PR Specialist, Lais Pontes Greene's interview gave us a fresh look and new perspective of the company! What are the 4 layers of OriginClear and where do $H2O and ClearAqua™ coin fit in? How does Water on Demand™ drive our strategy forward? And could our coin really be the world’s water coin? Find out here in the replay.
Transcript from recording
Good evening everyone, and welcome to the Water Is The New Gold CEO briefing, and it's the 2nd of September, it's going to be the last show before Labor Day. And it's really fantastic,
I'm going to jump right in and do some of the detail stuff. Water Is The New Gold, "Helping you thrive in the world's ONLY vital, scarce, and recession proof market." And that is becoming more and more true by the day as we see infrastructure not happening, and somebody's got to do something, and we are helping local businesses pick up the slack so that cities are not overwhelmed with water they can't treat. This is a vital mission and it is also an outstanding new asset class.
Okay, as usual, you can hear this in Spanish and just click on the globe at the bottom of the dialogue. It's Spanish in real time.
As always, our statements are meant to be as accurate as possible, they may not work out as we plan, but we do our very best to make it so, and if they change, we always correct it, that's our commitment to you.
All right. Well, I have some sad news this week, Bruce Ferguson, a major supporter of the company, passed away this week unexpectedly, and he leaves behind a wonderful family. His life partner, Joyce Gaines. They were not only wonderful supporters of ours, but for a long time, we have supported the charity in India that he was sponsoring, and he did much great work in India, a really great men, he'll be incredibly missed, one of the finest people on the planet. I'm still in a tough place about this. We are there for the family, for Joyce and the entire clan up in Los Angeles. Thank you, Bruce, for having supported OriginClear, and also for your work in the third world.
The Pontes Group
Okay. Lais Pontes Greene, she's the head of the new PR agency The Pontes Group which is very fine group and they have just wonderful stats. So the first thing they did is they gave me a brand interview, and I'm going to give you the laundry list of all the things that she could have asked today because I recorded it earlier so I already know what she asked, but let's take a look here.
Personal, all this wonderful stuff, which fleshes out what kind of... The leader of the organization, what that person's like and so forth.
And then what the career stuff is, again, to help pitch the company.
What about the brand? How would you best describe the business and so forth? We've done a lot of work with that.
And what about the launching? went public, the products and services, employees, target demographic, competitors, and so forth. A lot of this is of course already documented in our public filings, but it's worth setting up fresh as part of a new PR process.
And goals, where would you like to be in one year, specific media targets, and additional specific goals.
Q&A With Lais Pontes Greene
So with that, I wanted to give you a little background as to where... The choice she had of things. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to reshare now in the full video optimized mode. And let's take a look.
Start of video presentation
Riggs: Well, Lais Pontes Greene, it is such a pleasure to be in this session with you. We retained your firm literally this week, and we're so excited about what's coming for us. If you want, before you start grilling me, if you just want to tell me briefly what you think your agency does just very briefly kind of thing?
Lais: Yeah, of course. So we are The Pontes Group, we're a leading agency based down in Fort Lauderdale, but we have clients all over the country. We've actually, fun fact, have had clients in over 20 countries from Japan to Australia to Brazil so we've gotten to work with a lot of different types of businesses and a lot of different cultures, which is super fun. We love what we do, we're very passionate about it. We'd like to think we're the best and little magazine known as Forbes likes to think so too.
Lais: I was a Forbes 30 under 30.
Riggs: Forbes, I don't know.
Lais: Just that old thing. So just one of our claims to fame is that we won a lot awards for our campaigns, and we like to think outside the box, and we are so excited to be your agency of record, and I just see some really, really amazing things to come. So thank you for trusting us with your brand and thank you for having me here today.
Riggs: Thank you. And what we're doing now is really taking some highlights from the branding Q and A you sent me, it's going to be very interesting for us to tell our audience a little bit about it while you learn your account better. So I think we'll accomplish a couple of purposes, so-
Riggs: Go for it.
Lais: Absolutely. Okay. I'll try not to grill you too hard. So before we jump into all things about the company, I'm a big believer to know who someone is today. Sometimes you got to take a step back and learn a little bit about their past. So the first question I wanted to ask you was, you're this amazing entrepreneur, so successful, were you like that as a child, how were you as a child, were you creative, were you quirky, or did you have that, were you selling lollipops from your backpack in elementary school? I always like to know.
Riggs: You know what's really weird is that I was kind of shy and withdrawn as a kid. And I was my nose in a book all the time. And I was also incredibly bored by school, I was the kid who's like, "He's so smart. If he just applied himself, he'd do so great." And I was like, "I don't know."
But fortunately I was raised, most of my schooling from the first to the seventh grade was done in the French system, which means that there was more basics, by the time I got to the States, I'd already had two years of Latin, things like that, which we don't... Even then was falling apart. So I think that even though I didn't pay much attention, I got a lot out of it.
Lais: That's good. That's really interesting. So let's talk a little bit about your family. I like what you said. So you grew up in the French educational system, so you're a little bit traveled. So tell me how has your heritage, your background, your family life from the past inspired who you are today and affects how you run your business?
Riggs: Well, my mom was a New York debutante who fell in love with a Harvard boy who really was a self-made man, and great background, his dad was a judge in Bucks County, Pennsylvania so very good upper middle-class upbringing, but she came from a very interesting background of really, she was related... When we were in Belgium for Queen Fabiola and King Baudouins coronation, and she was related to Queen of Fabiola, so I mean...
Riggs: There was a long traced line through Cuba, and Columbia, and ending up in New York. So she was very stylish, and very assured of herself, and my father was very... He was kind of like the guy in Mad Men, he was very smart, at the top of his game, really at the time, when you were in post-war Europe and you had dollars, it's like, hello.
Riggs: So it was a very privileged upbringing for sure. At the same time, I think that they gave me a sense that, do something about the world. Don't just sit there. So that's maybe why we're here today.
Lais: I think so. And I think just from the interactions that we've had and just what I know about entrepreneurs as a whole, because we work with so many of them, you have to have a little bit of that confidence, that I'm going to do it. And sometimes I feel having parents, like you just described, where she was debutante and he was just so self-assured. That rubs off on us as children and helps us become better entrepreneurs and confident entrepreneurs, because you got to have a little bit of crazy and a little bit of confidence to jump into this crazy world of entrepreneurship. Am I right?
Riggs: Yes. And then of course, what I had to learn over the years was that it does not come automatically. I had an extremely varied background. And, for example, I was a ship captain and sailed the South Pacific and all these wild and crazy things. But I think you have to have that as an entrepreneur, is either you're going to go ahead and specialize and get your masters and so forth and become a lawyer or whatever, or you're going to be a generalist. You're going to be adaptable. You're going to be able to go, "Okay, that surprised me, but I can deal with it," kind of thing, right?
Career Arc to Water
Lais: Right. Yeah. It's not how many times you... What is it? It's not how many times you get taken down, it's how many times you get back up. I agree. So let's jump a little bit into your career. So why did you start this amazing company? What was the catalyst to make that happen?
Riggs: Well, okay. So the first part of my career where I came out of school and got into the nonprofit space lasted until about the early eighties. And then I fell in love with technology and built a company in New York to computerize companies for the first time coming over from paper. We forget how it was not so long ago that people were on the safeguard, ledgers, pressed down hard kind things.
And then in the nineties, I just loved the .com. And so for me, the .com was just a huge exploration of computers for communication, as opposed to computing. Fast forward to after 2000, that's when we really were able to get something done and I was starting to be credible enough to potentially be a CEO of a public company.
I spoke to a fund and they said, "Well, we're not doing high-tech anymore. We're not doing that." I'm like, "Okay, what are we doing?" And they said, "Well, we're doing algae." Algae for biofuels, that was the hot thing around 2007, 2006. So, I became a CEO of a public company devoted to the whole green revolution. And, let me tell you, I was a media darling, we were everywhere, and I was called, Algae Man, all these great things.
Lais: I love that.
Riggs: So, that was fun, except that algae just wasn't there, especially after the fracking revolution, which dropped the price of oil way too low, and overnight we had to really think about algae not really being ready for prime time. And yet, I had a public company with investors and expectations. And so we pivoted and our technology for extracting algae became a technology for extracting sewage from water. And all of a sudden we were in water and that began seven, eight years ago.
Solving Slow Water
I was in .com, love technology, et cetera. So I love disruption. I expect things to, let's make a change. It doesn't happen like that in water. Water is a slow moving thing, probably rightly so because of public health and so forth. But there are tremendous problems in water. Infrastructure is falling apart. Fort Lauderdale water mains breaking, the whole thing.
Lais: Yeah, we were just talking about that the other day.
Riggs: Yeah. Septic tanks floating up into the lawn. God forbid. So there's some horrible things happening. And unfortunately, America is not doing big public infrastructure programs anymore. We may say we do, but we can't seem to get them done. So the solution is, offload the problem to the businesses that are making the water dirty, decentralization.
Riggs: Now, it's good for them because in the end they pay less, they can recycle, they have control over their fate and the municipality, it can be smaller. It takes the load off the municipality, so everybody wins. And that's really this new power to the people trend that we have now.
And what it did is, we were finally able to find a way that we could change things without having to be on K street in Washington. Do it literally at the level of local business, help them cope with it, and that led naturally into the next phase, which I'll be talking about, which is of course what we call Water on Demand, which is essentially letting people have the solution without paying up front, which is probably the ultimate.
That's the end goal, because you're a brewery, you're trying to clean this water. And now you have a half a million dollar bill. Well, you're a beer maker, so where's the money? Where's that half a million? Well, if we just take care of it and just bill you by the gallon, you can keep on making beer, you're happy. So, that's the latest thing, but I'm getting way ahead of you.
Life as the CEO OriginClear
Lais: No, I love it. I love it. So, let's take it back just a little bit. So, we're talking about the company, the broad scope of things. I want to know a little bit more about you and exactly what you do. Can you walk me through a day in your life? What does that look like? What does that day-to-day look like? Kind of a behind the CEO, so to speak.
Riggs: That is a really interesting question and thanks for asking. So we have layers in our company. We have the basic layer, which is our amazing team in Texas that will build anything on demand. So they do what's called engineered solutions, like a custom tailor. They'll build you what you want. It goes from $50,000 to 5 million. And they're amazing at it.
Now, that is the conventional part of the business and is run by my Chief Operating Officer, Tom Marchesello, who just amazing background, came out of the Air Force Space Command, and spent years on working in the Fortune 500 and so forth. So, he's got that. And then we acquired a line of modular prefab systems, the kind that these businesses need. And that is not custom, is more packaged like a product line, and he runs that too.
Then we get to the third piece, which is, well, there's actually a third and a fourth piece. So, the first two, I don't really have to run. They take care of business. And of course I take care of the usual CEO stuff, which is all the legal headaches, making sure that the company doesn't get in trouble, does the right thing, all that.
Creating a Future
But then there's inventing the future, which is this third layer we call Water on Demand™, which is how do we fund water systems so that people can pay on a service contract, long-term service contract? That's Water on Demand. And the final layer, because I don't have enough to do, is crypto.
Lais: Tell us about that. I'm so excited to learn. Tell us a little bit about the crypto.
Riggs: Crypto grew out of the idea of like, okay, we already pay dividends to our investors, and it's a royal pain. Somebody's ACH changes and it's all this work. Well, imagine now you've got all these clients all on service contracts, and now you're paying profit shares and you're paying everybody. We can't do it physically anymore, we have to do it using something called the blockchain, which is a very simple way to distribute money in this case.
$H2O™ and ClearAqua™
And so the first thing we did was we said, when we pay out, when we pay investors their profit shares, we're going to pay it with a coin that we call $H2O, and it is a wrapper for these dividends. Very simple. It's a lot like the JPM coin, JP Morgan created a coin to streamline payments. So all we're doing is streamlining payments and that's nice.
Then we went, well, wait a minute. That's very well for the 1% who have the money to invest in these giant projects. But what about the rest of the world? Because Lais, my inbox is filled with people who go, "what do we do about Flint? Or what do we do about different places like that? What do we do?" Right.
Lais: Right. Uh-huh (affirmative).
The Water Coin for the World
Riggs: And that's where we came up with the idea of a community coin, a water coin for the world, so to speak. And that is called ClearAqua™. So on the one hand, we have the... What I call $H2O, which is for the payments, on the other hand, we have the coin that... Participatory coin. People can get involved, help with water problems, send up alerts which turn to proposals that someday get funded and you get a big loop back to the investment side. And that is very exciting because at the end of the day, how do you change water? One company or even 20 companies can't do it. It has to be all of us working together.
Riggs: So that's the stack at the very... So the more it gets out into the wild blue yonder, the more I'm involved with it because I can't have people working on real water systems messing around with crypto. They're like, "what is this thing anyway?" Its Okay, I got this, right.
Riggs: So I'm in charge of a lot of the future projects, the strategic stuff. And also we have an ambition to end up on the NASDAQ as this next generation water company. And I'm very fortunate to have the backing of some very good backers and also to have the ability... Many things, good things have happened to me, among which is that I have some very good people in the team. And so I'm able to actually think for three seconds and I'm very grateful for that.
Lais: And that's so great because, sometimes you meet CEOs and they're constantly working in the business and not very often working on the business and participating in those visionary projects and that, you know, true leadership. I mean, you really have to be that visionary.
Not to say that, when there are problems, you're the guy and they are always the difficult ones. They say the easy problems always get solved, but when they get to the CEO, they are only hard problems, but, I love that. It's just you're looking to the future and it's so revolutionary what you are doing, it really is inspiring.
And I love the crypto. You always tell people, vote with your dollar. Now, vote with your coin. If you have a problem with something, put your money, where your mouth is, and that's where you should be investing your money, that makes a lot of sense. It's very, very exciting.
Standing Out and Acquisitions
Lais: So, you do these interesting things. You really are... It's truly visionary. And I know I just said that, but it really is. What would you say in addition to just because it's not enough, crypto, you're doing the crypto and you're doing the Water on Demand. Is there anything else that you feel really helps your company stand out? Whether it's from a product perspective or from an operational perspective, or, we can take any angle on this.
Riggs: Very good point. Well, the outcome of Water on Demand is that, that's the money from money play. In other words, we bring in investors into the subsidiary, their investment enables us to buy this water equipment and put it out. And... But guess what? As this thing expands, it's going to go well beyond the capabilities of our people in Texas, they'll be overwhelmed. Already, we have 28 projects running in this Texas operation.
So they're going to get maxed out. So what we want to do is have more of a... Be able to farm it out, right. So to have a network of reliable water companies. Okay, we got some funding. Great. Now our client in Troy, Alabama needs a system. Texas is overwhelmed. How about such and such a company? You guys build it fine, deliver it. And we'll handle the money machine. That is a recipe for going beyond our physical bounds.
Now you can do that only so much. What does it lead to? It leads to acquisition. So we have a plan to acquire companies. The Texas operation was an acquired company back 2015. The Modular Water Systems™ was an acquisition of an industry guru with a following. I'd like to say hairdresser with a following... But he had patents and a following. And now we want to start acquiring more and more companies, but it's good to start it with just, "Hey, giving them Bluebirds. Here. Here's a job you didn't expect, go for it." Right.
Riggs: And over time, that creates a relationship. And what's great about that is we are now finally... We're mature enough as a public company. That wall street is willing to give us good, solid non-toxic financings. We're in talks for these. And then of course, I have to disclaim these things may never become through, but we have, good faith term sheets for some good financings that can lead to these acquisitions. And I have to tell you Lais, acquisition is fun, is a lot of fun.
Lais: Uh-huh (affirmative).
Riggs: Because you're buying instead of building, right.
Lais: Right. Uh-huh (affirmative).
Riggs: So, okay, boom. Now there is integration issues and there is always surprises. There is always stuff they didn't tell you like, "Oh, that's why you want it to sell." That's all good. It's part of the game, but this is how, for example, Cisco grew back in the day, you know, you aggregate as fast as you can.
And my goal from having been part of companies that were acquired, I saw a lot of destruction occur. Stuff that I had built in the company that was acquired and I was given a lot of money. Thank you very much. But what I built was destroyed, so hopefully we don't just work for money. Right?
Riggs: So I want to try and preserve those talents and keep those people owning. We don't want to sit by their clients and say, "Go away", no, "Help us build this. And we'll build a larger and larger operations." So that's the final piece of the puzzle, which is acquisition. Through this expansion process. And I'm excited. I... This is a great time.
Supply Chains and Inflation
Now, what are we facing on a macro level? We're facing a lot of inflation and supply chain problems, and we're dealing with it. Literally, my team has to date every single quote and say, "this quote is good until three days from now, prices could change." So that's not great.
So we're going to be dealing with a lot of instability with the dollar, which is one reason why I would like to have a crypto parallel universe, because who knows what might happen in the world of inflation. And I do believe crypto will help us avoid the worst of the inflation because it's a stable universe that people can go back and forth with like, look, what's happening in Venezuela, they're surviving because of crypto.Right
Lais: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Riggs: Go ahead
Rapid Growth and Trend Stories
Lais: I was just going to say, no, I love what you said. And I love what you said about acquisition, particularly as it pertains to our relationship together, because we've been... Our company has been a part of several clients, acquiring companies.
Number one, I've learned just the fastest way for growth. Like you said, a little bumps here and there, but it is just such an intelligent way for growth. And it seems to be the smart move that all the smart people are doing, but it's also a great opportunity for media.
It's such a good opportunity when you are acquiring these businesses to put the company out there and talk about two things, one, just amazing news that's happening, this acquiring your growth, what comes from it, it really gives you like a full year of just stories.
But also it gives you the perspective to come in as an expert and speak on some of these big media outlets, be it TV or print or digital, and talk about, what acquisition means, not just for your company, but for the industry as a whole. So it's very exciting for us. I love that work.
Riggs: Yeah. Trend stories, it builds trend stories, and it creates influencers and so forth. Well I'm so excited. Did you want to give me a really tough question now?
Lais: Oh, let's see. Let's see. Let's pick a really good one. So I, just going to pick up, let's look into the future. Cause we've talked about the past, we talked about all the great things. Let's look... And of course, public company, full disclosure, things may or may not happen. We all know, but looking into the future, what is that like... Let's look a year into the future. What is this company going to look like then? Once you have put some of these pieces into place, What can we be excited about?
Building as Asset Base
Riggs: Well, Water On Demand is interesting because all the hardware remains in our name. We're not selling it or even leasing it. We're putting it out as on an operating contract. And so, what that means is we're building an asset base.
We execute on Water On Demand, we will end up with a lot of assets. Which number one, is what you need to get on the NASDAQ. That's the number one thing, in my opinion. And number two, it gives you a lot of ability to leverage finance and do interesting projects and scale up. I think the asset story is a big one for us.
We've been experimenting since, well, God, early 2020, when we realized we needed to do something about this crazy economy we're in. And it's starting to come together. And I really think that that is going to make us a credible player as is this asset base.
Reflection in Crypto
And I also believe that every single asset out there in the world will be reflected in a crypto. It is the inevitable trend. And we want to own the mine space of the Water coin. We think that's doable. We think we can own that space. And once you're the Coca Cola, then everybody else has got to be the Pepsi and the RC Cola and this is how it is. Right.
Riggs: Now, hopefully we won't be Myspace. We'll do it right. We'll do it right. But in a way, 2018 I did a trial run on with a crypto. So, I'm my own... That was my MySpace. Now I'm doing the Facebook.
Lais: Okay. Good. Good. Yeah. We all need a little Myspace. But no, it's so true and everything really is trending that way. And with, like you mentioned, the supply chain issues and so many things that's going on in our economy right now and the instability, it is great.
And I've noticed that even traditional investors that maybe weren't looking at the crypto, I mean, it's being added to portfolios, which is really exciting. And it's so forward thinking of you to do that. That's super exciting. And we're excited to promote that too. That's it. I think I'll leave it at there. I got some really good information and I appreciate you sharing with me today.
Riggs: Well, I think I've ticked off a bunch of your questions in the branding Q&A, so that's good.
Lais: That's good.
Riggs: But Lais, it's been such a pleasure.
Lais: That's great.
Riggs: I'm happy to be on board. Hopefully, we're in the same state, so I might even see you.
Lais: We will, we will. I've been to Clearwater a couple of times. We'll have to get together. But in this crazy pandemic world, I mean, it's you never know.
Riggs: You work with it. And thank God, that we do have this ability to work virtually. It's been really great. Thank you so much.
Lais: Thank you.
End of video presentation
Riggs: Okay. Coming back in, that was a really good discussion. As you can tell, Lais, has been around the block a few times and understands companies that are trying to make a difference. She knows how to get the coverage. And I think it's going to be very, very interesting.
And I wanted to just quickly, before I move on, just mention a couple. From Ron at the beginning of the show, condolences to the family, to Bruce's family. Keith as well, Keith Routen, condolences for Bruce's family. And JRW, greetings Riggs and everyone. Thanks for all your good work and support. Blessings to all.
Water Company 2.0
I wanted to play this in its entirety to give you, here's where we are. And we've gone through a year and a half of just rapid, rapid, rapid change and building. And we've had the blessing of the PhilanthroInvestors® people who have helped us think big and execute big. And so, here we are. We have this conventional business of custom water solutions, the prefab Modular Water Systems that we brought in 2018. And now, the Water On Demand that we're building and that is going so well.
The crypto. And I want to tell you that this week I signed that contract to develop the ClearAqua coin. It's a done deal. I'm very happy with the deal. They not only are paid fair price. I'm very happy with the price. But they're also taking an equity piece. So they're taking a risk along with every one of us. Very happy with that.
This week we brought on the Pontes Group and we brought on the Baja Technologies group. And now we're in discussions for a marketing agency to handle the crowdfunding and the crypto launch. That's going to be news to come. So that's very active. We're gearing up. And I'm so grateful for the support by our investors to make it possible for us to gear up.
Because as you can tell, the stack is creating really, a Water Company, 2.0. Right. OriginClear is a Water Company 2.0. The basic customized systems, the prefab systems, the Water On Demand, the crypto, the acquisitions. I'm blown away by where we are. And we're only probably a 20% there. It's going to be a fascinating next 12 months. Stay tuned.
Series V Expanded
I'm just going to quickly cover. My friends, you know what we're talking about. We're doing this, we call it a Series V, which is the Water On Demand. I'm not going to get too much into it.
I really want you to talk to Ken Berenger about if you are interested in the company. And what about the smaller investments, larger investments? How could it all work? Et cetera.
We are planning to the regulation A offering done.
We are still days away from filing the Q2 quarterly filing. And I am told by our new CFO, that Q3 will be on time am, so amen to that. All right.
Well, thank you everyone. And I promise you a very good show next week. I think you'll like it. Please do join me. It's been a pleasure having you on board.
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