, completely unusual to have India or China send you work to do in the United States, which is great. They are dedicated to a level beyond a normal licensee because of the business we're going to send them and so forth.
The IMS Keynote Address
In the process, they told me that on February 14th there was going to be the Indian Membrane Society Conference in Chennai, India, and I was ultimately invited to provide the keynote address.
Unfortunately since then the coronavirus has been doing rather intense things. We don't quite know, I don't want to be a fear monger, but at the same time it seems that 3 million people traveled before the China Government imposed restrictions, so commercial travel in Asia Pacific is not great.
So, I said, "Sorry guys, I would love to do it, but can I do it by video?" They said, "Well actually it looks like the conference is going to be canceled because so many of the people come from China and parts that might be affected by coronavirus." It's unfortunate, when it gets redone I hope to go, and stay tuned. I was honored to become a keynote speaker.
What would I say to the water industry in India, the people doing membranes? What is a membrane? A membrane is any very, very fine, very tight filter. It's almost like trying to get stuff through skin almost. Skin is porous, but it's very hard to get stuff through skin, and a membrane is somewhat like that. It's very, very tight. For example, they use membranes to desalinate and other applications. Membranes are everywhere, there's a $22 billion market worldwide for membranes, they're used everywhere. We like this space a lot and we do a lot of membrane business out of Texas.
The issue in India really is almost A Tale Of Two Cities. You have on the one hand the Indian Government spending $90 Billion to manage water flows upstream in the Himalayas above the subcontinent of India, and yet you have tens of thousands of people working by hand in sewers. The information that I have is that tens of thousands clean sewers by hand and hundreds, perhaps thousands have died. Literally, I have pictures of people stepping into manholes and cleaning things up by hand, and this is routine.
So you have this tremendous polarity and how do you overcome it? The problem really is one that we see elsewhere, which is a lack of centralized infrastructure, and what do we do about that? What my plan was really to talk about decentralization and that the people with the problem should be incentivized in some way to do something about it. Because they probably need to put in a hundred major central plants throughout India, and they don't exist. Then by the time they build them, the population will have doubled again, so they have a population bomb.
I'm not one that believes in holding back population, you use technology and deal with it. So, what do you do about it? Well, the idea is to miniaturize it, to go to the edge and somehow enable the users through relaxed regulation, financial incentives and technology to take matters in their own hands. That was my plan to talk about it, but instead I'm talking to you about it now. With that I'm going to go on, and my apologies to my friends in India, I do hope I'll come there soon.
Why is Elon Fixing his Own Car Window?
Today I sent out a CEO update. Those of you who are on the list saw me showing a picture of Elon Musk.
What does Elon Musk have to do with disruption? Well, everybody knows what disruption is these days, but it's a very wide word, “disruption”. You could disrupt a classroom, you can disrupt the market, you can disrupt all kinds of things, but what is disruption really?
Here is Elon Musk 1995, and he's repairing his own window glass, wonderful. Elon, I have been there, so I know, but he couldn't afford to pay for repairs. He found junk parts, put them in. Here he is repairing the broken glass. I admire Elon tremendously and he gives hope to the rest of us who are not yet billionaires. But the interesting thing is, and I'll cover where this comes from, “Disruptive innovation appears inferior to incumbents, which is the people who are already in the space, and underperforms on traditional measures.”
Tesla, too, Started Inferior.
So the ugly duckling. It's a test, right? The ugly duckling. And the ugly duckling could be a wolf. So not to make any further animal analogies: Tesla started with a terrible car (speaking of inferior). The Lotus Elise was used as the frame for the Tesla Roadster. In this Road & Track story, Elon Musk tells the story about it and it was not pretty. First of all, they used the AC Propulsion motor, which worked fine in small numbers. But then it could not be scaled easily. And then I believe they were using stacks of laptop batteries. When they put it all together, they had to stretch the chassis, which meant it could no longer pass safety rules. The bottom line is, they had to start from scratch.
At the time, I remember seeing it. A friend of mine was driving one around. A bunch of Hollywood people were being given these to drive around for free as part of the PR. And I thought, "Wow. This is cool." I don't think the car industry took it very seriously. I think they're taking it seriously now.
So that was Elon starting with something that was inferior and yet coming up with something that, again, “A disruptive innovation appears inferior to incumbents and underperforms on traditional measures.” So that quote comes from an article about my next person that I'm going to feature, Clayton Christensen.
The Inventor of Disruptive Innovation
Now, during the early 2000s, I was exposed to a book he wrote, but he passed away recently, and he invented this term that we use all the time now, disruptive innovations. Andy Grove told the story: he said that, having read Clayton's book, he had all of his people read it. I have to tell you, it's very hard to get people in a company to read a book. And it's a testimony to Andy Grove's power of persuasion that he got his people to read it. And he realized, "Oh my God, we're going to be taken over by the marketplace," and he came out with the Celeron chip, which took over I think 38% of the chip market after that. So, it was a huge breakthrough for Intel. And frankly, they would've sunk because there were some very aggressive players coming out of America and China, et cetera.
So he took Clayton Christensen's advice. I was at a company in the late '90s where that advice was not taken as literally. And it wasn't that book, it was a different book; a book called Focus, and I was trying to get the company I was at to focus. I remember buying 100 copies of this book and handing it out. The irony of it was that a couple years later after the company had crashed, one of my friends told me, "Hey. You know what? That book, Focus, I just used it to get our funding," and that company later got sold for a lot of money. So ironically, nobody in the company that was falling apart was listening, but the people outside of it were.
I think that's where it's at, is that the incumbents are the problem. Let's take another look at what Clayton Christensen said. Okay, so he said, “True disruptive innovation first appealed only to a niche market and appeared less attractive. In fact, the incumbent typically looked on as inconsequential ate up huge swaths of his market share.” I'm not going to read this all to you, but basically, the innovation looks inferior. Look at the Lotus Elise that Elon tried to use. And then the innovation evolves and turns into a whole new thing. You know? Look at PCs. PCs didn't exist, and in fact, the evolution of the PC really occurred while mainframes were pretty much the big thing. Mainframe manufacturers were like, "No, it's all good." And so, this is an interesting story because you have the PCs showing up and ultimately taking over the market.
So you constantly have this going on. Now, “Disruptive innovation doesn't appear as a better product, but as one that makes it more accessible or more affordable to a much wider audience.” So remember that when we get to water.
This is the book, The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail. And here's the Celeron story. I love that book. It tells, for example, the story about how the disc drive industry started with the 14 inch, or I think even 28 inch drives, and it got smaller with 14 inch, 7 inch, 3 and a half inch, 2 and a half inch. And then, tiny. And each time, what was strange was the smaller product that eventually took over was developed in the labs of the company that had the larger, earlier product. But that company, whoever it was, let's say Quantum, could not accept the smaller technology, because it would destroy their sales figures. They would cannibalize themselves. So, the engineers who did that left, started another company. Ate Quantum's lunch. Thank you very much. So that's what happens, and it happens very, very quickly. The whole lesson is, don't be afraid of smaller, cheaper products.
Tony Seba and S-Curves
All right. Which brings me to Tony Seba. I covered his video last week, and I'm still working on optimizing Zoom with YouTube. I think we have to go over to ... I think Vimeo is the right platform. So I will start playing videos, but probably next week. But Tony had something to say. And this is at last October's Robinhood conference in New York. And here he is.
So here, he's talking about various technologies which all add up. We got Moore's Law with computing. We got data storage, improving it. 50% increase every 18 months. Digital imaging. Everybody's got a law, here. These are all different people. Network capacity and batteries. Well, all these things contribute to each other, on top of each other. They don't just go alongside down the road; they stack on top of each other and they contribute to each other. So, when you have multiple technologies in a marketplace, it accelerates adoption. Earlier in this video, he talks about how disruptors come from outside. I covered that last week.
Okay. And here's the other interesting thing, which is the Technology Adoption S-Curve, where the installed base has this sharp uptake while prices are going down, and then as the price starts to level off, it's still going down, you get continuing adoption until you get virtually to 100%.
This was adoption, for example, of Color TV. So, we have this intersection of adoption and price. So again, you have a high, tremendous adoption that really syncs up with price. This is very important to remember.
The Problem With Centralized Treatment
Okay. Now, how is decentralized water disruptive? That's the big question. Let me count the ways. First of all, we have a typical centralized system. This is from a Lux Research webinar that I've quoted many times. If you would like to get a link to the webinar recording, just email email@example.com, we'll get you a link. So that centralized network is one that all these lift stations and sewage lines that bring things to a central location. So it's a transportation network, primarily. All right?
By contrast, you have decentralized infrastructure. What does that mean? By future, he means (this was in 2016), things start changing. We have three factors which are enabled.
First of all, the problem with the central wastewater treatment plant at the bottom right is that it's got a pipes problem. Because infrastructure either is not being maintained in a country like the US, or doesn't exist in a country like India; it can't take dirty water, but maybe it takes small pipes because it's lower volumes of water.
And is recycling happening? Industrial cooling reuse, various things like that.
Reduce hydraulic loading to downstream centralized facilities. Again, hydraulic loading is water. Water volume to these centralized facilities. You have fewer of them. And because you are where you are and able to implement these advanced technologies, remember that those multiple technologies allow you to reuse your water.
I've often said when water, here in LA, is treated down in the big Hyperion plant down by the ocean, it's not going back upstream to my home; it's going into the ocean. So, the last opportunity to reuse water is right where I'm using it. That's really where it's at. Trying to get the central facility to then do Toilet To Tap and all that crazy stuff, first of all, citizens hate it, they don't want Toilet To Tap. Toilet To Tap literally means taking the poop water and turning it to drinking water. That's not what's needed. You just reuse the water for industrial cooling, for sprinklers and so forth. So that makes sense.
You can do that right where you're using the water.
The Decentralization Challenges
So, fine. But here's the issue: Why hasn't this been implemented on a wide scale? Now, again, remember this is almost four years ago. But there's some key reasons, which are still very important to remember.
Number one, scaling down technologies. How do you take these big iron, big water and get them scrunched down? And that's a major issue.
Number two, you got to do the Internet of Things. Right? IoT. So you need IoT devices monitoring all these things. That's beginning to happen; those integrated things with network operating centers, NOCs, managing these things. So, all that automation, that's another piece of technology. System reliability relates to the technologies.
And finally, regulations. There is a need in many places, for liberalizing regulations.
Now, that is being relaxed, in part because here's what happens: Let's say a legislature in Sacramento passes a law that arsenic levels in the water have to be cut in half. Well, the local wastewater plant, the municipality doesn't have the ability to do that. So guess what? They tell the arsenic producers, "You reduce it." Well, now they've just told the arsenic producer to handle it themselves. Now they’ve got to allow them to have a decentralized system. So, it's being driven by the need for these municipalities to offload the obligations they can't handle. That's another major factor.
So these are all things that are multi-technology and also one that's legal, but relates to an infrastructure issue, which is wastewater treatment plants delegating their obligations.
The Modular Answer to Decentralization
Okay. Now, modular systems are the answer. This happens to be one of Dan Early’s designs. It's a 10,000 gallon per day unit. It's been built [by a previous company of Dan Early’s] in the factory, trucked out, is dropped in the ground, put to work. It's got all these chambers inside. And because it's got this structural rigidity, it doesn't need a lot of walls. Just have a pad, a foundation, and put it on the foundation and strap it down, and you're set. This is the deployment technology. This is a great way to get it out there. Right? It's like the inventors of the laptop, which was Compaq. They started with a huge briefcase that was existing technologies basically scrunched together. And what they invented was the box. The luggable computer.
This is OriginClear's technology that we acquired through our amazing Dan Early. He brought us the five patents and so forth, and that is a delivery method. Within it are some breakthrough technologies I'm going to tell you about briefly. And finally, there is the ability to do remote monitoring. So, we're part of that whole decentralized movement.
Today’s Dan Early Story
Today's Dan Early story. Well, I'm going to tell this to you quickly because we're at the half hour mark, and I don't want to go much beyond that, for fear of boring you. But the story he told was of a trailer park with a lagoon. Here's what's amazing. Trailer parks have these lagoons and this is how they take care of their dirty water. It’s amazing that trailer parks all over America dispose of their poop in a lagoon and then just let it be. Problem is that the local EPA goes, "That's not okay." These trailer parks are stuck. This form of treatment's been around for more than 75 years. Environmental regulations. This and thousands of similar trailer parks are driving much more and increasingly stringent permits.
The owners wanted to sell the facility and they couldn't, so struggled for nearly four years until they came to us. We decided to deploy a highly porous fixed film media reactor system in an equipment package that floats on a lagoon surface. Literally, you have this thing bobbing on the surface of the lagoon. Simply throw it in the lagoon. You're done.
The fixed film media system begins treatment by fostering a perfect environment for biofilms to grow and thrive. Biofilms, coat themselves in this film and they then digest the mess, the carbon and nitrogen, and turn them into non-harmful by products. Think of these biofilms hanging in the water and having a kind of a fuzz on them, literally. That turns poop into good stuff.
This is simple and cost effective to deliver. It converts a lagoon into a sustainable asset, very energy efficient. The fixed film bio reactor is constantly treating the water because it is constantly seeding the organic sludge that's at the bottom. After a while the biofilm thriving on the floating reactor will shed excess beneficial bacteria that will settle to the bottom and then they will digest the sludge. Then you will no longer have to dredge that lagoon or do a lagoon closure. No heavy and expensive excavation was needed. Didn't have to worry about the erosion control plans, storm water management plans, no need for expensive plumbing, electrical subcontractor and no need for sediment, et cetera. No worries about long construction schedule or weather delays.
This is an elegant solution for trailer parks. It's being installed. The owners of this trailer park are delighted. This problem is literally being solved in a matter of weeks and they'll be able to get full money for their trailer park. If you are interested in buying trailer parks that are in trouble and refurbishing them with this kind of technology or if you're an existing trailer park owner, please contact us. You can come to originclear.com under Products and there's forms you can fill out. Or just send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course, you can send to email@example.com.
That's today's Dan Early story and I appreciate it. I want to get Dan on split screen next week because I think it's going to be fun. He's just a fantastic guy.
Now, let me read these. “Hello Riggs. I would like to start off saying that I've been extremely impressed with your company. I've monitored OriginClear's progress ever since I received the announcement of the collaboration with Ennesys,” (which is our company in France - several years ago). “In the UK, we have an ongoing nitrate issue in drinking and wastewater stopping thousands of property developments. I believe your water systems can resolve this. We would like to speak to you or your colleagues about this. What's the best contact info? Kind regards, Ortché.” We just literally covered that . It's amazing because I hadn't even read, Ortché, your note fully and that's crazy of me that I should do that. But nonetheless, just fill out a form. Worst case, you can always send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll be happy to answer it.
Arthur Fitzgerald: “How will the new offering affect the existing preferred shareholders?” That takes me to my next slide. I will answer you, Arthur, who's one of my good friends, because he's been such a faithful shareholder. The Fitzgeralds are wonderful. Wrapping up the offering. I've been talking for a couple of weeks now about wrapping up the current offering. I will spend more time on it next week. Here's the beauty of the current offering. It's what I would call a keystone offering. Meaning that, first of all, you are not being sold shares. The shares that you receive are entirely a grant. They're what's called a kicker. They're free. So instead what you are doing is you're lending money to OriginClear, it's being repaid and you earn interest, 8%, along the way, it's secured by our revenue bearing company.
To answer your question, Arthur, that isn't affected at all because that is on a repayment schedule and your stock that you receive is actually also price protected. You have a protection. I’ll get more serious about it next week. Arthur, just to let you know, your investment in the current offering is, shall we say, frozen in time. The way it's designed is that there is an adjustment for price. We believe that the stock price is going to go up for a variety of reasons, but that's not because we think about the stock. We're not supposed to, but the fundamentals of the company are improving and I'll be able to tell you more about that next week, so please tune in. It's really about the fact that you are protected from the worst and this new offering is a very interesting one, which I would like to get prepared further. But let's just say that it helps us get some key acquisitions done. That's, I believe, the future of the company in 2020, is acquisitions.
With that, I come to my last thoughts. It's interesting to have this forum to talk in because I don't often get a chance to just sit down and discuss these various trends and so forth. What I am seeing is a company that is really coming together. Why? First of all, because Tom Marchesello joined us a bit over a year ago and he has just welded together an excellent team. They were excellent before but they were not fully integrated.
Today we were doing a review of our cashflow and I was like, "Well, all right. This is okay!" I like the news that I got this week from our controller, Eric. Tom was like, "Okay, things are really looking very nicely." Marc Stevens in Texas is an amazing cash manager. It's all coming together nicely. That's the operation side.
The Marketing Team
Then we hired this agency to bring more people to see the company, which is why you're probably in here because of them or some stuff that was related to what they did. We're going to see a lot more of that. We're able to get funding done because more and more people are looking at the company. We're able to operate better. I believe, the third leg of the stool, shall we say, is going to be what we do to acquire companies. We have a solution that does not require us to raise many millions of dollars, which has been the problem till now. Raising millions of dollars. How do you do that? How about not raising millions of dollars? We have a format, we have a formula and we'll be able to talk to you about it.
Here are some very important people. Ken Berenger is one of the smartest people I know and he's definitely smarter than me. But I was smart because I hired him! Bill Gates, one of his famous sayings, "Always hire people who are smarter than you."
Definitely that happened in the case of Ken Berenger, who's designed these amazing packages. Michael Mann is very much in the same league. He is our VP of sales. He's been getting sales going of our Modular Systems and he's also involved with our M&A, mergers and acquisitions. He's been coming up with amazing ideas. Those two just cook up amazing things. Devin Angus has been with us forever. He's, I think, the second most ancient employee in the company. He's very able and he reflects my thoughts very well. He's able to pass them onto me very well. So please don't hesitate to contact him. Here's the numbers and you can also send an email.
Next week's webinars going to be fun. I'll be discussing a lot more about the business, the offering that is sending soon. If you want to know more about it, please contact 323-939-6645 extension 201, 206 or 116. Ah, there's chat requests. Let's take a look. Ken Bogert wants me to talk about OriginClear sales revenues and new developments. Thank you. I probably should've looked earlier again. Let me take that next week. Keith Roeten has an interesting question. We know that decentralization is the future, but how do we inform everyone?
How to Promote Decentralization
This is very true, Keith. Just like Elon Musk was in the wilderness, in 2016, I was in the wilderness about decentralization. I was doing articles in the water trades and people were saying, "There's no technology and this and that." The truth is that we are going to inform people. The AGM agency, the people that we hired, they're responsible for Dr. Berg, who you may have heard of with Keto. They've made Dr. Berg a household name and many other examples like that. We think we can be a big piece of it.
This trailer park example is a great story that we're going to be telling. I have a magazine that contacted me wanting case studies. We're going to get it out, tell the story to the public. How can a trailer park become not so nasty for the people living there, for the groundwater, et cetera? Getting those specific stories out I think is the key. We need to continue to spread the word. Please spread the word about this Live CEO Briefing. I really look forward to seeing you.
Ken Bogert, I will talk more about OriginClear sales and revenues. Remember that I will be able to talk very soon about Q4 and what happened in 2019, but I must have final numbers. I'm not allowed to say. I think I've spoken about new developments, but there will be more. So, tune in next week. We'll also figure out together how to get to decentralization known about because it is happening already. With that, I wanted to thank you for being here and for listening to me. I would like to invite you to come back. Let's now call it a day. Good night and enjoy your weekend.